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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 4, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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doesn't have the nutrients the flush really has. we'll have add vitamins into it and call it enriched flour and tell it to the people that it is better than the original stuff. this is genetically modified rice which has vitamin a into it. it is sold as a biotech solution to malnutrition in developing countries. i want to sit on that idea. the idea of hornless cows that uc-davis is working on. they used this genetic technology that will come up tonight called crisper 9. and there's a variety of ways this is kind of popping up in our agriculture. how can we make our animals convenient for the industrial farming that we do?
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we think a lot about animals as biomedical models. it's important to know how we are treating animals. so i want to talk a little bit of the history of fixing life and this is something with the new editing tools, these are new on the scene in the last three years, they are cheaper, they're quicker and easier to use and a lot of people have wondered if we have the capacity to now modify a lot of organisms, should we do it with humans, should we do it before they're born in maybe the same met -- metaphor before the cow?
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what he's basically saying, you know, as oppose the sterilizations, the way we segregated people that we didn't want away from society, now we are able to do this and now seemingly sterile mocular level. and he's also bringing the point that i'm going reiterate with another person, the idea that we sometimes assume that biotechnology is the most effective tool for social problems and i really want to interrogate the idea with you tonight because i'm not sure that it is. another person ruha, you can watch the videos on line at the the national academy on site. she really was pushing back on
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the idea that they were rigged for humans and wants us to think about life and interface, identities interfees -- interface with sint -- scientific categories. rather than dealing with social conditions that affect us all, just global poverty, inequality, mass encargs ration, housing and food storage that we see all over in san francisco and oakland. not only does it sort of give people the ability to opt out the social treatment if they have access or resources, but also tries to get the issue out of sight. we don't even think of it as a problem that we are investing in solving.
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we only bright minds in the room to solve, that's okay. who are the scientists, can we call it that and what is democracy look like in the new spaces specially backdrops to all of the contents by biotechs, giant billion-dollar baa -- patent battles, right? are we going to rely on the idea of freedom of expression. how do we define what i see in the codes of conduct assort of peace and respect for the environment, thinking about the beginning of this, how do we protect the environment from these spaces and are we engaged sometimes in the idea of public deficit model of public
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participation. who is the observer and who is the student and who is the teacher, and lastly, i really wanting to back in the idea of interrogating equity and access s this the equivalent of trickle down and what values are being mechanized if we bring biohacking to market. so this is our motto, responsible uses of human genetic technologies and thank you so much. [applause] >> next up tedo jankoswsky.
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i'm going ta take this one off. thank you. thanks, elliot, that was really great. lots of nods from me. hi, everybody. let's see. biocurious, a hacker space for biotech. when we started five years ago, our goal was to get more people
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doing science stuff. we started labs in our garages and our apartments and then we got a kick starter and said, we want to make this bigger, so we raised $35,000 to make that happen. we got aware -- awarehouse and a mailing list of people that were interested. five days later i went to ask the question is biocurious successful and what does success mean? in silicon valley it's pretty easy to define. innovations. it means start-ups, it means inventions, an idea that's spreading. is biocurious successful in that
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way? first off we have the plant, it was actually the idea of isn't it neat the things in biology glow, living things can glow in a dark, what if we could make a plant that could glow in the dark, how would that work? it took off, okay. start-ups, yes. another one. real vegan cheese. they are using genetically yeast to use cow's milk without cows.
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so another start-up that's come out of space. that's pretty cool. how about inventions? we also have a group that came together to create this printer, bioprinter, the long-term idea to be able to print living things and what they've done is they've used basic electronics to make a kit that's being used in universities around the world because this is the type of thing that normally would cost hundreds of thousands -- or millions of -- millions of dollars and so it allows more people around the world in universities, at least, to try out this idea. so start-ups, yes, inventions, yes. when we first started biocurious was the first of its kind in the world. a whole bunch of people told us it would never work, who wants to go back to high school and take a biology class.
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five years later, all the other people around the world who started calling themselves, do it yourself biology or biohackers or biocurious. so that's interesting. five years later is biocurious successful by the definition of silicon valley. are there start-ups, yes, the idea spreading around the world, looks like it to me. but that's not what i came here to talk to you about. when we started biocurious i came at it from the aspect of bio tp tech, genetic engineering, sin tethic biology. that was me. let's get all the equipment
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together and let's do biotech. it's much more about curious. hey, this is a cool idea. this is a cool concept. this is something that i never thought i would learn about. this is a topic that i walked out of freshmen year knowing i would never look at biology again and that's the curiosity that i've really discovered at biocurious and i wanted to share some stories about that. a group of students that we brought in to do a workshop in a lab. the most interesting things is we bring in people from all around the world who are like what is going on at biocurious and i remember we brought in this one group and it was -- they're from switzerland and
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they were all in suits and business high heels and things like that and we were doing this experiment where we were looking to discover new antibotics in nature. you probably walked by a couple on the way here. somebody just discovered like a new species of bug in new york city. the eliad project. let's get plant samples from the world around us and let's mix them up with bacteria. if they die that means it's an antibiotic and if it doesn't, it doesn't have antibiotic properties. what i remember about this was i was walking with this woman into
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the backyard of biocurious, it's not like a jungle backyard that's supercool, a corporate -- it's like asphalt. [laughter] >> we were wandering around, she's stepping over this bush, we are like trumping through the corporate flower gardens that are evenly spaced and she's stepping over the bush and reaches a redwood tree and grabs a piece of it and turns to me and says, do you think this is going to work in our experiment and i said, i have no idea, let's try it. we shared this moment because she hadn't had the ability or room to just try something in a really long time and that's -- that's what we have been able to do at biocurious, give that
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space to try something and not know that it's going to work, and that's okay. i have a picture of some different lab experiments. people getting together to try things out, a lot of people come to biocurious who has never been to a biotech lab before. that's like, well, welcome, this is your first step towards checking this out. another experiment that we did at biocurious is called the microsoft community project. a team working on building a high-end microscope, a 20,000-dollar lab microscope. we want to build this at 100 or $200. i remember i was sitting at
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biocurious and a group was coming in and people started going around the room and introducing themselves and i remember the first person that talked said, hey, i'm here, i'm really excited about the microscope project. i'm from valejo. valejo is two hours away, you drove here two hours to be interested in this microscope project. next to him is this women, i worked at google, i don't do anything relate today -- related to biology and i was pretty uncomfortable leaving work early but i did because i wanted to come check this out and next to her is eric, he's one of the regulars at biocurious, leading the design of the microscope project and it's this cool
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mixture of different people that never would have come together if we had said, let's start a company to build a microscope. if you wanted to start a company to build a 100-dollar microscope, you say we need a machine call engineer, electric engineer, electronic's engineer, and i think that's a really cool thing i have seen at biocurious, you build teams that you would never predict. and so what i've worked on over the past five years is biocurious, what i can learn about that, i think if i were to share with you the secrets of biocurious it's about people,
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places and public. it's changing all of those things, it's about changing the people that you work with. if you work at google, student at a university, change it up and go work somewhere elsewhere there are people you don't work with. it's a nonprofit and everybody that comes there is there by choice, no one is made to come there, which is very different than your normal job or corporation or things like that. and changing the places so you get different people, maybe that means if you work in an office just go to the other side of the office and switch seats with somebody, it sounds crazy but it changes your view and your experience. lastly, public, if you have a project at your office that you're -- you think nobody would ever be interested in and you've
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told your friends about it and they're like, oh, okay, bring them in, bring one person in to work on your project, whatever it is, maybe it's accounting, maybe it's human resources, maybe it's designing better lightbulbs for projector things. if you just bring people in, there's something interesting about it. and that's what we have done at biocurious, create these open projects open to the public and bring people in. so that's kind of the summary of what i've experienced at biocurious, it's really about the curiosity. biocurious is ten letters, three letters are bio, seven letters are curious. that's the right balance. it's really about curiosity because we are not allowed to be curious about a lot of other things. can you be curious about climate
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change? it's so scary, you can't even wrap your head around it. this is the topic that you can come and be curious about and it works and so that's what we've helped build, biocurious 501c nonprofit and open to public and would love to give anybody a tour, we would love to hear from you, my e-mail is tedo at i'm also -- i just got accepted to mini labs which is a branch of the gordon and betty moore foundation, so i'm trying to take some of the lesson that is i learned at biocurious. if you think that's a great
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idea, great. if you think it's a terrible idea, let me know. i would love to figure it out. so thank you very much. [applause] >> next up is pete shanks. >> i want to set this up with the time. are there any basketball fans?
