Weekly Brief: I Was Made For Lovin’ You, Baby?

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Attention anyone single (and looking to Kris Kringle) this Christmas! A new dating app, DigiD8, is on the horizon and it’s somewhat… unnerving, to say the least. Harvard academic George Church proposes to match users based on their DNA in an attempt to eliminate genetic diseases. Dystopian enough for you? What about when I tell you that the proposed app would screen out potential partners that have the ‘wrong DNA’. Freaky.

Church claims that the app (once it is created… it’s all just wishy-washy hypothesis for now) could have huge positive implications for society. It could, allegedly, prevent people with similar genetic mutations from matching, which could drastically reduce the number of people with hereditary diseases. He likens the app to genetic counselling, which many couples already undergo. While genetic counselling influences whether a couple tries for a baby, DigiD8 would stop them from meeting in the first place! 

Sounds great, right? No, I’m not buying it. Dating sucks enough and now this? While the app would have advantages (who wouldn’t want to eliminate Cystic Fibrosis?) it’s a very, very slippery slope and could easily be mishandled. The idea that someone’s DNA can somehow make them incompatible with someone else, regardless of their personality and behaviour, is pretty nauseating. Surely there’s a lot more to a relationship than being DNA compatible with someone, and aren’t we being casual about something that’s tantamount to eugenics? Also, who in their right mind would give their DNA away to a dating app in the first place? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Big Tech anywhere NEAR my DNA. What do you reckon?

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