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Big Revolution - What do we want to become?

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Welcome to Thursday's Big Revolution sent as I prepare to begin two days of whizzing back and forth a
 
January 31 · Issue #334 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s Big Revolution sent as I prepare to begin two days of whizzing back and forth across the country on trains. At least all that traveling means I might finish all the podcasts I still have in my ‘unlistened’ list.
– Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Apple has punished Facebook for its dodgy research app by revoking the certificate it needs to run internal tests of iOS apps and employee-only apps. This is causing big problems at the company. Facebook is ‘negotiating’ with Apple to get access back.
  • Endless scandals have done nothing to hurt Facebook’s financial performance. The company posted impressive results for the past quarter. Interesting point: the company is to stop reporting individual app user numbers, focusing instead on a combined figure for Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. That currently stands at 2.7bn monthly active users worldwide, up from 2.6bn last quarter.
  • Apple is testing a shift to including USB-C on iPhones, in a move that would ditch the Lightning port. That’s according to a Bloomberg report that also says 2020’s iPhones could have 3D cameras, while this year’s larger iPhones could have a new three-camera system.
  • Google+ is shutting down on April 2nd. You have just over a month to download your data if there’s anything you want to keep from the service that you probably haven’t used in years. An enterprise version for G Suite users will remain on offer.
The big thought
Credit: Jens Johnsson on Unsplash
What do we want to become?
I missed the news last week that China had confirmed the doctor who claimed to have edited the genes of two babies at the embryo stage was telling the truth.
He Jiankui claims his work has given the children resistance to HIV, although how you’d test that ethically, I don’t know. The children have been given anonymity to avoid them receiving unwanted attention. But even though China – like most other governments right now – seems averse to encouraging gene editing, the simplicity and low cost of ‘CRISPR’ means it will happen soon enough, whether it’s legal or not.
Some worry about only the rich having access to gene editing, thus being able to maintain their status above the poor by being stronger and smarter. But there’s no reason not to imagine that – like any technology – the price will come down quickly.
And while some may have dreams of improving the human race by wiping out diseases, the technology could just as easily be used for sinister Nazi-inspired eugenics programmes.
And either way, we just don’t know enough about the longterm health implications of gene editing to race into it. Make a 'superhuman’ today, and 50 years down the line they might have all sorts of health problems we’ve never seen before.
But let’s face it; if the technology is there, people are going to use it.
Just at a point when humanity’s longterm future is hanging in the balance due to climate change, we stand on the cusp of changing humanity itself.
We, as a species, need to have a serious conversation about what we want our future generations to be – if we want to save them at all.
One big read
Prisons Across the U.S. Are Quietly Building Databases of Incarcerated People’s Voice Prints Prisons Across the U.S. Are Quietly Building Databases of Incarcerated People’s Voice Prints
An investigation into a disturbing database that could have serious implications in the future.
That’s all for today...
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