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[laughter] >> so it seems plausible. okay. start that. i know where i am. i think we have three different complementary presentations going on, which is great. i'm going to focus a little more on the big capital although they all tie in together and this is my first introduction to computers. famous 1960's slogan button that we all love is development of the computer technology has a lot of people drawing parallels between that and biotechnology in various ways nowadays, some of that is reasonable and some of it is a little off.
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but a little later, i actually worked -- i didn't work directly on the -- this kind of computer, but i sent requests to the department to produce data calculated on this, which is probably about smartphone-level of power, i'm not quite sure. you had these guys and this is really where people have tried to make comparisons with the home computing of the early mid-70's which definitely led to apple. this is steve, was, in the famous garage. but still, we move on. by 1981 i was working in type-setting type with a mini computer and we actually had to refrigerate the room and stuff
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like that but it worked and i bought myself a computer. that's not me. that's someone else. but that's the computer i bought. it was a lot of fun. this is the famous star that turned jobs on and here in san francisco where a book designer was using one of the early ones to design and what jobs produce was mac, whereupon it sort of stop being a thinkers game. you had to have professional people to go and deal with it and expand it and so on. and, of course, that led to this and such. around time that it was getting going, the human -- sorry, i
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keep pointing left because i can see it. the project was trying to figure out how many genes people had and they really didn't know. they didn't know until shortly before the end of it by almost in order of magnitude, most people were guessing a hundred thousand or more, seemed to be a nice number and turned out to be like 20,000. 23, some people have said 19. it's all in the sort of area, which is kind of interesting. it won't have happened without advances of computer technology. and can you read this one? it's one of my favorite cartoons. god has to change the password, but what do you do? you've got all basically digitized information about the
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genome and what do we do with it? that's just what we do. that's actually what biocuriouss do at some level but at some point they use computers that take up full rooms and to do effective thinker, you want to change the way they run, they've been working on that for 25 years. the history already in this, although as elliot mentioned, i think, the big jump was three or four years ago when -- we are not going to get in into how it does it because no one can explain how it does it. i have been looking for an
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explanation for the intelligent layperson and at some point if you're intelligent enough to follow it you run into this black box, it just does. it enables scientists to target exactly with success exactly where a given gene they wish to either shut off or replace. and that's sort of like jobs in the mac, that's it. you don't need to know any more than that. it's worth knowing that it's not perfect at this point, that there is an error factor involved, they've been working on reducing the error factor but conceptually that sort of happens and so, of course, people started experimenting on
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embryos, the first paper came out just about a year from now that chinese scientists attempted to make emb, -- embryos, some of the changes were not as predicted. it was a failed experiment. it showed that you could do something and that -- just think about it a moment, that's scary and basically in a scientific world where we have to talk
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about this, we've all got to talk about this, what should we do, can we do, what shouldn't we do and this started a process which is continuing now. i will come to that in a bit. but it's continuing. the uk government officially gave approval in principle to a research team to do a particular type of experiment on embryos, they're not going to get implanted, there's no question of making a genetically modified person out of this, but it's still -- that's crossing a big bridge and i don't want to get into, you know, the abortion and question of where life begins and all this kind of thing, you can be completely pro-choice and
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still go -- you have to talk about this, you have to figure out what the appropriate responses, maybe this research could be valuable, but under what conditions? what are the limits, what should we do? wouldn't you know it, last week another chinese team did another set of experiments with the attempt to make embryos resistent to hiv, there are some evidence that genetic combinations, i think it's the way to put it, that do make people unusually resistant to hiv, that's attractive. that still didn't work, really, but as one of the scientists in
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the field put it, it didn't tell us something that we didn't already know so why do the experiment. it does mean the stuff is moving very fast. it's right on us right now and if we can get some kind of consensus, then we could be in trouble. yeah, i sort of include this one. maybe i should have put it before. as you can see from this chart which is about a year old. the numbers are heading in the wrong direction. it's far more efficient, far cheaper, far quicker than press technologies although some of the previous technologies are actually more advanced in terms of getting to -- towards clinical trials that have used.
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but you just look at the number, the bottom-left one that i put the oval around and go, oh. credit where it's due. these two are generally thought to be the discoverers, jennifer is in san francisco, emmanuel is european, she's now in berlin. fingan is in harvard and he holds the patent right now because patent law jiggery, the holding of it has been appealed. essentially berkeley will get
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the patent or harvard will get it. we probably won't know till a couple of years and it could be worth a lot of money. by the time the patent decision is made, it might be worth nothing. there might be a complete replacement. we don't know that. he's also from the new england side of things. he's the one with the beard if you didn't know. current think most quotable mainstream radical scientists. he's really in favor of doing this stuff. he's talking about making himself reconstituting the mammoth, he talks about an awful lot of things. he's a real true believer. the point that i wanted to make, this is coming back to jobs,
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these ain't hippies. these are very, very secured, successful professionals, and they've got a lot of money behind them. they all founded companies, details on a couple of them. editors was founded by most of them, basically because to of the patent fight, i think. that's how it goes. so editaf, originally had a terrible name and then someone came up with editing, which is supposed to be geneteting for humans.
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hundreds of millions right now already. itellirr is a joint venture for other company and novas is the huge farm -- pharmaceutical and has its own company in europe, actually it's in boston. countries don't mean that much. i'm serious, countries don't mean that much for these people. they move around internationally. million, five-year deal and lots more money as they say.
