Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The XX or XY Prize

Now that SpaceShipOne has taken the X-Prize, Jonathan Wilde of Catallarchy asks, “What other endeavors could benefit from a privately funded Prize race?

I’ll give the same answer I gave to a somewhat different question several months ago:
Clone a human being, without serious physiological defects, by the year 2015. I suspect this research program would generate substantial positive spillover effects, mostly in the fields of medical technology and life extension. We might, for instance, learn how to grow organs that are already genetic matches for the recipients.
When I first proposed this project, it was a reply to Alex Tabarrok’s challenge, which was (and I paraphrase), “If we absolutely must blow billions of tax dollars on something, can’t we think of something better than W’s goofy moonbase proposal?” But I actually believe my proposal is a good one, and I’d far rather see it funded privately than publicly. Indeed, given the political opposition to cloning and related endeavors like stem-cell research, private funding could be the only viable option.


Anonymous said...

I don't think cloning is particularly useful. I seriously doubt one would learn anything about growing organs seperately or anything else of the nature. Cloning humans would only require technical refinements of the techniques we already have for cloning primates — there would be virtually no spinoff technologies.

If you really want to help medicine advance, fund the Methuselah Mouse Prize. Indeed, anyone can contribute to it already.

--Perry Metzger

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this one, Glen! Would you like to be cloned? Would you care for your own twin infant? But, you have to be more specific about what you mean by "serious physiological defects."


Anonymous said...

I'd say an autodoc. Just a booth that you step into that provides a full-body 3D scan and instant, automated bloodwork, then gives a diagnosis of any and all health problems, along with a prescription. Future models should be able to perform on-the-spot cosmetic surgery:-).

Jason B.