Re: MEDIA, UK: how to build a human

From: J Corbally (
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 18:19:41 MST

>Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 09:27:05 -0000
>From: "Alex Ramonsky" <>
>Subject: Re: MEDIA, UK: how to build a human
>I was wondering when someone would notice this...half expected to see some
>more of you guys on it...The UK media does this: it chucks things at people.
>In at the deep end, a little like the style of 'Great Mambo Chicken' did way
>back whenever. Be assured the program isn't aimed at's aimed at
>the average British person's knowledge of science...and more. It's going to
>cause as many endless debates as GM food did last year.

I've seen it and checked out the website, but I won't be able to add to the
online debate until tomorrow. Gotta gather my thoughts....

>But with one
>essential difference...this programme comes out apparently firmly on the
>positive side of new tech. And, as you say, at least some of the
>'spokespersons' know what they're on about.

Very true. I was expecting the usual hatchet job, wondering when the
"buts" would appear, followed by the obligatory spiel from the
Eco-spokesperson or Right Reverand Killjoy. But they stayed very much
within the topics presented, and very much focussed on possible benefits.

>The debates are going to be heated and over the top for about six months,
>after which things will settle into the traditional British habit of
>- -so-who-cares?' Meaning, simply, that people on the whole will forget about
>it all again.

Heh heh, that about sums it :)

>But which is the best tactic here? -Any publicity is good publicity?
>Or -stay out of the news; stay out of trouble?
>What thinkest thou?

Publicity is in general good, provided it is reasonably balanced. Those
who support or oppose it aren't likely to change sides anytime soon. But
it's the middle ground people who will make the difference, and your
average middle grounder, given a little time, will be wanting the new tech
for him/her self.

Most people, when it gets right down to it, will pick life over death, and
the argument that they are stealing resources from some kid in the third
world will be so distant from their frame of reference that it'll be
ineffective. Most aren't too worried if it steals it from their
neightbour, let alone someone half a world away. They won't buy that
argument in relation to the BMW they just bought or their new villa on the
Riviera, and it'll be much harder again to make a direct connection between
them living longer and some claimed side effect on the worlds poor.

As I've said before, people don't yet know how "handy" extended health/life
will be. But safe and effective near term products would do a whole lot to
help that. Trouble is, how long will they take to appear?

I think, overall, the programme presented genetic technology as an exciting
new thing with much promise for the average middle grounder. And that is
exactly the sort of exposure needed.


BTW, it's good to see Nick Bostroms' excellent item on LE again on the BBC
website! I remember seeing the original showing on the "Heart of the
Matter" programme a few years back.
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and
crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures
to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
-Q, Star Trek:TNG episode 'Q Who'

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:38 MST