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by Roger Bourke White Jr., started January 2016
This 18 Feb 17 Economist article, Gene editing, clones and the science of making babies Ways of reproducing without sexual intercourse are multiplying. History suggests that they should be embraced, is right on this topic.
From the article, "IT USED to be so simple. Girl met boy. Gametes were transferred through plumbing optimised by millions of years of evolution. Then, nine months later, part of that plumbing presented the finished product to the world. Now things are becoming a lot more complicated."
These are notes that I wrote up while writing this story.
o This needs to reflect accommodating many different lifestyles into the club environment. But each club is selective, each is supporting a distinctive mix of lifestyles. Being selective is what makes each club attractive to "certain types". Each club offers its own environment. There are many kinds of clubs because many different lifestyles is what makes them a popular alternative to marriage or just raising a kid alone with cyber help.
o Club by-laws: She will have to live here for two months on a trial basis before she can start her child. This is to make sure she can acclimate to this child-thick environment, and this specifically Hannaford environment. Both she and the other club members must agree that she will be a good fit.
o Related, who can't get into the club, and why? What is crossing the line as far as this club is concerned. [Who is acceptable and who is not will be the big, big difference between various baby clubs.]
o Boy friends who are tagging along. Also other friends. [How do married friends of these women interact with the club? How do their kids interact?]
o Who can come visit? Who can't? What are "plagues", as in contagions, that must be kept out. [physical and ideological]
o Hyper ambitious type [who is doing what?] What do they see in being part of this club, not some other?
o Tender Snowflake, as in, baby-crazy teenager who is into following her instincts. ["I want a baby and I want it now."][is she a hopeful? Does she get in?]
o Another baby crazy type, this time one who wants lots and lots of kids.
o Refugees from somewhere? (some other social justice "poor people") How does the club deal with these. This is a fight between keeping things pure and social justice.
o What makes this Baby Club different from others ("we are exclusive... er... distinctive because we...") Conversely, what are the residents envious of in other "better" clubs ("we'd like to have...")
o Who does she meet that left the club? And they left because...[reasons]
Mildred says, "Let me emphasize that we frown on... unusual children in this club. We want all our children here to be fully normal."
"You can enhance your child, but only with government-approved techniques, and club-approved techniques. Needless to say we've had some bad cases. They caused a lot of problems for a while. We don't want to have any more similar cases pop up."
"Can you give me some specifics?"
"Oh, you can find specifics on what we permit in the club by-laws. If you want specifics on the problems the children caused... that will come with club gossip, if you choose to join us.
But one example of a problem case that got high profile was [name]."
"Ouch! I remember reading about that."
"Exactly! Not the kind of story we want being told about our club. Once is one too many already."
o What are the obstacles to overcome?
oo What are Janalee's obstacles? This being 2050, is her job pressuring her to get into motherhood as well?
oo Is club in trouble? Spending too much? (not likely with cyber oversight) Personality problems? HOA-style problems? (community too prescriptive)
o What are Janalee's choices in fertilizing, incubating and child raising? The Baby Club is obvious for child raising. Does it have classes for fertilizing and incubating choices? What will be different between Baby Club advice, her cyber muse's advice, and urban legend advice?
Sperm from: boyfriend, celebrity, or "sperm celebrity"? Advanced options: gene edited, perhaps by cyber. Even more advanced options: from girlfriend, self, and really advanced cyber modified -- so modified that no single human can claim to be the originator.
This "where sperm comes from" topic is likely to be a constant hot one. And the choices will keep growing from year to year. There will also be lots of Curse of Being Important mixed in with this choice making. This means lots of prescription and urban legend mixed in. What will be different between Necessity class and Ambitious class choices? What will be cheap and what will be expensive? And, of course, what will be "crossing the line"?
What editing choices will be available? The simplest and straightforwardest will be avoiding simple genetic defects such as Down's syndrome and the many "fragile X" problems.
How will restoring Vitamin C metabolism fit in? This should be a simple fix -- unless there are regulator genes that need to be restored as well as fixing the Vitamin C maker gene.
What else will people want more of, or less of, in their metabolism? How will genetics fixing and wearables adjusting coordinate with each other?
After metabolism adjusting come more complex changes -- things such as changing the size and functions of organs. An example of organ fixing that comes to mind is making all human eyes work well, as in, eliminating lots of vision problems.
How will genetics and fashion mix? What will be choices available to make a person more beautiful? Skin texture comes to mind. What about personality choices to make a person more attractive? Or, instead of attractive, make them more productive? What kinds of genetic choices can support dilettante aspirations?
o What about wearables? How will those influence the various stages of this "wondrous event". Likewise, how will her cyber muse get involved?
The wearables can cut down things such as morning sickness and mood swings. They can also monitor metabolism to make dietary suggestions. How will their suggestions conflict with faddish dietary suggestions? Something such as weight gain, for instance? How much is OK by wearable standards, how much is OK by social prescriptionist standards? How much is OK by fashion standards? How much is OK by baby club standards?
o What are abuses, or "crossing the line" choices? What are prescriptionists complaining about -- these being mostly the old-scold, feminist prescriptionist types? What lines does the Baby Club draw -- these can be quite different, and capricious?
Much related to this is how urban legend mixes in on this topic. There will be a lot, and some of it will have sharp social teeth.
And... how is all this kept simple for those who just want to have a baby and raise a child?
o Who decides what the simple solutions are? Government of some sort? Social media of some sort? Media experts of some sort? AI systems of some sort?
o What rituals are supported as part of the simple solutions? The model for this is current US health care and all the rituals that insurance companies come up with as part of their health insurance programs.
o This KISS version is likely to be a whole lot like a cuddly kitten raising version, only with a human child taking the place of a cuddly kitten -- the cyber will take care of the hard stuff, and the human will take care of the cuddly stuff.
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