Remember, the catchy old Burger King commercial about “Have it your way”(where you can order the burger any way you want, no problem!)?
Now, we are reaching the point with DNA testing, where we can have it your way and order up babies the way you want them.
According to the Wall Street Journal, by getting genetic profiles of egg or sperm donors, you can search for a match with the genetic profile of the would-be parent to have a higher likelihood of desired traits (e.g. blue eyes) or lower likelihood of undesirable ones (e.g. heart disease).
23andMe, a DNA company (note: humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes) that sells home testing kits for $99, has patented a process for analyzing DNA and providing information on health and ancestry, and this could be used for system screening of egg or sperm donors through a tool called a “Family Traits Inheritance calculator.”
Calculating better babies by choosing desired matches at fertility clinics is only steps away from actually making marriage decisions based on genetic make-up–in that scenario love is only one factor in choosing a mate and maybe not the primary any longer.
The idea being to screen potential couples before marriage to yield “the best” potential children–smartest, athletic, good-looking, etc.
There are already genetic banks for screening and capturing genetic information on potential couples to avoid genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and others.
While bioengineering children for better health is one thing, creating a blue-eye and blond-haired race was the Nazi’s concept of an Aryan nation as a superior race that would dominate the world.
The ethical questions of how to screen out illness without creating a situation like in China under a one-child policy, where male offspring are considered superior and so we proverbially tilt the odds in favor of what we think is best even if it may not really be.
Neither a homogeneous superior race, nor a customized bioengineered baby is the answer–rather, we need to value healthy diversity in children, where each is a miracle and a blessing in their own right. 😉
Cloud computing is bringing us closer than ever to providing IT as utility, where users no longer need to know or care about how the IT services are provided, and only want to know that they are reliably there—just like turning on the light.
This rent-an-IT model of cloud computing can apply to any portion of an organization’s IT architecture, as follows:
Service architecture—for application systems, there is “software as a service” (SaaS) such as Google Apps suite for office-productivity or Salesforce.com for customer relationship management. And for developing those systems, there is “platform as a service” (PaaS) such as Google Apps Engine (GAE) or the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE).
Information architecture—for storing the data used in systems, there is “storage as a service” such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3).
Technology architecture—for hosting systems, there is “infrastructure as a service” such as Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
The big advantage to using hosted IT or cloud computing is that it provides on-demand information technology—again like your electricity usage; the juice is there when you need it. Additionally, by outsourcing to specialist IT providers, you can generally get more efficiency, economy, and agility in providing IT your organization.
Of course, there are challenges that include ownership, security, privacy, and a cultural shift from a vertical (stovepiped) to horizontal (enterprise and common services) mindset.
From my perspective, cloud computing is a natural evolution in our IT service provision:
At first, we did everything in-house, ourselves—with our own employees, equipment, and facilities. This was generally very expensive in terms of finding and maintaining employees with the right skill sets, and developing and maintaining all our own systems and technology infrastructure, securing it, patching it, upgrading it, and so on.
So then came, the hiring of contractors to support our in-house staff; this helped alleviate some of the hiring and training issues on the organization. But it wasn’t enough to make us cost-efficient, especially since we were still managing all our own systems and technologies for our organization as a stovepipe.
Next, we moved to a managed services model, where we out-sourced vast chunks of our IT—from our helpdesk to desktop support, from data centers to applications development, and even to security and more. But apparently that didn’t go far enough, because we were still buying, building, and maintaining our own IT instances for our organization, but now employing call centers and data centers in far-flung places.
And finally, the realization has emerged that we do not need to provide IT services either with our own or contracted staff, but rather we can rely on IT cloud providers who will manage our information technology and that of tens, hundreds, and thousands of others and provide it seamlessly over the Internet, so that we all benefit from a more scalable and unified service provision model.
The cloud computing model takes the CIO/CTO and their staffs out of the fire-fighting mode of IT management and into the drivers seat for managing IT strategically, innovatively, and with a focus on the specific mission needs of their organization.