I am not sure if we should be troubled about the work being done to eliminate mosquito species that are vectors for diseases.
This is no longer science fiction. There are multiple initiatives which follow variants of a basic approach : “Make males whose offspring will only be males. Then release a few of these engineered males into the wild”
This approach, as some experiments have shown, have the potential to rapidly eliminate the species within a few generations in that area. This can be a very short period. Less than a couple of years.
There is no way that this can be isolated to a particular area. Any such initiative will soon spread worldwide and make the species extinct.
These “blood suckers” which cause malaria, dengue, chikungunya are not just disease carriers. They are also food for other animals. They are a part of the food chain.
Only the females feed on blood. Both male and female mosquitoes primarily feed on nectar. The same thing that honey bees feed on. They also perform the same function that bees do – they pollinate the flowers (Some have argued that mosquitoes are not the great pollinators they are suspected to be).
We are entering an era of genetically engineered plant and animal species of all kinds. These mosquitoes are merely the beginning. Many of these species will get into the wild without any controls because the species are created by individuals or small groups of people in DIY labs.
Somehow, the thought of man made genetic solutions that eliminate or replace an entire existing species troubles me.
What about you?
Here is the mosquito article – https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/the-bite-that-can-wait-118082500638_1.html
Someone told me the other day that the reason why we send people to jail is not to punish them. That’s not the reason at all.
The reason is protection. And it works both ways. Protecting society from criminals and protecting criminals from vigilante justice. One keeps society safe and the second keeps it sane.
That brings me to the topic of mental illness. It is possible to argue in the following manner : Almost all criminal behaviour is deviant from what we consider “normal”. Criminal behaviour born of thought patterns that are deviant from the normal is what we may call mental illness. And so a person who has exhibited criminal behaviour is to be treated as a victim of mental illness.
In the last century, we have recognised and accepted some forms of deviant behaviour as born of mental illnesses and recognised that some others (like homosexuality) are not illnesses at all and are perfectly normal.
But many other behaviours are yet to be recognised and formally classified as mental illness by the criminal justice system. Even perfectly normal behaviours like homosexuality continue to be criminalized in less developed legal systems and unfortunately in India as well.
Just as in other areas of life, I expect technology to play a major role in the coming two decades in this area. So far, psychiatry has not had the technology to look at things like genetic profiles or body chemistry at hormonal and other levels. The causal relationships or correlation between these and mental illnesses is neither visible nor well understood. I think that very strong relationships most likely exist and they will be found.
This opens up the possibility of cures or methods of containment.
Maybe in future, we will be able to treat these people as victims and help them to reverse the condition or contain it. Maybe many of the people who go to jail today, don’t really belong there.
Alok Sarin makes an interesting case here on an associated topic –
I was reading this extraordinary set of claims for a new technology at this link – https://medium.com/s/where-is-the-future/telepathy-could-be-real-are-we-ready-2750f11ddfbd
Coming from Mary Lou Jepsen, you have no option but to take the claims seriously.
Imagine looking into your body at resolutions that are even better than MRIs or CAT Scans. Imagine being able to do that over extended periods of time and not just looking at organs but also movements and flows! And all this as a wearable and not while lying inside a huge machine in a hospital.
The telepathy piece is something I have difficulty believing in. I think the jump from imaging, to interpretation and then communication of complex thought patterns is not feasible using any current technology.
Speech to text is complex enough. Interpretation of the nuances of language is still a work in progress.
Here we are talking of interpreting thought, or rather the visual expression of it as seen on an imaging machine. I suppose that will work for basic commands that you would use for playing a video game for example. It may also work for communicating simple phrases or feelings or direction etc.
I can’t see how complex, structured (or monkey brain) thinking can be interpreted or communicated.
Maybe I am reading this wrong. I am assuming that a machine is interpreting and then communicating the interpreted thought patterns to humans. On the contrary, here it is humans who interpret the raw expression of thought? And this is easy for us because it is not much different from what we “see” in our own heads?
I would so love to be a part of this team! This work seems to be really exciting.