Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Someone just sent me this question: "If you could genetically engineer any person/animal/vegetable what would it be? What would you add or subtract? Why?"

Interesting. Odd, but interesting. I started thinking about this, and realized that having this power could be pretty dangerous. Because we wouldn't be able to foresee the consequences. Like if I said I would give dogs the ability to talk, I don't know if the result would be having extra-super pets who you could have a conversation with, or the result would be that dogs, even with the power to talk, wouldn't have very much of any interest to say, and so they'd just ramble on about nothing and be annoying, like sorority girls (I'm kidding, sort of), or if they'd actually use the power to talk to conspire to get back at humans for domesticating them and take over the world (I think there was a summer movie about that, actually, starring the kid from Stepmom). The stuff I can think of doing would mostly be just to make things easier to eat, and probably pretty cruel in the case of animals -- fish with no bones, cows with no bones, chickens with no bones... my genetically engineered world would have lots of floppy animals. Or apples with no cores, plums with no pits... but, really, the inconvenience of plum pits is not particularly high on the list of world problems. I suppose it would be cool to do something random, like give broccoli ears, or give humans flippers -- stuff without a point that would just look weird. Or perhaps some superpowers would be nice -- the ability to fly, or to read people's minds. But if everyone could read everyone else's mind, again, the consequences are hard to puzzle out. There'd be an awful lot of stuff flying through your head as you were walking down the street. Not sure I'd want that. I guess if I could genetically engineer some plants to provide cures for stuff, like cancer and AIDS and heart disease, that would be cool. Yeah, I'll go with that.