We’re in an age known as the Anthropocene, an era in which humans have been the dominant force on earth. We’ve impacted the climate, we’ve shaped the land and in recent years, we’ve made changes on the atomic and genetic levels. Today’s guest, the philosopher Christopher Preston, discusses his book The Synthetic Age, which explores technologies that have the potential to radically reshape the world as we know it. We’re attempting to cool the surface of the earth by brightening clouds. We can introduce traits into wild species through gene drives and create entirely new organisms in the lab. While these new technologies are interesting and in many cases, potentially helpful, Christopher writes that we need to see them for what they are: a “deliberate shaping” of the earth and the organisms in it. He wants us to think carefully about what it might mean for humans to live in a world that they have intentionally manipulated.
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Click here for the episode’s transcript!
- Christopher Preston
- The Synthetic Age
- Explaining the Anthropocene
- “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe”
- Synthetic biology at the Venter Institute
- Malaria is a public health crisis
- Gene drives, mosquitoes and malaria
- More on living in a post-wild world
- 2015 fatality at Yellowstone National Park
- “Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions”
- Joel Reynolds
- “Infinite Responsibility in the Bedpan: Response Ethics, Care Ethics, and the Phenomenology of Dependency Work“
Thanks to Evelyn Brosius for our logo. Featured image “A nanotube” is by CSIRO, CC BY 3.0.
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