Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Juan Enriquez

As permanent as a tattoo: Your online life

All right, so let’s take 4 subjects that obviously go together: big data, tattoos, immortality and the Greeks. Right?

00:21 Now, the issue about tattoos is that, without a word, tattoos really do shout.

you don’t have to say a lot. [Allegiance] [Very intimate] [Serious mistakes]

And tattoos tell you a lot of stories. If I can ask an indiscreet question, how many of you have tattoos? A few, but not most.

What happens if Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, cell phones, GPS, Foursquare, Yelp, Travel Advisor, all these things you deal with every day turn out to be electronic tattoos? And what if they provide as much information about who and what you are as any tattoo ever would?

Why all those duckface selfies might not be such a great idea:

What if Andy Warhol had it wrong, and instead of being famous for 15 minutes, we’re only anonymous for that long?|By Juan Enriquez

01:21 What’s ended up happening over the past few decades is the kind of coverage that you had as a head of state or as a great celebrity is now being applied to you every day by all these people who are Tweeting, blogging, following you, watching your credit scores and what you do to yourself.

And electronic tattoos also shout. And as you’re thinking of the consequences of that, it’s getting really hard to hide from this stuff, among other things, because it’s not just the electronic tattoos, it’s facial recognition that’s getting really good.

So you can take a picture with an iPhone and get all the names, although, again, sometimes it does make mistakes. But that means you can take a typical bar scene like this, take a picture, say, of this guy right here, get the name, and download all the records before you utter a word or speak to somebody, because everybody turns out to be absolutely plastered by electronic tattoos.

 there’s companies like that now have about 18 billion faces online. Here’s what happened to this company. [Company sold to Facebook, June 18, 2012…] There are other companies that will place a camera like this — this has nothing to do with Facebook — they take your picture, they tie it to the social media, they figure out you really like to wear black dresses, so maybe the person in the store comes up and says, “Hey, we’ve got five black dresses that would just look great on you.”

what if Andy was wrong? Here’s Andy’s theory. [In the future, everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes.] What if we flip this? What if you’re only going to be anonymous for 15 minutes? 

 because of electronic tattoos, maybe all of you and all of us are very close to immortality, because these tattoos will live far longer than our bodies will. And if that’s true, then what we want to do is we want to go through four lessons from the Greeks and one lesson from a Latin American.

Why the Greeks? the Greeks thought about what happens when gods and humans and immortality mix for a long time.

lesson number one: Sisyphus. Remember? He did a horrible thing, condemned for all time to roll this rock up, it would roll back down, roll back up, roll back down. It’s a little like your reputation. Once you get that electronic tattoo, you’re going to be rolling up and down for a long time, so as you go through this stuff, just be careful what you post.

Myth number two: Orpheus, wonderful guy, charming to be around, great partier, great singer, loses his beloved, charms his way into the underworld, only person to charm his way into the underworld, charms the gods of the underworld, they release his beauty on the condition he never look at her until they’re out. So he’s walking out and walking out and walking out and he just can’t resist. He looks at her, loses her forever. With all this data out here, it might be a good idea not to look too far into the past of those you love.

Lesson number three: Atalanta. Greatest runner. She would challenge anybody. If you won, she would marry you. If you lost, you died. How did Hippomenes beat her? Well, he had all these wonderful little golden apples, and she’d run ahead, and he’d roll a little golden apple. She’d run ahead, and he’d roll a little golden apple. She kept getting distracted. He eventually won the race. Just remember the purpose as all these little golden apples come and reach you and you want to post about them or tweet about them or send a late-night message.

 there’s Narcissus. Nobody here would ever be accused or be familiar with Narcissus. (Laughter) But as you’re thinking about Narcissus, just don’t fall in love with your own reflection.

Last lesson, from a Latin American: This is the great poet Jorge Luis Borges. When he was threatened by the thugs of the Argentine military junta, he came back and said, “Oh, come on, how else can you threaten, other than with death?” The interesting thing, the original thing, would be to threaten somebody with immortality.

