Hey Epsilons! Brave New World Getting Closer
Recent experiments indicate that animal behavior can be permanently altered, turning aggressive animals into models of passivity. Neurobiologist Barry Richmond and his team have done this by blocking the effects of a gene in the brain called D2, which cuts off the link between the monkey's motivation and perceived reward.
Humans have an identical gene.
The experiments involved getting monkeys to operate levers in response to color changes on a screen in front of them. Richmond's team found they could make monkeys work their hardest and fastest all the time by manipulating D2 so they forgot about rewards. No complaints or slacking off.
"Most people are motivated to work hard and well only by the expectation of reward, whether it’s a pay cheque or a word of praise,” said Richmond. “In these experiments we found we could remove that link and create a situation where repetitive, hard work would continue without any reward.”
Looks like Ford's in his flivver and all's well with the world, right? Unfortunately, Richmond notes that the technicalities of permanently altering human behavior by gene manipulation are too complex. "They would be indiscriminate and not be able to appreciate that their efforts were wasted if there was a problem further along a production line," he said.
He and other scientists are optimistic that techniques of manipulating human traits are just around the corner. Future IVF (in vitro fertilization) clinics will be able to provide much more than just a reasonable chance that IVF will produce a baby boy or baby girl. Julian Savulescu, professor of ethics at Oxford University, believes that people have a "moral imperative" to genetically enhance their children.
In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, the primary means of turning a person into an Epsilon worker were strong conditioning in childhood. However, the book does also mention chemical and bacteriological manipulation of the embryo prior to birth. Or should I say, "decanting."
Read more at Scientists find way to make us slaves.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/25/2004)
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