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so this brings us back. this is the context. this is the big question as i see it. government's regulation and control of which people, by which people and for which people, and this is something where i think we can -- i think biocurious has an interest as well. some of us have a financial-kind of interest, some of us have a social-equity interest, some of us just have safety interest, but what can we do, what should we be able to do when -- when should we be able to do it and
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who decides and it's kind of a big deal. i'm sure that biocurious doesn't want to generate anything that is going to be a pathogen that gets out of the lab that causes damage. in fact, i would actually like to hear you talk about that maybe at some point, what if any production needs to be made. but you're talking about hundreds of locations, they don't have cops in every corner. it's not -- if you look at it as being a problem, that's not easy to regulate at all. on the other hand, if you're looking at editer. they have a billion bucks, that's not easy to regulate. they've got access to the
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resources to get around things. so i'll just throw in cgs, i'm associated with cgs, i think we should draw a line at intervention to generate genetically humans. germ cells, sperm, embryos, if you make changes to them, it changes to the genome and they get replicated and they go on. we simplified it down to seven reasons not to do it. i'm not actually sure of what my timing is. maybe you can just look at them
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there, but who you're doing the experiment on, number one, if you're producing a baby you've got -- it's an unethical experiment. the insufficient variables and could have very profound effects. it's being sold to us as a medical cure for heritable genetic diseases, you can actually avoid them by testing before beginning the the pregnancy. there are a very few cases in which a given couple cannot have
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a related child that's healthy. honestly, overstating in my opinion. they are treating people like things. that ties in with some of the stuff that elliot was raising questions about. they come in heritage, humanities, health organization came up, there's been a lot of talk about these in the last, oh, 40 years because people have realized that people, professionals, so to speak, realized that this was coming and viewing the collective human genome as part of our heritage is -- that's something that the
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european union and the unesco, i think, have both agreed is -- that's a level of being sacred whether or not you're religious in any conventional term, and, of course, there are a bunch of nations which actually have put that into law that you should not make germline interventions. if some people try and do it, it's really going to throw the legal cat among the pigeons. it's also very unpopular according to opinion polls. and we really need science to be trusted. look at climate change. image most of the people in this room except the climate change is a reality and and there are questions about how we might
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deal with it. i certainly do. but then we are living in a society where a lot of people hold antivaccination believes, many of which are based on extremely dubious claims. we all need science and we all need to be able to trust in science and broadly the scariest thing, and actually what got me into this the idea of tech genetics where very few people could get enhancements for their kids and as professor lee silva more than 15 years ago end up dividing us into the enriched
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and the naturals, the idea that the class divisions in our society would become genetically reinforced is just horrifying to me. so winding up, genetic and society and friends of the earth put out a report last december which i was the lead writer on. it was a collective effort which has a lot more on what we see as going on, extreme genetic engineering and the human future and it's available at both of the websites or you can just search for it. and finally, this is jennifer downer which is no fool, once the discovery is made is out, anybody with basic biology training can use it. that's a bit scary.
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i will leave it at that. [applause] >> 22. [inaudible conversations] >> okay. now it's the chance for everybody else to get into the conversation. who is ready to jump in with a question or a comment or an angry rebuttal ri rebuttal anything you have? i have a million questions. i really appreciate it trying the frame the questions in terms of democratic participation, elliot you did that in the beginning and i think everybody comes back to that inevitable
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and i wonder if you can all speak a little bit about this. i'm driven by the fascination that all of us in our relationship to the work we do, whether we do it as an exchange for money as a job or as biocurious participants do because they're fascinated and curious, to what extent do we bring with that experience ability and responsibility to participate what we are doing and why the hell we are doing it, and from the biocurious point of view do you have discussions? what is this for? why are we doing this, why is this interesting? we all like little games that we can solve problems. is there a larger mission that's debated and sort of the mainstream and highly capitalized bioengineering world. how much are you encountering technicians, people who do the work in the labs and the
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scientists who are at the front end of this stuff who are willing to step back and engage on the questions on ethical terms and in terms of we make the world with the work we do and this is one of those moments where it's super in our face and it feels like it's not discussed, implication of science and technology is simply underdiscussed and the fascination overrides all the possibilities of stopping of why am i here in the planet and what the hell am i doing, so i kind of just want to start the discussion happening. i invite all three of you to respond however you like and i'm sure by then other people will jump in. whoever wants to go first. >> one of the things -- is this on? yeah. in my experience people don't like talking about human genetic
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modification. it freaks people out. now, there are some people that it's a minority, i think, there are some people who are for it, who, you know, i want to be green, i want to have horns, i want to do all kinds of things but most people who are -- and i'm talking about people who are concerned with gm foods, you think they'd be a natural audience for jumping into this discussion, most of them go, yuck, really that's about it. it's hard to get the discussion going because people don't want to take part of it because it's scary. >> so i want to answer this in two ways because i think it's a really important question and so i think in the curriculum,
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right, when you're actually -- you know, taking microbiology at uc berkeley, why do we have to take the course, if it's even a requirement, there's sort of this idea that it's sort of messy and gets in the way and i think that's really about how much we specialize education in in days, i didn't know what sociology was till i was in law school. i really need sociology right now. like the law, this is really complicated stuff and we are talking about this as if it's politically neutral, i really need socialology right now and i had to work it in my curriculum even though it wasn't available. on the explicit context of jennifer doudan. they've been having conversations among themselves
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when the rumors started occurring before april 2015, both of the major journals rejected the paper. so people knew this was going on. oh, crap, we have to get out of ahead of this and we have to start talking about this and i think, you know, there's some good in that. i'm glad that they're considering this and we have responsibility to talk about this and, you know, putting together the summit on human genetic in december. i mean, at the same time, like if you ask a lot of people out in the street right now could we make genetically modified humans, i don't think they would know. if we are relying upon the idea scientists trickling down to a public discussion, i don't think that's sufficient at all and i think, you know, i think it really has to do with the fact
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stem away from humanity and away from having ethical discussions. >> so the question i heard was biocurious people come in to participate hands-on, i think one of the things we started at biocurious we were always open to bring people in for presentations and a tour of the lab because that was a very new thing, people had never been to a lab before and what we started doing is getting people involved in environments, it was not just hearing about it with your head but feeling it with your body and your hands and seeing what do you think of this stuff, and the idea is that gives a better perspective to come at it, is this right, is this wrong.
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now it's -- i know there's a lot in science if you expose more science, then they'll be okay with science. that's like rubbish. i don't really believe in it. we get a lot of people at biocurious that come in, here is what i think of this, here is why i am not comfortable with this, we do a live discussion. we have -- just as another important piece of information, it's a biosafety level one lab. that's by design, if you give me a board and a lever, i can move the earth. it's not like if i had a billion dollar harvard lab, then i could move the earth. it's about let's give people a few of the basic tools that are safe and then we can kind of experiment and be curious.
