Complexity and Ethics of Gene Editing

What does gene editing mean for society? How complex is the procedure? What is the likelihood that mistakes will be made in the process? What happens to discarded embryos?

Confronting Complexity

The book you are seeing on your screen may look like a normal book; it is not. It is a conversation in which you are a participant. The book does not offer pat answers to hard questions. In fact, it barely even gives definition to hard questions. Rather, this book presents that stage in which science is most challenging and, arguably, most interesting—the period of identifying just what the problems and issues are. That is why we solicit your help in writing this story—the story of extreme events in social systems.

The participants in this book-writing enterprise are independent thinkers who wish to understand the forces impinging on social systems and the systems’ often dramatic and extreme responses to those forces. Extreme events, the sudden and discontinuous response of social systems to these forces, are what we for shorthand term X-Events. X-events We imagine the reader to be a person who wants to intelligently manage his or her actions and behaviors in the midst of an X-event—in short, to manage an organization in chaos. And not only manage, but be a beneficiary of that event. Explicitly, we understand that there are no simple answers to social questions. But but there is at least a gestalt that can help an individual anticipate and manage X-events. The program outlined here is to build the gestalt by total immersion in the topic—by examining the issues from many perspectives.

Human Gene Manipulation: Screening

Suppose you are a prospective parent. Can you and do you want to affect the properties of your baby. Would you like it to be disease free? How about athletic or intelligent? What is the science? What are the ethics?

What Is Money?

  Hello. My name is Roger Jones and I am coming to you from beautiful downtown Lisbon, Portugal. Last week I met in France with a number of thought leaders from around the world. It was a high-altitude environment, and when I left my head was swimming with new thoughts. I would like to combine…

Some Modest Proposals

I am a social-media whore. I am awake after midnight fascinated by what people might say next. Now that Mr. Trump won the Presidential election, the future no longer seems to be constrained by civilized precedent. Any proposal is now taken to be credible; even the dismantling of the extremely popular Medicare is on the table.

What is Resilience?

In the summer of 1973, one of us (JC) took a position as one of the first scientists at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), located at a former hunting palace of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, just a few miles south of Vienna in the village of Laxenburg, Austria. IIASA was a joint venture of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Soviet Academy of Sciences, with several junior partners, the countries of eastern and western Europe, along with Canada and Japan. The research structure of the Institute was set up along the lines you’d find in a university, except that the “depart- ments” had names like Energy, Urban Studies, Water Resources, Methodology, and so forth, reflecting the fact that IIASA was set up to study questions common to the industrialized countries of the world.

Over the Edge of the Technology Cliff

In the latter half of the twentieth century, two of the highest-flying tech firms were Wang Laboratories, manufacturer of word processors, and Research in Motion (RIM), a Canadian company that produced the famed Blackberry, which took the world of cell phones and electronic email by storm. It’s instructive to look at the timeline of these two companies, both in terms of technology and revenues, to see how things can go very badly very quickly for a company operating in a fast-changing environment.

Why Companies Need to Fail

During the second half of the twentieth century, if you’d asked anyone who was the world’s leading photo-imaging company they would have looked at you like you’d just dropped in from outer space. The answer to that question was so obvious that to even ask the question marked one as a cultural illiterate. Anyone who even faintly understood the term “photo imaging” would have instantly replied, “Kodak, of course.” And indeed it was that obvious. There were no contenders within sight even for second place. Kodak was it. And almost everyone would have imagined that the Soviet Union would collapse before Kodak. But times change, both for companies and for countries. And by 2012 the USSR was but a distant memory—and Kodak was in the bankruptcy courts on its way to oblivion. Perhaps it’s not accidental that the reasons why both the USSR and Kodak collapsed are about the same. So as the story of this chapter is business, not geopolitics, let’s look at Kodak, not the Kremlin.

How does healthcare economics in the U.S. differ from traditional economics?

The concept of supply and demand is the cornerstone of economic theory. For simple commodities, the theory predicts that the demand for a product decreases as the price of the product increases and consumers are unwilling to pay the higher price. The supply increases as the price increases and suppliers increase production to capture increased profits. The actual price of the product is a compromise between the desires of consumers and the acumen of suppliers.

Clinical Trials in the Era of Personalized Medicine

Excerpts from the book Confronting Complexity X-Events, Resilience, and Human Progress by John L. Casti Roger D. Jones Michael J. Pennock preface table-of-contents Click to Buy Paperback E-Book Bundled The cost of sequencing an individual human genome is rapidly dropping below $1000. Much of the population can now easily access the details of their susceptibility…