“The concerns some have are valid only when we practice science irresponsibly or with immoral intent.”

I recently read Stephen Hawking’s book “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”, and he expressed his ethical concerns around questionable practices that CRISPR could lead to. Together in the context of Artificial Intelligence, he believes that we unavoidably grow towards a more mechanic-dominated world. He referred to that progress as “self-designed evolution”.

Although he was a positive thinker when it comes to scientific possibilities and development, he portrayed a rather grim future when it comes to gene-editing. While he supported the idea that CRISPR should be “confined to the repair of genetic defects”, he did not shy away from predicting that “there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving themselves at an ever-increasing rate”.

Moreover, he argued that, “[o]nce such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete”, and “[p]resumably, they will die out, or become unimportant”.

Let us then hope that the concerns you refer to in the above-mentioned statement come out as invalid in the future and Stephen is proven wrong.

Science writer at A Circle Is Round (https://acircleisround.com) • Exploring what science has to tell us about our interconnected nature •