Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Cory Christensen

 

Philosophy and the Movies

 

February 7, 2012

 

Issues with Gene Enhancement

 

In the movie Gattaca, we examine the possibility of genetic enhancement and the effects it would have on society.  Based on the information from Michael J. Sandel’s article, “The Case Against Perfection: What’s Wrong with Designer Children, Bionic Athletes and Genetic Engineering” and the movie Gattaca I will show what is wrong with genetic enhancement.

In the movie Gattaca, when a couple decides to have a baby, the doctor looks at all the flaws their child’s genetic code could have and tells the parents what could be done to fix them.  This creates a problem for those individuals who have not been genetically enhanced at birth, thus creating a lower class.  “According to this argument, genetic enhancements for musical talent, say, or athletic prowess, would point children toward particular choices, and so designer children would never fully be free” (Sandel).  In reference to Sandel’s statement, most children would be brought into this world with a predetermined future, which could cause the child to reject the destiny that his or her parents chose for them.  

Gene enhancement sounds great to a certain extent, especially with the option of stopping a disease your child could have before it is even born.  However, there is always that flip side because there are individuals who would enhance the child way beyond the norm. 

Other issues include gene enhancements being very expensive so only the wealthy would be able to purchase it, which, in return, would create an even greater barrier between the poor and rich than we already have now.  In this movie, for instance, the main character, portrayed by Ethan Hawk, was born naturally and was not enhanced at all.  His dream was to become an astronaut, and due to the way his society had evolved, they did not allow him because he was not physically fit enough, according to his genes.  Thus causing him to pose as another person who was considered “valid” according to the body fluid scans that he has to forge from the valid individual (Niccol).   All of which was considered illegal by society standards.  Just to further show the segregation that would occur from gene enhancement.  

            I could not have said this better myself but this statement says it all, “to acknowledge the giftedness of life is to recognize that our talents and powers are not wholly our own doing, despite the effort we expend to develop and exercise them.”(Sandel)

Basically one way to look at is that it would disturb this natural balance that nature has already created.  Let’s look at the world of sports for a second because right now when we see a good player we see hard work and dedication, and those are the key factors that brought this individual to achieve his amount of greatness.  If gene enhancement is thrown into the mix, it takes away that level of appreciation and the passion that is involved with heart filled stories that we have with these athletes, and the same thing goes for any other aspect of life.  In sports, if enhancement was allowed for all players, it could possibly turn into how the gladiators were in Rome, being kept as slaves and forced to fight for entertainment, creating another potential option for segregation once again. So far there are two potential options for segregation, which the rich only being able to afford enhancement and the possibility of athletes being produced for entertainment purposes.

Another point to look at is if we are allowed control to pick out the way our children appear and act. Don’t you think that we could eventually wipe out the characters that make us different from one another?  Granted, it could be beneficial because only good traits would be carrying on, instead of the unwanted traits.  I truly believe we would lose something that makes us individuals, and we would definitely lose a lot of creativity in life.  In a way, this reminds me of some of Plato’s theory or plans he had in “The Republic,” where sick and deformed children were discarded at birth for the sake of preserving a better race of people.  In a way, designing your children is not really much different than Plato’s theory because in today’s world most people would not agree with that method.  However, it does take place in some parts of the world with Chinese women aborting female children.     

Sandel talks about genetic discrimination like we have in Gattaca and reflects it upon today’s world on “how the fear of Insurance companies would use Genetic data to assess risks and premiums led the Senate to vote to prohibit genetic discrimination in health insurance.”  If we had perfect genetic control, it would eventually deplete the solidarity that comes from when individuals reflect on the contingency of their talents and achievements. 

Man’s desire to master the acts of god or nature has far too many consequences that could, and most likely would, develop. Already people are realizing it in today’s society as discoveries have been made such as the senate bill that passed April 2008 outlawing genetic discrimination in the workforce. This bill was ten years in the making according to a NPR article by Julie Rovner. 

I believe we should continue our work in genetics because it could be put to good use for healing and curing diseases.  However, we need to pay close attention to what is being done so things don’t get out of hand and push us even further away from our natural balance.      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

 

Niccol, Andrew, dir. Gattaca. 1997. Film.

<http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/&gt;.

 

Rovner, Julie. ” Senate OKs Bill Outlawing Genetic Discrimination.”

(2008): n. page. Web. 9 Feb. 2012. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89922198&gt;.

 

  Sandel, Michael. “The Case Against Perfection:Whats Wrong With Designer

Children, Bionic Athletes, and Genetic Engineering.” Ethical Issues In Modern Medicine. 7th n. page. Print.

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How google+ made her a star.  This is an interview at SXSW and she explains how her web concert with google plus got her a million fans.  Check it out!!!!

This is what you get when you are immersed in the big boy world, when you lack the skills and experience.  You may ask who am I talking about? If you have seen The Social Network then you probably do, Mark Zuckerberg.  I have not seen the movie personally, but after reading Ellen Mcgirt’s article, “Boy CEO,” I have a good idea.  This also goes great with my previous post about getting into sales.  It’s all about how you present and the way you look and act, which Zuckerberg was obviously lacking.  With his half asleep appearance and his tardiness to business meetings.  You can have all the great ideas in the world but if you don’t present it properly than it’s a big downer.  Thus this caused Zuckerberg to open his eyes and gain a coach to help him be more professional.  This is your basic sink or swim scenario.  Zuckerberg totally arose for the occasion.  Granted,  I don’t agree with everything Facebook does, but I do believe it has changed the world,  for better and for worse.