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it's like creating a sand box for biology. people can try things and given these certain boundaries, we don't do anything with human cells, anything pathogenic is not happening and not allowed at biocurious. we have a safety board that reviews projects that come in. we have completely open lab like this. there aren't doors and locks. you can walk up and see what somebody is doing and ask them. we take safety very seriously and i think that the best proof of that is if somebody comes up with an experiment that we know is total crap and it's never going to work but safe, great, we've done our job. and that's the idea, we know this is never going to work but as long as it's safe that's exactly what biocurious is for, the sandbox where you can experience and ask questions. i've seen a huge transformation
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in people with everybody being happy and excited and then went home and that was it to, we did the powerpoint presentation and bring it to lab, hey, here is this experiment. i remember this guy, we were doing -- what was it? it was something with flowers and, you know, people are following instructions. this guy jumps in and turns red like the color of your shirt and everybody was like whoa, it was a mistake but for a moment everybody was, wow, it's a cool. the mistake wasn't a mistake, it was actually you got to try something and depending on what you thought working was it was pretty cool and it was something that was safe, you know, something that you did have the boundaries to try that. and that's why biocurious is a level one lab, constrained so
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that you can experiment and be curious. >> thanks. so chris, i'm going to take a stab at your question, actually, about whether the scientists who are in the front lines of developing these gene editing technologies, do they talk about what they're doing it and what it's for? you know, i think it's a complicated and important question and you can't generalize, some of the scientists that you saw on the slides, george i'm thinking of, he's an enthusiastic and george also starts every talk by putting a slide up that has, i don't know, 20, 25 corporate
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logos on it and says this is my conflict of interest statement and everybody law laughs and then we move on. and so it's a combination that can be very powerful and very poisonous between financial incentives, power incentives. wow, we are changing the world, we are changing life. curiosity and just, you know, i'm -- there's the mountain, i'm going to climb it. i don't think we can underestimate the -- the force and the dynamics of money, of commercial -- commercial forces that take on their own momentum and i really appreciate pete's analogy to the personal computer market and we can see how much that can change the world and how much technology really does effect how we -- you know, who we live, who lives, our circumstances of life and yet we
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don't have -- we don't really have common mechanisms of democratic participation and democratic control over the shapes of technologies and we don't have habits of mind where we think about what that might mean. and i think that's a very dangerous situation that we are in. i think it certainly was with the technologies that we see have so much control over our lives, the ones that are causing climate change that got started a couple hundred years ago, the information technology that have changed our lives in our own lifetimes and now the life sciences that are -- that are really poised to do that. and i think, you know, it's -- you know, now i want to come to tedo and the emphasis on curiosity, boy, i can really resinate with that and it's attractive with the idea of sandbox and idea of experimenting sounds a lot of
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fun, but i wanted to tell a story about a colleague of ours, he's a developmental biologist, stewart newman, when he was a kid in high school, he wanted to be physisits. he decided he was going to keep science and politics completely separate from each other and so he decided to be a developmental biologists and of course, nothing worked out the way he thought and now he's deeply involved in the politics of biology and the reason i tell the story to make it totally clear is we can't really separate that really well and when we focus so much on the
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coolness of being able to play in the sandbox of bio tp technology i get worried that unless there's also -- i think this is maybe what you were alluding to, chris, unless there's a very deliberate and very completely entwined effort to under the political forces, the commercial forces, the social and cultural forces in the larger world, then -- then those technological developments are going to run away with us and are going to be left in the sandbox wondering what hit them. in fact, what happened to steve that we never hear about, most of us because steve jobs took the mac and apple where he took it. >> yeah, i mean, hopefully we
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can move after away from bio ethics, one of the things is i'm reminding of 16 years ago when eduardo, brazilian artist did the glowing rabbit and he contracted a french laboratory to fuse jellyjelly -- jellyfish gene and he was playing with it. and, you know, they were all kinds of questions about bioethics. i don't know if i have a question with this, but i feel like there's a lot of pushing
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today with arts and and all these programs are programs in schools that are merging and i just wonder what's your opinion on that. >> anybody want to take a stab at that? yeah, i mean, i think it's really fascinating. so i scan the news every morning when i get into the office san josé has machine call -- parts, people are thinking of putting organisms in a mechanical way. heather has done a piece where she goes around new york city
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and collects gum off the street and tries to come up with type of what the person can look like and she has a gallery of faces. don't worry, we won't take your name off of it. maybe we can become just through a piece of gum on the sidewalk. i think that's fascinating, so yeah, i don't know. art goes in any direction. does anyone want to talk about art? no. okay. >> next question. >> i want to ask a direct question, maybe you can answer it because i'm getting a lot of comments and i'm not hearing a response to the comments necessarily and maybe there
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aren't questions to these comments, but is there a red line in terms of where you do not go beyond in terms of science and discovery? i mean, i can see how this new technology might offer a cure to cancer, for example, and would you want to draw a line that would prevent scientists to take a step beyond what you feel may be ethical where the rewards whether it's financial, political, whatever, the end of the day, it could be a cure for a very serious disease. so what is the rid line? and not the obama red line but a real red line. [laughter] >> the line that i draw personally is heritability.