And that, of course, is what we are all now threatened with today because of electronic tattoos.

Man has been re-programing life. Are we doing it the correct way?

For four billion years, what lived and died on Earth depended on two principles: natural selection and random mutation. (Not concerning human species?)

Then humans came along and changed everything — hybridizing plants, breeding animals, altering the environment and even purposefully evolving ourselves.

Juan Enriquez provides five guidelines for a future where this ability to program life rapidly accelerates.

“This is the single most exciting adventure human beings have been on,” Enriquez says. “This is the single greatest superpower humans have ever had.”

Juan Enriquez. Futurist? He thinks and writes about profound changes that genomics will bring in business, technology, and society. Full bio
Speech in Nov. 2015

There’s an actor called Dustin Hoffman. And years ago, he made this movie which some of you may have heard of, called “The Graduate.” And there’s two key scenes in that movie. The first one is the seduction scene. I’m not going to talk about that tonight.

The second scene is where he’s taken out by the old guy to the pool, and as a young college graduate, the old guy basically says one word, just one word. And of course, all of you know what that word is. It’s “plastics.”

And the only problem with that is, it was completely the wrong advice.

0:52 Let me tell you why it was so wrong. The word should have been “silicon.” And the reason it should have been silicon is because the basic patents for semiconductors had already been made, had already been filed, and they were already building them.

So Silicon Valley was just being built in 1967, when this movie was released. And the year after the movie was released, Intel was founded. So had the graduate heard the right one word, maybe he would have ended up onstage — oh, I don’t know — maybe with these two.

As you’re thinking of that, let’s see what bit of advice we might want to give so that your next graduate doesn’t become a Tupperware salesman.

1:40 (Laughter)

In 2015, what word of advice would you give people, when you took a college graduate out by the pool and you said one word, just one word? I think the answer would be “lifecode.” So what is “lifecode?”

Lifecode is the various ways we have of programming life. So instead of programming computers, we’re using things to program viruses or retroviruses or proteins or DNA or RNA or plants or animals, or a whole series of creatures.

And as you’re thinking about this incredible ability to make life do what you want it to do, what it’s programmed to do, what you end up doing is taking what we’ve been doing for thousands of years, which is breeding, changing, mixing, matching all kinds of life-forms, and we accelerate it.

And this is not something new. This humble mustard weed has been modified so that if you change it in one way, you get broccoli. And if you change it in a second way, you get kale. And if you change it in a third way, you get cauliflower. So when you go to these all-natural, organic markets, you’re really going to a place where people have been changing the lifecode of plants for a long time.

The difference today, to pick a completely politically neutral term — [Intelligent design]  

We’re beginning to practice intelligent design. That means that instead of doing this at random and seeing what happens over generations, we’re inserting specific genes, we’re inserting specific proteins, and we’re changing lifecode for very deliberate purposes. And that allows us to accelerate how this stuff happens.

Let me just give you one example. Some of you occasionally might think about sex. And we kind of take it for granted how we’ve changed sex. So we think it’s perfectly normal and natural to change it. What’s happened with sex over time is — normally, sex equals baby, eventually. But in today’s world, sex plus pill equals no baby.  

We think that’s perfectly normal and natural, but that has not been the case for most of human history. And it’s not the case for animals. What it is does is it gives us control, so sex becomes separate from conception.

And as you’re thinking of the consequences of that, then we’ve been playing with stuff that’s a little bit more advanced, like art. Not in the sense of painting and sculpture, but in the sense of assisted reproductive technologies.

So what are assisted reproductive technologies? Assisted reproductive technologies are things like in vitro fertilization. And when you do in vitro fertilization, there’s very good reasons to do it.

Sometimes you just can’t conceive otherwise. But when you do that, what you’re doing is separating sex, conception, baby. So you haven’t just taken control of when you have a baby, you’ve separated when the baby and where the baby is fertilized.

So you’ve separated the baby from the body from the act.

