I recently had a fascinating conversation with Dr. Steven Hsu, theoretical physicist and serial entrepreneur, about computational genomics and genetic engineering.
There were a number of really interesting takeaways which I think would be of interest to LWians.
- Apparently, genetic engineering in the form of embryo selection is very far along. They can already select for things like eye color and propensity for diseases. The only reason they're not selecting for intelligence yet is because there is such a strong stigma and because there's not currently enough labeled training data for the algorithms.
- The algorithms involved are simpler than you might think, it mostly appears to be basic regression models regularized with LI penalties (as those handle sparse data much better)
- Dr. Hsu does think it's worth worrying about this technology's potential to worsen inequality, and we kick the ethics of that around for a little bit.
- Epigenetics plays less of a role in determining life outcomes than many of us have been led to believe.
- We also discuss whether AGI or genetic engineering will lead to the first superhuman intelligence.
Hope you enjoy it!