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i have no way the person was, thought they were. and they are doing a lot of work on tumor analysis and all this stuff about genome of the cancer as oppose to the genome of the person and then if they can do an intervention there. ight might be -- it might be a way towards curing cancer which i think would be great. i prefer to keep it that one simple line because it is simple and i'm willing to give up -- i'm willing to disappoint a very few people who could not have related children without, you
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know, a genetic intervention of that kind. there are for few of them, not many and it would disappoint them. i don't think -- i think that the consequences of opening up the society to having heritable genetic alterations are wrong and potentially widespread and so -- that's a line you can draw. when it comes to modified fish, you know, glowing fish in tanks, glowing plants, i'm not sure about plants on the street. i don't like that myself. i think there are more much my caited -- complicated
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discussions that we could have. i don't have individuals, no matter how well intentioned they think they are run the rest of us. [inaudible] [inaudible] to add to what pete said, the line that pete just described, yes, to genetic modification in existing patients who can consent to it and all that, if it's safe and speciallyly accessible. not just pete but many scientists and the laws of dozens of countries they draw the line where pete described where we are not going to modify
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genes that are passed down to future children to future generations. the reasons are of what pete showed and not safe and jumping into the very last point, open it is door to, you know, new kinds of discrimination, new kinds of inequality, highhigh-tech genetics and that's not the road we wanting to down on. the most medical statement that it would prevent the birth of a child, to avoid the birth of a child with that condition, but as pete said, we can already do that in other ways. everyone who is at risk can have a healthy child and almost everyone like 99.99% can have a child who is both unaffected by
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that condition and who's related to both members of the couple, both parents, so we don't need it for medical reasons and the conclusion that many people come to, that, in fact, people whether they admit it or not, they really want enhancements. they want to have children and future generations who are somehow improved genetically and there we are in dangerous territory socially. [inaudible] >> i had a great statement earlier and i've kind of been thinking it over. i think your question was what
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is the role of curiosity, is it this thing that you can separate and is it this thing that can you separate technology from society? one of the my favorite excerpts from a book that really inspired me around the idea as a technologist i approve it had world for a long time, let's look at how technology changes society and what really opens my eyes is when i started thinking about the reverse. how does society change technology? how does our drive to find cures, how does that -- that's social, how does that drive the science that happens, the idea of a red line, how does that drive science. where i've seen at biocurious is curiosity at lab work and pricing questions, about who is involved in biology, what should
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be the role of experts, should we look the key and send all the information to experts and trust them to have it it. one of the experiments that come to mind is a lab we did, one test, this is a dna test. it's a test for breast cancer and, however, efficient it is, it doesn't matter. what matter is it's a 2,000 patented test. and what i can tell you and i wish you can experience, it costs about 20 cents of chemicals and it's something that would be illegal for us to sell as a product. it would be illegal but certainly a good case for infringing on the patent but we are able to do it as a lab and it's easy to take it from the intellectual idea and say i did that experiment and so bunch of
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other people, what's up with that, is that right, is that how things should be, how might they be different. it doesn't have to be this way. you have other people to say, involves in some ways it's good. so it's not just people testing themselves and trying to figure out what happens. so it sparks all these questions of curiosity around the science and around the bigger questions of science and society. and it really -- that bracket puts it in perspective. stuff you can order online and you have the right machines that used to cost a lot, tens of thousands, hundreds of millions of dollars and now it's stuff that you can buy on ebay and use and see how it works. how should that -- i think it's a really great example because it's contrast. here is this test that costs so little and it takes very little
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expertise but on the other side it's inaccessible if you don't have millions of dollars. scientific is a completely boring experiment, you're mixing chemicals together, not a big deal from a biology standpoint. it's a procedure that you uses for hundreds of other types of experiments. in this case, specific sequence of dna that you're looking at, has a lot of questions that are attached to it. and i think that's a great example of how this curiosity and bringing other people in to that discussion is pretty powerful. i think it's potentially a really great way to enhance science, is to bring people in and be curious about science, be curious about culture and society and be curious about start-ups, be curious about the philosophy behind whether this is right or wrong. so thank you for your question.
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>> pete, i hear your arguments about human editing. i want to challenge to say that maybe this is not where we want to draw the line in terms of ethics because in some ways we are falling victim of cognitive eve and human editing being hardline that we can draw. it's very easy for the public to look at that and form opinions. i kind of want to track some of the things that tedo and elliot were talking about. i have some specific questions for you. before i do that i'm going to make specific questions, one easy is relative. you make this claim about how genome is becoming easier and easier. but i think the point has to be -- i think the point has to be made that, you know, we run into significant challenges even making the smallest changes.
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so more evolved organisms are harder to edit and basically because they're dna is more protected. bacteria has dna unprotected, and i think there's a scale issue that is really hard to grasp when talking about changing bacteria. we think of bacteria as something we can change and modify and throw away. if something has changed our world it has been bacteria. our whole evolutionary has been driven by the changes of bacteria. the changes i have for you, elliot, is how do we -- how do we engage the public on the huge massive scale issues where something very simple becomes very complex in a global context, and the question that i have for you, tedo, where do we define the boundaries of safe, you talk about the simplest
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things that at least currently are not pathogenic but if you draw analogy to coding, computer programming is very simple, there's nothing dangerous about computer program but in the right hands, even the simplest tools, something not safe. how do we -- how do we navigate issues that are really difficult to the public -- the nonscientific public to think of and engage in? >> that's a wonderful question. i think what's interesting that a lot of the work done by scientists is trying to make the issue complex and superglobal, trying to make it simple by using metaphors and i think the metaphors can really be helpful for public buy-in by they also have and we talk about it, word
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proassessor, as easy as cut and paste, but it's not. [laughter] >> i want to bring it back to this point of gene for that, it's not computer code, we use computer code to think about it, right, to try to understand it but -- but there's so many levels of ambiguity and the fact that we still refer to 98% to have genome is junk dna is a problem that we are going to be cutting and pasting it. i think it's really hard, right, because you want public buy-in, at the same time i think it's an issue way bigger and the idea that we treat the public like they're stupid, right, and you have to have expertise to talk about stem and i love the fact
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that you're saying, some people hated their biology class, there is a sort of expertise involved. but, i mean, we can't keep referring to scientists as the people that we need to go out and tell the people what's up. i think what marcie is saying, new ways of thinking and shaping technology, that means taking the public seriously, that means recognizing that we all have expertise and influencing technology and science as well. you don't get expertise working at burger king, you are actually a part of this debate and you're important and your voice matters, we went to this summit in dc and amazing as it was, there was a certain point specially when the conversations edged more towards sociology, edged towards bioethics, we saw famous people literally rolling their eyes at us. [laughter]
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>> it was frustrating, but like, you know, what can you do? you really have to get away from this idea that public engagement means talking down to people about what science is and try to bring them in the conversation, science isn't about experts telling us what is safe specially when some of the risks are bigger, they are social and political risks. what does this mean on a global scale? i don't have an easy answer to how to convey to the public without metaphor that even we get caught using because we are trying to make it something that people can attach to like velcro, we need to complicate the metaphor, once we have people's attention, this isn't actually gene editing, right? >> so your question was --
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[inaudible] >> yeah. how do we deal with unknown unknown of synthetic biology? >> i can tell you how we do it at biocurious, like i said we have a safety board that reviews each project that comes in, bsl1 lab, biosafety level 1, very simple requirements. there's no -- nothing that's pathogenic, no human cells, nothing that can be harmful to humans and we look at all the projects that come in. i think looking in a different direction, to me safety is around bringing more people into the work and into the conversation, i think that the experiment that i talked about
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is a great example because it's not about bringing people in to be proscience or something like that. the word outreach is grabbing for people to like grab them with something and it's -- i think the opportunity is really to go to where people are and talk about topics that you're interested in. it's not about is science good or is science something that we should leave for other people, instead, here is this experiment, has to do with test for breast cancer, what do you think. let's get all of the information so you can wrap your head around it. gmo's, gmo's is a giant topic. to me that's where my concerns about safety come in, it's about what's unsafe when people aren't up to speed on this stuff and people don't feel like they can
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have an opinion and people feel that i can already like they're not -- we should leave this to other people. the public doesn't exist. it's you, it's you, it's you, it's you, it's you. there's no public out there. if you're not engaged in these conversations, that's it. if you are, great, but if you're not, then like come check out biocurious or start reading stuff online and talking to people about it. that's what's missing, is you and that's how things become safer and more-i think more engaging, we can have you more involved in the conversation. thank you for everybody asking me fantastic questions. they're very thoughtful questions. thank you.
