What do you think of synthetic biology?

What happens if you change the baby’s genes?

You may have a stronger reaction to the second question. But do you know what is the relationship between the two?

Emerging technologies such as synthetic biology are all around us and are developing and spreading to varying degrees. Their applications are being tested, products are being built, and data are being collected. But for whom?

Some examples of scientists or technicians who went too far or abused technology made headlines in mainstream media. This may be why you have heard of gene editing”CRISPR babies. “These eye-catching and sometimes frightening situations are more like exceptions, but illustrate an important point: we should all pay more attention. This includes students, who are future technologists and ethicists.

However, although these are important topics that need to be familiarized, only a few students will enter fields such as synthetic biology. The real question is: how can we increase access to and participation in the creation of emerging technologies so that it represents and serves all of us? After all, as far as emerging technologies are concerned, the fairness of factors such as gender and race is of utmost importance.

Today’s school can now begin to lay the foundation. Educators can promote dialogue with students around technology ethics, so that these technologies can develop fairly.In fact, educators can play a special role in facilitating these discussions among students, and Design thinking (Our d.school at Stanford University is usually abbreviated as design) Can be methodology.

The design focuses on identifying challenges and quickly proposing solutions and ideas to meet these challenges. Using design as a framework can increase participation by identifying multiple entry points, bypassing technical terminology, and creating a sense of participation and agency in the evolving technology.

Start from scratch

For many of us, the term “synthetic biology” is not as attractive as “gene-edited babies”, and there is a reason. Compared to any introduction to the technology itself, the end result of a particular technology is easier to understand and relevant. Of course, technology-centric dialogues will invite enthusiasts, evangelists, and skeptics to participate. But it misses a large number of people-those who are indifferent, indifferent or feel that technology has nothing to do with them.

Young people-our students-are no exception. When it comes to emerging technologies, they occupy the same space within the scope of participation. Some people will be fascinated by this topic; others will only show temporary interest at first. But we can start from the impact and let students participate in the creation of technology.

Focusing on the final first, second, and third-order meanings of learning, and put students directly in the design challenge.Once they invest in making an impact or creating change on the issues they care about, they can navigate through the layers of opportunity within the space to determine their role; they are

  • Are you interested in formulating a management policy to protect privacy?
  • Build an anti-racism data set?
  • Make novel products from their point of view?

Regardless of where they want to influence change, a layered understanding of technology and potential impact shows that everyone has the opportunity to create comprehensive solutions.

When we are guided by hints, our focus is on learning what students need to know to form opinions. Not all students need to be experts in code, gene sequencing, or logic boards, but it is vital that all students consider the impact of what they create on humans and the wider world.

By acquiring technology from a human-centered perspective, we bypassed exclusive jargon and high-tech entry barriers, and asked students to ask the following basic questions:

  • Is this the best use of the technology?
  • Is the technology used appropriately or are there other options?
  • What did you get?
  • What is missing?
The students of d.school “design a cow” and consider the meaning of their design, including positive or negative effects on the environment, biological welfare, earth welfare and “disgusting” factors.

Whether you like it or not, you are building emerging technologies

With the development of new technologies, the scope of the affected population has expanded, whether we are aware of it or not. Contradiction or rejection of technology means neutrality, which is a fallacy. There is no neutral space to occupy.No black and white, but yes Yes Many gray areas provide room for considering potential impacts, changing routes, and opening up new ways.

There is an inevitable feeling around emerging technologies. But there is also a sense of helplessness, frustration, resignation, and even panic, because technology is what “happily” happens to people.In the book “The Inheritance of Change: The Ethics of CRISPR and Human Genome Editing” published in 2019 by bioethicist Francoise Baylis, Baylis pointed out Pew Research Carried out in 2018, which means that heritable genome editing is inevitable. Most participants believe that human genome editing will lead to greater inequality. Even if some people use human genome editing appropriately, others will use it in an ethically unacceptable way; nearly half of them said that they are fully aware of Before the health effects, the technology will be used, which reveals real fears and worries.

But even if these technologies are inevitable, they are not developed in this way. This is where schools come in, because they help instill a sense of agency in students. Now that we are all involved, whether we like it or not, let us build a technology that serves all of us.

Find the part you want to play

When we use design, we can more easily discuss applications related to the people and stakeholders in the system, not just the technology itself. Design can help you think about why your views are important and necessary, and why the views of others are equally important.

Creating with technology is not necessarily coding or gene editing. It may be about raising the impact to understand the potential impact. It can build new systems to create fair access, collect new data sources to represent more users and participants, create more inclusive experiences, and so on. In other words, it has nothing to do with the code; it is about what the code can do.

We must help learners find their initiative and opportunities to participate in their system.The next generation may not question whether they will participate, but because they are A more diverse, educated, and more tolerant group of changes Compared with the previous ones, design provides a way to actively create the next things.

The design covers many aspects that emerging technologies are designed to solve, and provides a series of methods for problem solvers:

  • Influence. What social trends or phenomena do you see?
  • system. Is there a systemic problem? Which one?
  • Experience. What are the problems with the current experience?
  • product. Are there any physical or digital products that are part of the current experience?
  • technology. Do you know what technologies are currently being used in this field?
  • data. What kind of data do you think is available for this issue?

By expanding the scope of understanding from the technology itself to the entire field, we create more ways to participate and expand the possible points of contact between learners and technology. With this broader understanding, we help students determine what they can bring.

Once we have a starting point, we can begin to reveal how we got here and how we got where we want to go, considering what we are experiencing now.

Emerging technology is: emerging. Although its existence is inevitable, the organization has matured in determining its potential impact. The design gave us a map, allowing us to find our own institution in the landscape. Once we get involved, we can figure out what to create and what kind of influence we can initiate as designers.



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