Note — Dec 15, 2019

It’s 2071, and We Have Bioengineered Our Own Extinction

Seen in → No.107

Source →

Another op-ed from the future in The New York Times’ ongoing series. This time Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation, Dead Astronauts) imagines what happens when “the micro- and macro-organisms that saved humanity from our climate crisis” begin changing us in return.

But in the years that followed, we ignored the dangers of what we created, in part because, in the early days of biotechnology, ethical concerns about our right to manipulate complex organisms were given short shrift. We did not consider whether these organisms might have an opinion about the poor quality of their lives — that they might have a point of view. […]

The panicked and haphazard conditions under which we engineered such creatures has given them a form of autonomy that we do not yet fully understand. […]

It is possible that the majority of humans have experienced something similar, a kind of possession in which their bodies have been taken over and used to set the stage for some sort of rebellion.