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>> well, as to how to address the public, i'm going to come back to both of your comments. i think art is a really wonderful way of doing it because artists can take risks, they're not ruining their reputation which is a concern for a lot of scientists and can reach a general public in a large way in very creative ways and edward cax rabbit alba, that created so much discussion about what we are talking about here and he never even got the rabbit, it wound up dying in a lab in france, but the point being that what his piece became about was the discussion that happened based on what he did and there's a lot of artists
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that are working in that biofield that are doing controversial content, cloned on ear and mounted it on. you've got the scientists and the artists working together. and i think they can reach a very broad audience. i'm just kind of wondering what you all think of that because if it winds up dealing with very hard topics that we are talking about in a very public way but it does start a discussion that is sometimes hard to do in other venues. >> so one of the things that i was going to put in the slides that i did not had time for, i've got like 20 slides, i will get into that later. there's this one person ryan
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hammond, he's doing this thing called open gender course, i'm forgetting the name right now, sorry. he started in baltimore, a diy lab. and what he is doing is he's trying to draw a lot of attention the tests that you're talking about, he's saying what if we could not only bring queer lab to queer people. it's really interesting because he's doing a lot of things at once. i'm not even sure that if what he's trying to do is safe but what he's doing is genetically modifying tobacco plants and a lot of things he's engaging. he's got like his three-minute kick starter and history and all the knowledge and it's wonderful because he's really talking
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about what he's trying to do. i agree, privatize health care is crap and the amount of surveillance and control over bodies for hundreds of years and the forcible horemone therapies, or if people will know if their levels are getting in dangers zones. it raises a lot of questions for me and i appreciate how much work he has put into it. 20-minute video going through history and explaining why it's important. it's a question of like, okay, there's certain things that we can't control and there's certain things the market takes out of our hands, so sometimes you create something beautiful and then the market takes it over and it becomes something else. and so what can we do to make sure that even our best
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intentions, right, that there's some kind of containment strategies so that they don't kind of get ohway -- away from us is one of the things that i'm thinking about. it doesn't really speak to your question but it sort of provoke, when i got into this, it was marcie's fault, i went and read it, this is absurd as modern capitalism. doing human genetic engineering is just extreme of modern capitalism as we've seen it. we will point that out to
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people, maybe we will have a revolution. well, it didn't really work out yet. [laughter] >> you know what i mean? i think there were some truth to that. i think that we have to remember that all of the things are rooted in the social and financial setup that we've got including art. there's very little art nowadays that is not by financial considerations for pretty easy and valid reasons and i want to make sure that another thing gets in which is relate today money -- related to money and technology, we don't like saying for very good reason is it worth spending a million bucks to give someone a heart transplant, it's
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coming out of insurance, the government or even their own pocket. for that 10 million bucks you can treat 10,000 pregnant women, something, you could do major health interventions for a very large number of people and i think that's a really difficult problem to think about. we we in the society value the individual, i am an individual, i want to get treated if i'm ill, i was ill a couple of years. i got treated. it cost me directly practically nothing because i have good insurance but it cost the system quite a lot. now, i know people -- i've seen people in selenas who frankly
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whole families would have benefited from what was spent of me and i wasn't even dying. and i'm just tossing -- this is technically irrelevant but helps to grab everything in a society context. >> what we think to think about more in this conversation is helping doing more, a context and how it's implemented and how it's invented and applied, et cetera, and i wanted to sort of reinforce the point about claiming expertise back from the experts because i think that's at the the of this discussion and crucially in the realm of technology, obviously, there's things about it that's dangerous and we need to know about the limits on their own terms, but in just to point out things that are equally dangerous, like
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nuclear powpow. we were told it was safe and you don't need to meter it. another case in point is how much medical care changed because of the rise of women, organizing themselves to control their own health care over the last 50 years. these are incredibly good examples of society appropriating technical knowledge and in this case i think that's been really helpful. with that said, i wanted to put out -- there's a guy that left already which was putting the cancer magic bullet, the wholly grail of this technology, like there's always some version of that lurking out there. we will all live forever, fill
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in the blank. i think all the things are sort of sales pitches and that the reality of it is people that plan to make huge profits from it. i was very interested of the fact that you were able to duplicate this test essentially for nothing and i wonder what extent that brought the political conversation amongst the people in that room about how ridiculous how people control patents, so i think that's kind of an exciting implication hiding in there. the last thing to give you the possibility, let's push all the stuff aside for a moment, is there any reason why we should be excited about this stuff? really, what is your best case fantasy about where we are going with this because i can't think of one. ..
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that was a sprawl, do what you will. the german and i talked about that. scientifically, we can do the science in an hour. the science is, if you've done other experience mints you've seen the same science. were changing the letters around and now it's completely different. so it does bring up those questions, where comes up with the conclusion that what you have is a ridiculous system that comes up with different answers and different perspectives from, it costs money to develop these tests. it was 20 years ago that it
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was patented or it all the way to yes, it's ridiculous and this should be open source and what can we do to take it open source westmark maybe we can modify and also open source. that's something i did with pcr which is the preliminary chain reaction, it's a nobel prize-winning technology and every biotech lab in the world and originally it was a patented technology and when the patent expired in 2010 a friend and i started building ppi machines in our garage. at that point kick starter and it was a story that i got were fantastic. one of the things that comes to mind as i schoolteacher who, she wrote me and she said i had written all the people and kick starter and said, why did you buy one of these things? have you seen it? it's a blob of wires. it's just built together. why did you buy? somebody said you know, i'm just closing out my semester of high school biology and i
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bought a machine on ebay because i don't have much budget and when i went toturn it on , it broke because it was used machine and my students get to do pcr this year so my hope is by building this machine students get to do the experiment and students everywhere get to do the experiment. so i think whether it's a lab tool that kicks off the discussion around patents or an experiment on patents, that's where, all my knowledge is around patents and ethics and it comes to this perspective of biotech. my whole understanding of how to be democratic and how to vote comes from this one time when we were as california voting on whether gm owes should be labeled and or not and i would really as deep as i could . i read the bills and i've never done anything like that. i let read all this up and tried to figure it out. so i think that back to your question about what can be,
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what's promising about that, it's curiosity. curiosity is the what's promising. whether it's biotechnology or something else, what we are doing is culturing that curiosity. either it's about policies, whether it's about patents is , biotech or something that's completely unrelated to biotech and allows people to get interested and learn something because every piece of the universe is connected to every other piece of the universe. that's a butchering of a john muir quote but that's completely true. you can't separate society and technology. and what you can really do is embrace it so that it's the same thing in a lot of ways. it's all connected together. from my perspective, biotech and curiosity is a way that, that's the door for me and maybe some of the else it's something different for i think it always starts with some type of curiosity.
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>> so i struggle with this question right of what is the best case scenario for biotech and i think so much of it is and we are doing these best case scenarios or worst-case scenarios we got disconnected and we are kind of in this vacuum and thinking that the context will influence it somehow and i think, so the human genome project, right? you remember in 2000 you get on the stage and we were like, we are at 99.9 percent and everyone was so excited, right? finally we have all this commonality. it's so wonderful. what immediately happened is that we start mining that .01 percent and we call it race and we call it class and we caught sexuality and we call it everything. you know? so i don't know, for me i want to harness the passion and curiosity that i see growing in your bio curious labs and i want to turn it
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away from the cool stuff and the technology and all that stuff and i want to put it back on this idea of social problems and maybe it's not so much about the curiosity of what we can do or what we can fix and what we can make happen, maybe it's about the curiosity of what happens next. what are the consequences of our actions? so much of this word we are living in is so high risk and it's like, we are assuming that nine out of 10 startups fail and we don't even care because the 10 percent are going to be so amazing. but what about that 90 percent of what we're doing? i want to be curious about that. i want to be curious about how rapidly this neighborhood has changed in the last 10 years and how i can go to school three years in the tenderloin and watch gentrification happened block by block. so maybe it's that we're just focusing on the wrong things.
