In 2020, a news headline quietly broke – about how China is trying to create biologically-enhanced "super soldiers."
According to U.S. intelligence, China has been doing tests (using the gene-editing technology CRISPR) on members of their People's Liberation Army (PLA), the principal military force of the People's Republic of China. The hope is that they'll develop soldiers with "biologically enhanced capabilities."
You’ve probably heard of CRISPR being used to treat genetic diseases. And while CRISPR has many potential uses in humans, most Western scientists consider it unethical to manipulate the genes of healthy people in order to boost their performance.
Also: it’s not clear how safe this kind of genetic modification ultimately is. One expert in the area says he's less concerned about the battlefield advantage coming from such research than he is about the “unforeseen” consequences of tampering with human genes.
Reading about this got us wondering …
? If the soldiers agree to this kind of experimentation … Does that make it ethical?
? If this kind of technology has the potential to give China a military advantage … Should we be pursuing it as well? (regardless of how we feel about the ethics)
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