And as you’re thinking of other things we’ve been doing, think about twins. So you can freeze sperm, you can freeze eggs, you can freeze fertilized eggs.

What does that mean? Well, that’s a good thing if you’re a cancer patient. You’re about to go under chemotherapy or under radiation, so you save these things. You don’t irradiate them. But if you can save them and you can freeze them, and you can have a surrogate mother, it means that you’ve decoupled sex from time.

It means you can have twins born — oh, in 50 years?  In a hundred years? Two hundred years? And these are three really profound changes that are not, like, future stuff. This is stuff we take for granted today.

this lifecode stuff turns out to be a superpower. It turns out to be this incredibly powerful way of changing viruses, of changing plants, of changing animals, perhaps even of evolving ourselves. It’s something that Steve Gullans and I have been thinking about for a while.

 Let’s have some risks. Like every powerful technology, like electricity, like an automobile, like computers, this stuff potentially can be misused. And that scares a lot of people. And as you apply these technologies, you can even turn human beings into chimeras.

Remember the Greek myth where you mix animals? Well, some of these treatments actually end up changing your blood type. Or they’ll put male cells in a female body or vice versa, which sounds absolutely horrible until you realize, the reason you’re doing that is you’re substituting bone marrow during cancer treatments.

So by taking somebody else’s bone marrow, you may be changing some fundamental aspects of yourself, but you’re also saving your life. And as you’re thinking about this stuff, here’s something that happened 20 years ago.

This is Emma Ott. She’s a recent college admittee. She’s studying accounting. She played two varsity sports. She graduated as a valedictorian. And that’s not particularly extraordinary, except that she’s the first human being born to three parents. Why?

Because she had a deadly mitochondrial disease that she might have inherited. So when you swap out a third person’s DNA and you put it in there, you save the lives of people. But you also are doing germline engineering, which means her kids, if she has kids, will be saved and won’t go through this. And [their] kids will be saved, and their grandchildren will be saved, and this passes on.

That makes people nervous. So 20 years ago, the various authorities said, why don’t we study this for a while? There are risks to doing stuff, and there are risks to not doing stuff, because there were a couple dozen people saved by this technology, and then we’ve been thinking about it for the next 20 years.

 as we think about it, as we take the time to say, “Hey, maybe we should have longer studies, maybe we should do this, maybe we should do that,” there are consequences to acting, and there are consequences to not acting. Like curing deadly diseases — which, by the way, is completely unnatural.

It is normal and natural for humans to be felled by massive epidemics of polio, of smallpox, of tuberculosis. When we put vaccines into people, we are putting unnatural things into their body because we think the benefit outweighs the risk.

Because we’ve built unnatural plants, unnatural animals, we can feed about seven billion people. We can do things like create new life-forms. And as you create new life-forms, again, that sounds terribly scary and terribly bothersome, until you realize that those life-forms live on your dining room table.

Those flowers you’ve got on your dining room table — there’s not a lot that’s natural about them, because people have been breeding the flowers to make this color, to be this size, to last for a week. You don’t usually give your loved one wildflowers because they don’t last a whole lot of time.

What all this does is it flips Darwin completely on his head.

See, for four billion years, what lived and died on this planet depended on two principles: on natural selection and random mutation.

And so what lived and died, what was structured, has now been flipped on its head. And what we’ve done is created this completely parallel evolutionary system where we are practicing unnatural selection and non-random mutation.

let me explain these things. This is natural selection. This is unnatural selection.

So what happens with this stuff is, we started breeding wolves thousands of years ago in central Asia to turn them into dogs. And then we started turning them into big dogs and into little dogs. But if you take one of the chihuahuas you see in the Hermès bags on Fifth Avenue and you let it loose on the African plain, you can watch natural selection happen.

Few things on Earth are less natural than a cornfield.

You will never, under any scenario, walk through a virgin forest and see the same plant growing in orderly rows at the same time, nothing else living there. When you do a cornfield, you’re selecting what lives and what dies. And you’re doing that through unnatural selection.