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maybe it's biotechnology could be really awesome pickup maybe we need to marry it to a lot of other things first. maybe this is like the original question you asked , like are we having these ethical, philosophical, should we do these conversations at the same time as we were experimenting in the lab? i think your space is lovely because it's exploring those connections on a day-to-day, sort of lab level. i don't think it's happening and if that's going to continue to happen it's going to be the elite who have those degrees that are making these tools and the pr people to sell those tools to the public. and that really scares me. if we look at the human genome project as an example, even though we can begin in this beautiful message from biotech, market forces , centuries of racism, these systems of privilege will warp out beauty so we need to really start looking at these social problems here in technology. we can solve so many of them with our humanity. we don't need a technical fix
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for climate change. we don't need a technote fix for global inequality. we couldliterally just do other things instead so . [applause] >> you want to ãno, okay. >> i kind of had come up with to conclude that you are brilliant. elliott, that's exactly what i was getting to as a layperson and an artist also. i was going to add to that, the concept of danger or safety within tinkering or playing or being curious with science and that maybe just like that metaphor with the small liberties we can move the world, i think the degree of danger really has only to do with the extent to which science is precisely separated as, not just
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sociology but also a greater vision as to what our purpose really is and one thing i wanted to add to that is one, the debater space that cultivates just a cool curiosity is awesome and also harvestable as you were saying to greater things. it is not a rare thing. my impression of very much like the american culture here is very much a glorious occasion of thebrilliant individual , this going where no man has gone before and finding things. that's more like, that is what i perceive the general culture to be. what is more rare and what i would love a space for is precisely the other thing, like those questions we never actually asked about okay, what do we, what will make life better?
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where do we actually want to go with this and this not be an afterthought for after you discover a new thing, what are the applications thereof but actually be something that is, that comes before and secondly, not only that, not being something that is perceived like a hindrance or a dampener or wet blanket. we could do so many cool, great things but bomber, all these ethical blocks, all these things that are keeping us from . sort of like this attitude is actually this profit driven world and all these kind of things have actually kept us from exploring incredible possibilities. we could infuse that curiosity precisely in this different way of approaching all this which is like, what new incredible societies could we get to if we
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harnessed our genius? in a purposeful way in that direction question mark you see what i mean? like turn it on its head. >> we are really running out of time but it but he has a last comment from the panel i would welcome it so last chance. short sweet comments. >> i totally get what you're talking about because i've seen it, i've seen it over and over again. the biggest opportunity for bio curious 2010 was getting equipment together, getting maybe $1 million worth of lab equipment we bought for $20,000. that was the opportunity. that opened up to let's say 1000 people, acouple dozen labs around the world. the biggest opportunities for biocurious now is , it's giving permission to other people to come in. it establishes people that are really curious and really driven 10 coming to biocurious and do experiences and they make their way there.
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what the opportunity is is to add the ability to bring in more people to say your permission not to lead. you have permission to ask a lot of questions. you have permission to not have a project. i think that's the next step for bio curious is more around the basic classes, basic education and bringing in different people who have different insights into biotech and opinions on things that might involve biotech but aren't that top layer of people that are so driven there going to drive two hours to come to a microscopic project. it's amazing to see and now the opportunity seems to grow beyond that to really bring in people that otherwise are kind of like, i don't know where i fit in but if you give them a place and a way to have conversations about that they start to ask really good questions so i get what youare seeing .
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it's something we've learned through our experience is that that's the biggest opportunity for us. >> okay, i'm going to call it a night. tito jankowski, elliott hosman and pete shanks. thanks for c-span coming to film it. everybody will get to see it and come back again in two weeks, we have a discussion on keeping the oil in the soil with antonio jarosz and i'm forgetting who else is on the panel but we will have a good discussion that night. leo salazar from amazon watch will be here as well and we look forward to basically being in these kind of conversations on an ongoing basis so if any of you have ideas for future panels and discussions talk to me. we're looking for new ideas for the paul talks, etc. and we look forward to resuming this again because it's a discussion that's not going to end in our lifetimes obviously so thank you very much. [applause] >>.
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[inaudible conversation] >> president obama isn't flip michigan to meet with officials and residents about water contamination in the city. he will speak at flint northwestern high school. see that live on our companion network c-span at 4
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pm eastern. and at 5 pm, ohio governor john kasich was dropping out of the race for president declaring donald trump's path to the republican nomination. governor kasich canceled a fundraiser trip to head back to the ohio state capital of columbus where he will hold a news conference at 5 pm eastern. see that live on c-span. >> madam president .we proudly get 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states.
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>> this weekend the c-span cities tour hosted by our charter and time warner cable partners takes you to san bernardino california to explore the history and literary culture of this city located east of los angeles. on december 2 of 2015, working people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the inland regional center in san bernardino. we talk with congressman pete angular about the attack and recovery efforts by the community. his district includes the inland regional center. >> when we talk about terrorism, when we talk about the fight against terror it isn't something that an abstract anymore. it's something that across this country you know, means something because this is a big city here in san bernardino that was attacked. this could happen anywhere. >> we will also speak with san bernardino citycouncilman john w about establishing a permanent memorial to the victims of the attack . >> it provides a sense of remembrance . it highlights their lives and
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what they contributed to our local community and certainly that always will be near and dear place for us, a place of consolation so we are thinking of serenity garden, a prayer chapel of some sort in and around this area. >> on book tv we learn about the family of wyatt earp alternate teller. his book the earth plan talks about your notoriety and their connection to san bernardino the connection the herbs have to san bernardino county, goes back to about 1852 when the father of wyatt earp who was the most well-known of herbs, his name was nicholas for. he was, basically left his family temporarily, they were living in monist illinois. he heard about the gold rush in northern california. he came back, went back to the midwest. he ventured down to southern california and passed through
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the san bernardino valley and he vowed that one day he would come back to san bernardino. >> and on american history tv, we visit the san bernardino history and railroad museum and talk about the importance of the railroad to san bernardino with alan bohn, sanbernardino historical society vice president. located in the santa fe depot, the museum contains many objects related to the city's railroad history. >> construction was completed in 1918 . it replaced a wooden structure that was approximately 100 yards east of here that burned in 1960 why the depot was built a lot larger than was needed is because they decided to house the division headquarters at this location at that time . >> watched the c-span cities tour saturday at noon eastern on c-span twos book tv and sunday afternoon at two on american history tv on c-span three. the c-span cities tour working with our cable affiliate and visiting cities across the country.
