It is obvious today that technology, science and sports are making incredible advances in helping athletes and teams reach peak performance. Now comes news that work is being done to create synthetic DNA from the genome and thus conceivably create an entire synthetic human being. With that comes the idea that the perfect athlete can be created from a synthetic human genome. This raises many intriguing questions and some of which are not good.
Recently, on May 10, a group of elite research professionals and business leaders met at Harvard to discuss the latest developments in human gene sequencing and were in agreement that there is the distinct possibility that a completely synthetic human genome within the next decade.
It is estimated that the cost of developing each little bit of a genetic code could be done for a of cost roughly $90 million – pretty reasonable, seeing how invaluable life itself is. And if a human can be built entirely from scratch, making that human perfect at something, such as sports, seems like a logical step in the futuristic direction. All of this is to say that the artificial generation of a perfect athlete doesn’t seem nearly as far-fetched as it once did.
But that begs the question: Do we really want perfect synthetic athletes? Probably the biggest allure of watching sports is the story behind the story, or the human interest side of watching our favorite athletes or routing against our bitter rivals. With “perfect” artificial athletes it would create a very different, but interesting dynamic. Imagine 2 teams of synthetic athletes competing against one another, with formations, alignments and plays being called not by real human coaches, but by analytical driven smart devices. Some would argue that is already happening today on many gaming devices. This would be no gaming device though. The synthetic super athletes would be very real and playing in real stadiums in front of real crowds.
A more likely scenario whereby real human athletes have artificial body parts like knees, shoulders or elbows that are far superior to their original limbs. The Six Million Dollar Man from back in the day maybe coming sometime in the future, but the price tag will be more like $60 Million.
What I feel will happen is the governing bodies of all the major sports will have to closely monitor and regulate the use of artificial humans or real humans with artificial limbs and body parts. Probably there will be separate leagues for real and for artificial athletes. It would just seem to odd or unreasonable at this time to see a mix between the 2. Plus we have seen the uproar that is caused when real athletes today get busted for using performance enhancing drugs. Most of us still want to see “real” athletes compete at the highest levels as naturally as possible.
So be prepared that sometime within the next 20-30 years artificial or cybernetic humans we will be common place and we as humans will adapt to them just like we have adapted to so many other significant changes we are confronted with.