Jim Dorsey executive chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square seems to think so. Dorsey has created a new service that allows anybody to accept credit card payments via Iphone. He believes it’s magic, ha!!! Anyways, each day we are becoming more and more dependent on technology to do anything!!! It is making us all lazy, granted its cool that we have technology to help urban flaws such as his software for tracking taxis and ambulances. However, somebody is going to drop an EMP bomb and everyone is going to running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. Also people complain about their phone service all the time, each day it turns into more and more of a scam and we are moving away from the old ways of doing things. Everything has flaws and can malfunction. We need to embrace both sides, the new tech stuff is not for everybody, its expensive and not everyone can afford it. Is it going to get so bad that people can function in society withouth being up to date on their techy gadgets? It sure is starting to seem that way. Most businesses are starting to do away with cash and only accept plastic, so what does that tell you!!!!! There is good and bad qualities to both sides. To read more check out this article http://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative-people/2011/jack-dorsey-square#profile.

Health application are among us and their popularity is growing. I know personally because my girlfriend uses MyfitnessPal and that fine and all but im sick of hearing about the damn thing every five minutes. She has tried to get me to try it and honestly I don’t really care enough to record everything that I eat on my phone  I feel like it requires too much effort.
The reason I am stating this is because its hard to be specific about the foods that I attempt to enter in. This is coming from my perspective and I am not in terrible shape but its all about your own will power and I would rather rely on that than some form of technology to tell me how to live my life

However, I am not totally bad mouthing these type of apps, maybe it works for some people. Just don’t forget technology is not a necessity to live your life, people did live and prosper without it for thousands.

Stay posted my girlfriend is somewhat of a guinea pig for these apps, so I will state another post in time.

Honestly I have had Phil’s wonderful app known as evernote for a while.  However, I have hardly used it at all.  With thanks to David Freeman for shedding some light upon the great accomplishments that Phil Libin and his team have accomplished, in his article

“Evernote: Company of the Year.”

I know have faith in what Libin and his associates are all about.  In a way Libin’s philosophy rather reminds me of Steve Jobs because he is all about starting with the customer experience and that is what evernote is all about.  This guy wants to help people with his software, he wants to make our lives easier.  He doesn’t actually sound like some money hungry guru, and that is just fine by me. He is into what he does for the long haul and he said it himself in the article that he wants his company to go on for 100 years.

Before I read this article I thought evernote was just another app, but now I understand to genius behind it all.  The whole concept that Libin has to let people have access to the a free version that actually runs properly is awesome and you don’t have to be connected via internet wi-fi whatever, it is a true Native App.  The company apparently just passed 15 million users in december and the numbers are growing at a rate of a million or more a month, impressive.

This app is a great organizational tool if you don’t know anything about it or feel like you don’t understand it, read the link above and get this app.  The app is free!!!!!!!!

 

Jeff Haden does not clearly state how google makes its money all I know is it has something to do with advertising.  I mean if you are going to write article about how google makes its money you should explain it in someway that the rest of the world can understand it.  Its just not clear how this pay per click advertising works , but I mean it is clear that it does.  Also what is this guy trying to say about a online college degree, he only paid $34.87 or whatever to buy it?  We just need a broader explanation than this one.  Click on Jeff if you desire to read this article.

It seems to me that Blockbuster’s problems could come from the fact that the people who should be running the company by looking ahead to the future seem totally out of touch with reality.  While Netflix and Redbox were moving ahead in the home movie business Blockbuster just stood around with a stupid look on its face.  Even the heads of the company seem not to realize that they are broke.  In our “I want it now” society people want convenience. Simply going to the store for a movie these days just seems like too much work when you can get it on your computer, IPhone, Ipad, or the numerous other devices which stream these movies to you at your convenience.  Being in denial and comparing their company to apple is simply crazy. If Blockbuster is going to survive, they are going to need to come up with a super fabulous business plan, fast!  You have to strive to survive in the digital age.

Now onto the problem with Netflix yes its convenient and you can stream it on many various screens, I believe that they are lacking security. Because somebody can purchase it and then give their friend the code and then they can watch it.  Losing another potential client.  Think about it, and also who really needs Netflix when you can stream just about anything for free so Netflix might be done as well.

Check out the article to find out more.

According to Steve jobs you need to “start with the customer experience and work your way back to the technology.”  He makes some good points in the speech he gave 15 years ago, I believe he has been true to his philosophy because I’ve seen these types of situations happen to apple and their products.  The achievements of apple are amazing, our lives have been forever changed by technology.  Although Jobs is dead, I believe he still has a few more surprises left for us with apple and we shall see technology grow from beyond the grave!!!!  Check out this video though so you can get some Apple philosophy.

Facebook May Not Be Enough For the Next Generation

To me it is all about the Internet and social media and yes, customer feedback is awesome for a company.  Therefore by using social media application it creates a very inexpensive medium to provide the feedback that in the past would cost the company money and more time to do so. Apparntly companies are not getting enough information on peoples thoughts and opinons on Facebook and Twitter.  They believe they should look beyond them. Also since this article states that Facebook and twitter are not enough  then I believe they should hone in on peoples blogs.  Especially those who blog about things related to ones company, because they could also use that information as customer research and they very well could be doing this already.  Facebook already has some program that analyzes your profile to create advertising that appeals to your interest and activities.  Why couldn’t the same program be applied across other people’s blogs?  Granted it would require the permission of the blogger and it could lead to a lot of clutter on peoples’ pages because Facebook rather seems that way.  Or maybe it could turn into a way that bloggers could make money, because after all I’m sure some companies pay bloggers to put add on their websites.  For more on this article check the link at the top.