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>> next on c-span two, conversation on controversial oncology campuses and the first amendment. educators and lawyer discussed political speech, hate speech and whether speech can be regulated. >> hello. we've got a great panel for you. we have susan cruz who has a background in short film and documentaries and she decided to go to law school to study the ways that constitutions protect filmmakers. she did a free-speech fellowship at the thomas jefferson center or the protection of free expression. she's also had some very cool civil-rights internships including one with the transgender legal defense and education fund as well as the aclu lgbt and aids project and currently she is with the foundation for individual rights in education. professor kerry brian or kb as i am told earlier is
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professor of higher education at the university of mississippi. his areas of expertise are college and university rock law, finance and public policy. he is a member of all kind of things, he's on the authors committee of less education law recorder, the book review editor for the journal of life education, the contributor editor to the higher education law bar and a member of the editorial board of the journal of cases in education and he's worked as a higher education policy analyst for the florida legislature and has a recent associate for the florida code secondary education landing commission and we also have len niehoff and a council to a law firm with lots of names area he is the author of numerous publications in the field of first amendment law and
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higher education law and for more than 30 years he had has litigated cases on behalf of immediate entities and colleges and universities . and he got his ba and jd from the university of michigan and study at the economic medical theological seminary. so each panelist will speak for about 12 minutes. i'll ask a couple of questions then it will be up to you all to follow up with more questions. >> good afternoon and thank you for inviting me to participate in this important symposium and for including me in such distinguished company. when accepted the invitation i didn't know that i would be the follow-up speaker to a charming, brilliant living jurisprudential legend and had i known, i certainlywould have declined . [laughter] so i view in part my job now as to lower your expectations and i think you all agree i will do it so i
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want to use as a launching pad for my remarks the 1989 federal district court decision in doe versus university of michigan as i follow and all of you probably know, dole is the seminal case on campus speech codes and it has recently passed its 25th anniversary. i thought this symposium might be a good occasion to look back, see where we were, assess where we are and ask whether we've made any progress in the way in which we think about and discuss these issues. spoiler alert, the news is not good. as you will recall, a federal court, found unconstitutional a policy that the university of michigan had adopted in response to a number of racially charged incidents on campus. as legal precedents, i don't think that doe actually offers many extraordinary insights. the policy was pretty clearly overbroad and vague and it was dead on arrival at the federal courthouse.
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we don't need to perform any elaborate autopsies today to confirm the fact or the cause of death. so why should we care about don't? i think there's several reasons. first, doe was an early excursion into territories and tensions that have now become familiar to us. the case was therefore decided before these controversies had grown and crusted with some of the framing and language and concepts that burden them today. second, although the university policy in doe was badly flawed, it seems clear that the school acted in good faith, at least i believe so. the issue the university face were real, significant and they demanded some kind of response. similarly it seems clear to me to the the plaintiffs in that case acted in good faith. if i had been teaching at the university of michigan when
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the challenged policy had been in place, i would have had concerns to pick up these days, when those on each side of the debate are so eager to caricature those on the other as clueless or even villainous, it seems refreshing to consider a case where i think both sides had a point. third, the passing of 25 years provide an occasion for calling the question, are we thinking about these issues now better than we were thinking about them then? it does seem fair to expect some forward movement over a quarter century have we seen any? i have three feces. the first is since doe was decided we had indeed seen significant change in how we think about and discuss the conflicting values of speech and equality on campus. the second, is that the change is overwhelmingly for the worse.the third is that things are unlikely to get better anytime soon. it is a grim and discouraging
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assessment that i bring you today. nor is it likely to win me any friends or perhaps any additional invitations to symposia . because as you will see i believe the blame for this situation lies with both sides of the debate . i think everyone has had a turn at the switch in creating this train wreck . i think everybody has tossed some on this dumpster fire. before we get too far into our current disarray though, i'd like to remind you of what happened in doe
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declared open season. the university's president issued a formal statement condemning the incident. the state legislature held hearings about racism on campus. forty-eight witnesses testified about racial tensions and issues. in response, the university response, the university set about drafting and anti- harassment policy. the final version of which reached broadly applying to classrooms, libraries, laboratories, recreation and study centers. in these areas were subject to discipline on a number of grounds including engaging in behavior that stigmatized or mick to my someone based on a characteristic like race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. sanctions dependent on the gravity of the offense. the university also issued a guide, and it purported to
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be the underlying policy. some was protected pretty clearly under the first amendment and some did not fall within the broad language of the underlying policy. at the time the policy was adopted, our anonymous plaintiff was a psychology graduate student at the university who taught classes that explored controversial theories that he worried some students would us sexist. concerned that his teaching might violate the policy, he sued. he was represented by a law professor. judge ebert called who provided over the case concluded the policy was unconstitutional and overly broad and agreed a number of
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critical terms in the document rendered the policy unconstitutionally vague. the university withdrew some provisions of the policy and actually withdrew the guide in its entirety, but it would be fair to say that these maneuvers did not impress judge cohen. indeed, there were a number of grievances with the university and how the case was litigated, and the catalog them twice, once at the end and again and allow review article he later wrote. one writes, ironic toward the end suggesting that michigan might have learned a great deal by looking to the experiences of another great university, yale. i am not sure today anyone on either side of the debate thinks the perfect solutions to these problems reside in new haven.
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but here is the peemack. although he found the policy unconstitutional and had a variety of grievances with the institution, his opinion reflects genuine respect for the university's concerns, for the complexity of the problem before it, indeed, the 1st, indeed, the 1st sentence, this case that strikes down one of the policies reads, it is an unfortunate fact of our constitutional system that our ideals are often in conflict. the difficult and sometimes painful path is to mediate the appropriate balance between these two competing values. in the same spirit, the opinion concludes by recognizing the university's obligation to ensure equal educational opportunity to all students. and by expressing sympathy with that goal. even the lawyer who represented though voiced similar views and the law review article he published about the case. look for a minute that where we have been left.
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it acknowledges the value of free expression and equality.equality. it recognizes that collisions between these two values were inevitable. it understood that mediating conflicts was hideously complicated. they grasped that people of good faith would make mistakes and trying to work through tensions. and in many respects this was the perfect starting point for a civil, informed, respectful, productive dialogue toward the end of a dramatically improved environment. well, so much for that. so where we now? this arose from concerns about a racially hostile campus environment. some data strongly suggesting the situation nationally has grown considerably worse. rose dramatically from 2009
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to 2014, and studies estimate only about 13 percent of such incidents are even reported. furthermore, studies suggest furthermore, studies suggest the problem has grown worse as affirmative-action has become less available and as campus diversity has suffered as a result. in any event there is certainly an increased awareness. socialsocial media has facilitated constant and widespread communication about these experiences. consider the relatively well-known #dbu and movement were black students use twitter to describe the challenges they face on challenges to come on campus. this increased consciousness has to do the shifting understanding of harassment, discriminate opposition, and marginalization happen. we have a better sense now


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