By 2040, genetic engineering of humans will progress to be used for things like increasing muscle growth and modifying metabolism, especially in athletes. But biohackers will take a different approach — particularly with creating more diverse forms of self expression and a better high.
Because most new consumer technologies have to attain two main purposes before reaching cultural adoption: enjoyment and self expression. Genetic engineering will be no different. Self expression will be in the form of modifying things like skin color. Tattoos and other forms of body modification, such as piercings or implants, are already fairly common. The need for needles and injections make these processes very similar to genetic modification and make them similarly accessible. Changes that involve using genes that express chromophores, fluorescent proteins or make melanin will likely be the most common.
But we will first start to see its widespread non-medical use to get high, by temporarily transfecting our cells using plasmid DNA.
Bottom line: This will create completely new types of highs that people have never experienced before.
Other voices in the conversation:
- Geoffrey Woo, CEO of HVMN, a human enhancement supplement maker: Manipulate metabolic health to live longer
- Sarah Richardson, co-founder of Microbyre: DNA is not a programming language
- Arthur Caplan, NYU bioethicist, and Carolyn Neuhaus, NYU postdoctoral fellow: The future of fun is in biohackers' hands