[ExI] dna to search

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Nov 9 10:28:36 UTC 2014

BillK <pharos at gmail.com> , 9/11/2014 10:59 AM:

28 October 2014.     Two genes linked with violent crime. 
The problem with those gene variants is that they are very common; about 20% of us have the "dangerous" version. They only seem to become risky when combined with a bad upbringing and other factors. 
So if we want to use genetics to reduce violent crime we need to check about a fifth of all children for how they are brought up, and give them nicer upbringings if they are in trouble. In fact, skipping the gene test and just helping kids in trouble seems to be even better, since there are non-genetic social causes of kids to go bad too. 

If gene treatments become fashionable and/or compulsory the population 
could gradually change into a healthy monoculture nation of tall 
handsome people with blue eyes and a very placid disposition. 
Would it? I can see strong selective forces for health, intelligence and other general purpose goods, but multifactorial traits are harder to move than single factor traits. Parents generally do not seem to think hair colour merits genetic interventions; in fact, they are surprisingly conservative when it comes to any interventions unless they seem really good. Having a placid disposition doesn't sound like what any parents would go for. And the more blonds there are, the more other hair colors will look cool and exotic - there is a very interesting culture and availability interaction. 
In any case, human genetic changes are unlikely to matter unless we stall on nanotech, AI and other radical technologies: the latter category evolves far faster than the human generation time right now. Plus, of course, we are getting way better at gene therapy too. Genetics may cease to be irreversible. 
I am more worried about psychological hacks that make populations content than genetic hacks. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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