CRAIG VENTER, a biologist and boss of Human Longevity, a San Diego-based company that is building the world’s largest genomic database, is something of a rebel. In the late 1990s he declared that the international, publicly funded project to sequence the human genome was going about it the wrong way, and he developed a cheaper and quicker method of his own. His latest ruffling of feathers comes from work that predicts what a person will look like from their genetic data.
If you’re thinking – what has this got to do with ‘immersive porn’ and future sex tech, then I must congratulate you for being such an innocent and naive soul.
For a start, combined with the rapid advances in gene editing techniques such as CRISPR, this tech could eventually allow parents to choose how their children will look down to the very last detail..or very close (environment does I assume play some part too, and not just regards obesity etc). In other words, future generations of humans will be remarkably, and near universally beautiful..and sexy. It wont just be a case of parents being able to choose the color of their child’s eyes, but the whole facial (and bodily) structure. As regards physical appearance, parents will literally be able to design their babies to grow in to the adult offspring of their choosing. And we can fairly assume most parents will want to their children to grow up looking like supermodels, especially if they see most other parents choosing that look for their children. Of course, we do not know how governments are going to regulate these techs over the next century.
Secondly, it raises issues of privacy, especially with the growing popularity of online sites that not only store genetic data of their members, but actually share it – for example, family ancestry sites. Presumably, these genome reading techniques could be used with ever more accuracy to reconstruct not only the person’s face, but their entire (naked) body – at whatever the desired age.
As Dr Venter is quick to point out, this technology has other implications, among them for privacy. He considers that genomic information must now be treated as personal information, even if it is presented as an anonymised sequence of letters—as is currently the case in some countries. It will, he warns, be possible to construct a face from the limited genetic data that people currently post online, for example, from DNA-testing services such as 23andMe.
The online storing and sharing of individual genomes is not the only potential source of privacy violation. Today, creepy voyeurs stake out public baths etc. to get their titilating glimpse of flesh. In 20 years, they could be prowling about such places hoping to pick up a single strand of hair which could then be run through a home genome reading kit and then this software used to reconstruct a near 100% accurate 3D naked body image – perhaps a holographic avatar that could be used in any kind a.i. generated virtual reality sex fanatasies. Or perhaps a home 3D printed sex doll or even sexbot.
Expect a law along the lines of ‘reading a genome for sexual purposes’ within a decade.