Crispr is a technique that has added a large body of knowledge to our understanding of the human genome. (Click) (Click) It is a gene-editing technique which allows human DNA to be altered in the hope of ending deadly diseases like cancer and sickle-cell anemia. Two women worked together to advance the process, Jennifer Doudna and Feng Zhang. (Click) Since then, they have expanded their research on include Crispr as a diagnostic tool to explore DNA in search of irregularities.
Doudna and her team are working with Mammoth Sciences to pinpoint cancer mutations. Zhang’s group is licensing a system called Sherlock to develop cheap tests for infectious diseases. Some of the tests can be taken at home like those for pregnancy. (“We’ll Crispr the Hell Out of the Things – but Not, At First, the Way you Think,” by Megan Molteni, Wired, June, pg. 58.)
Thanks to technology, social scientists are making advances, too. They are cataloguing the many forms of human facial expressions. They want to probe human emotions more deeply. (“We’ll Share Or Emotional State as Willingly as We Share Our Photos,” by Nitasha Tiku. Wired, June, 2018, p 55.) While not yet as invasive as China’s system for tracking its citizens, (Click) the study does hope to learn how to affect human behavior. For example, Apple is analyzing more than 50 facial-muscle movements to determine what pleases their customers. The goal is to sell more products.
Service devices like Seri and Alexis aren’t benign, either. When you speak to them, they analyze your voice pattern and record the information for future use.
Astronomers have yet to find signs of other life in the universe, but on earth, we are never alone. Daily, some algorithm works to invade our bodies and our minds. And, daily, they are getting better at it.