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The Hopeful Future of Genetics

Juan Enriquez's Talk on Genetics Features Mind-Boggling Content

— February 20, 2019 — Keynote Trends
Futurist Juan Enriquez focuses on the impact of genome and brain research as observed in a number of aspects of life-- business, technology, healthcare, politics, etc., and his talk on genetics relates some incredibly interesting and immensely hopeful information to his audience.

The keynote begins with our tendency to overestimate and underestimate the potentials of technology. The speaker effortlessly illustrates this by calling attention to the telescope — a rather commonly overlooked piece of equipment in contemporary society, but one that can allow you to see a single lit candle from the moon. He equates this to life, arguing that we live in a time of miracle and wonder but we often "kind of take [it] for granted." In general, the message of his talk on genetics falls on the conclusion that we need to open our eyes to the developing world of genetics as it will allow us to achieve things that before were thought impossible.

Juan Enriquez calls attention to the fact that the first synthetic life form has already been created. This is a signifier that biology is not just reactive anymore but proactive — as in "you don't just observe stuff, you make stuff." The talk on genetics expands on what this transition means for the world. For one, this entails the onset of a whole new industrial revolution that will allow humans to create anything using the code of life. Secondly, it foreshadows the rise of theoretical biology which will allow scientists to follow the steps of physicists. Finally, it is an opportunity for consumer engagement — examples of this include companies that allow you to get your genes sequenced.

During his talk on genetics, Juan Enriquez already calls attention to some instances where businesses have started using science-based tactics to engage, inspire and attract their target consumer base — from IKEA's pee-friendly crib ad to printable vaccines.