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When announcing the birth of the genetically modified babies, [Dr. Jiankui of China] said his actions met the ethical standards for embryo editing set out in a 2017 report issued by an international committee of the National Academies of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. He said he was trying to confer protection to the children against future infection with HIV.

The 2017 report included caveats and words of caution about gene editing in embryos, but was considered a significant milestone because it suggested that there could be an ethical path to follow once the technology was developed further.

--The Wall Street Journal, last week

The Director of the Hatchery and Conditioning Centre took his students around the Social Predestination Room, showing them more than they could get from the books. This was real life. This was where everything happened, where everything really mattered. A textbook can't give a student the smell of the hatchery, the sounds of the conditionings, the thrill of seeing it live.

The Director also enjoyed showing off Society's progression to the impressionable students. He knew they talked of him, and people like him, in reverent tones.

The Director passed by some workers and their test tubes, and waved his hand toward the Green Zone. The students took notes.

Some of the foetuses will grow into Alphas, he noted, as long as they are given the right temperature and nutrients. Others were poisoned into being Epsilons. But it didn't matter to them--the soon-to-be-born Epsilons, that is. For they would be conditioned to love their status.

All it would take is a few years of suggestions and prep work while they slept in their cribs at night. Everybody in this Brave New World would be happy and adjusted. And serve a purpose!

The Director asked the class if they remembered everything from yesterday's field trip to the Fertilizing Rooms. They assured him they had. A few even quoted his words back to him. The Director was pleased when he heard that.

"And so from there, we come here," he said, solemnly but not uphappily. "These employees--artists, really--have perhaps even more important work than the hypnopaedic teachers later. Each being (or soon-to-be being, for we can dispose of those that show flaws) will get the subsistence he or she needs for the caste to come.

"There will be no unorthodoxy of behavior among any of the groups. Unorthodoxy leads to a weakness of civilization, as history shows. What is an individual, anyway? We can make another with the greatest of ease."

The group advanced to the Bottling Room, where activity was much quicker and more people were involved. The students' note-taking became faster, even frantic. With every whizz! and click! and tink! new life was being pushed in the correct direction. Eggs were transferred from test tubes to larger containers. Saline solution added at the right second. Thousands of would-be people were getting their first shot at life.

And what a life it will be! Historians told unbelieving students how things were done in ancient times--with religion and pregnancy and pain and marriage and disease and unhappiness. People in antiquity had no choice but to grow old, and get diseases, and bind with one another for lifetimes. They were one step up from cavemen. But not in this Brave New World.

One floor up, the new children were being fed. The Director told the class why this was so much better than having "mothers." (The students chuckled at the pornographic reference.) Even the pasteurized external secretion given to each carefully labeled child matched what civilization wanted him to grow up to be. The Alphas got theirs, the Betas something else, all the way down. And instead of relying on an imperfect person to raise these children, Society long ago figured out the best techniques.

Everything starts with editing. From the first few seconds of life. Before a human is even recognizable.

It's a Brave New World, indeed.

The Director kept moving on. The students kept taking notes. The world kept progressing. (Aldous Huxley would understand.)


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