Elon Musk to Eschew Genetic Engineering Over “The Hitler Problem”
Ashley Allen / 2 years ago
Maverick entrepreneur Elon Musk, CEO and founder of both electronic car company Tesla Motors and private astronautics outfit SpaceX, has distanced himself from ever toying with the human genome for fear of its association with Nazi eugenics programs.
In an interview with Tim Urban of Wait But Why, Musk was asked his opinion on “genetic reprogramming,” and whether recoding the human DNA was a field he was interested in exploring. Musk replied that his problem with it is less of a “technical battle” but more a “moral battle”. He elucidates: “You know, I call it the Hitler Problem. Hitler was all about creating the Übermensch and genetic purity, and it’s like— how do you avoid the Hitler Problem? I don’t know.”
In relation to solving problems like eradicating disease and genetic defects, Musk said, “I mean I do think there’s … in order to fundamentally solve a lot of these issues, we are going to have to reprogram our DNA. That’s the only way to do it,” calling DNA “little more than software, and admitting that “reprogramming the human genetic code” was one of five key things he listed as vital to the future of humanity while he was trying to determine his career path back in college.
Musk has already spoken of his fear over the rise of artificial intelligence which, when added to his aversion to tampering with the human genome, demonstrates a refreshing reluctance to ‘play God’ from the innovative magnate.
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