It’s the same with a wheat field, it’s the same with a rice field. It’s the same with a city, it’s the same with a suburb. In fact, half the surface of Earth has been unnaturally engineered so that what lives and what dies there is what we want, which is the reason why you don’t have grizzly bears walking through downtown Manhattan.

How about this random mutation stuff? Well, this is random mutation. This is Antonio Alfonseca. He’s otherwise known as the Octopus, his nickname. He was the Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2000. And he had a random mutation that gave him six fingers on each hand, which turns out to be really useful if you’re a pitcher.

How about non-random mutation? A non-random mutation is beer. It’s wine. It’s yogurt.

How many times have you walked through the forest and found all-natural cheese? Or all-natural yogurt? So we’ve been engineering this stuff. Now, the interesting thing is, we get to know the stuff better.

We found one of the single most powerful gene-editing instruments, CRISPR, inside yogurt. And as we start engineering cells, we’re producing eight out of the top 10 pharmaceutical products, including the stuff that you use to treat arthritis, which is the number one best-selling drug, Humira.

So this lifecode stuff. It really is a superpower. It really is a way of programming stuff, and there’s nothing that’s going to change us more than this lifecode. So as you’re thinking of lifecode, let’s think of five principles as to how we start guiding, and I’d love you to give me more.

Principle number one: we have to take responsibility for this stuff. The reason we have to take responsibility is because we’re in charge. These aren’t random mutations. This is what we are doing, what we are choosing. It’s not, “Stuff happened.” It didn’t happen at random. It didn’t come down by a verdict of somebody else. We engineer this stuff, and it’s the Pottery Barn rule: you break it, you own it.

Principle number two: we have to recognize and celebrate diversity in this stuff. There have been at least 33 versions of hominids that have walked around this Earth. Most all of them went extinct except us. But the normal and natural state of this Earth is we have various versions of humans walking around at the same time, which is why most of us have some Neanderthal in us. Some of us have some Denisova in us. And some in Washington have a lot more of it.

Principle number three: we have to respect other people’s choices. Some people will choose to never alter. Some people will choose to alter all. Some people will choose to alter plants but not animals. Some people will choose to alter themselves. Some people will choose to evolve themselves.

Diversity is not a bad thing, because even though we think of humans as very diverse, we came so close to extinction that all of us descend from a single African mother and the consequence of that is there’s more genetic diversity in 55 African chimpanzees than there are in seven billion humans.

Principle number four: we should take about a quarter of the Earth and only let Darwin run the show there. It doesn’t have to be contiguous, doesn’t have to all be tied together. It should be part in the oceans, part on land. But we should not run every evolutionary decision on this planet. We want to have our evolutionary system running. We want to have Darwin’s evolutionary system running. And it’s just really important to have these two things running in parallel and not overwhelm evolution. 

(Like selecting the Middle-East running Darwin’s evolutionary system? That would be fine and dandy if they leave us alone to evolve)

 Last thing I’ll say. This is the single most exciting adventure human beings have been on. This is the single greatest superpower humans have ever had.

It would be a crime for you not to participate in this stuff because you’re scared of it, because you’re hiding from it. You can participate in the ethics.

You can participate in the politics. You can participate in the business. You can participate in just thinking about where medicine is going, where industry is going, where we’re going to take the world.

It would be a crime for all of us not to be aware when somebody shows up at a swimming pool and says one word, just one word, if you don’t listen if that word is “lifecode.”

Body shapes of dancers: By photographer Howard Schatz

Howard Schatz is an outstanding American photographer.

Patsy Z shared this link via Juan Enriquez
H/t Jeannie Jennie Norberg

“I want to look through the view-finder of the camera and fall in love: I want to look through my view-finder and see an image I’ve never seen before anywhere else!.” Howard Schatz

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Artículo relacionado recomendado, también del mismo fotógrafo:

Howard Schatz: With Child





August 2022

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