Committee for genetically optimized organisms. Part V (39/52 -Terraism)

Illustration by Susanne Gold/ text by Ted Ganten
In this clip you will get more information on “Terraism”. Download the full book.

In the last weeks we looked into opportunites in, timing of and motivation to create transgenetic human beings. It is clearly possible, likely to happen soon and there are intriguing prospects as driving force behind it.

What can our terraistic association do about it?

What does that mean for our terraistic association? First, the measures are comparable to those for cyborg technology. If living creatures and their production are patentable, a pool of protective rights at the terraistic association would certainly make sense. In the context of ethical development, the question of how society wants to deal with undesirable developments and what “undesirable developments” are in this context is even more important than in cyborg technology.

How do we deal with undesirable outcomes?

Systems that support non-viable organisms and enable them to reproduce artificially are probably of little use from a planetary and evolutionary perspective. On the other hand, the “producers” of these beings will have to be made responsible for enabling the creature to live in dignity. For this purpose, there will have to be insurances that permanently guarantee the financial feasibility of such obligations. Also, a self-obligation to insurance would be a good Collective Action. At this point it requires thus still substantial basis and public work of the association.

Do we need an international private ethics committee?

A voluntary commitment of the members to submit any new attempt to establish a globally uniform Ethics Committee would be desirable. This would ensure uniform standards at least for an application-oriented part of research and prevent the same mistake being made several times around the world. In addition, member companies could be obliged not to cooperate with research institutions that do not submit their work to this international commission. Such indirect bans have long been common practice in other areas. For example, many national legislations oblige their resident companies not to cooperate with economic operators who use child labor. Also, to combat corruption, some countries do not allow by law companies to work with companies where there are indications that they are corrupt. In Germany an extension to all human rights is currently being discussed. In this way, a welcome industrial ethic will be created. Unfortunately, nations are sometimes hesitant to follow such feasible and welcome concepts. The association could enforce this through collective actions and develop it into a new standard. Also, the insurance level for possible consequences of transgenic developments could thus become valid worldwide. Unlike nations, the association would also have its own, unbureaucratic and cross-border enforcement possibilities (see above).

Here, a five week long journey into the possibilities of genetic optimization and its social impacts end. We learned it is coming. Soon. It will bring new, incredible opportunities. Next week will focus on a new exciting topic. Technologies to extend our lifespan and its impact to society.

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