Hugh S., an early follower of this blog, sent me a link to a 2009 New Yorker magazine article, which I recommend to you:
and he wrote:
“The article was recommended to me by a Yale applicant I interviewed, and I just got around to reading it about a day after your blog post on alt-cuisine and molecular gastronomy. Maybe you’ve already seen it, but WOW! This article is an eye-opener to me, and it’s simply a lot of fun (“Eau d’ecoli!”). Made me reflect on a lot of things in Fourth World. The most exciting prospect to me is the prospect of efficient energy production — rather than coming from the environmental movement, maybe the solution to global warming will come from a field like synthetic bio that Trump probably doesn’t even know about and therefore won’t mess up. Hope springs eternal.”
My response to Hugh, which is fully comprehensible only to those who’ve read the article and Fourth World (sorry):
Thanks for the interesting and enjoyable article- I had not seen it, but was really struck by some of the parallels with Fourth World’s theragenomics: the use of a Biogenome Menu sounds like BioBricks; the vital need for the Three Laws of Theragenomics; and the possession of gene-engineering technology by those least likely to observe those laws. It also struck me how often imperfect or misleading analogies are used by Endy to rationalize the unvetted application of this science: when a bridge falls down etc…. when a river catches fire etc…. and Wayne Gretsky skates to where the puck is going to be. They’re all compelling images, but so utterly simplistic vis-a-vis the real issues that they hardly apply. In Fourth World, Cira Vincent expresses concerns in her opening lecture, but then later, at the restaurant H, regrets that gene technology has not been exploited to its maximum potential in the manufacturing industries. So it’s complicated: I don’t want to see synthetic creatures, let alone human “offspring,” walking around outside the lab, but would not mind driving a car fueled by an antimalarial drug!”
To my readers in the blogosphere: if we extrapolate forward from what was emerging in 2009, the dystopian future of the human race depicted in Fourth World may seem quaintly conservative!