CRISPR-Cas 9 Check out this TED Talk video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdBAHexVYzc Commentary: I’ve been fortunate enough to work for two local universities in recent years. One is (obviously) WCU. The other is Temple. Both fine institutions. One of the courses I taught was to host a series of weekly lectures by various industry pundits, and resident professors. One such professor came to my attention via a colleague in the Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) department. It was not unusual for colleagues within the department to recommend various speakers for different reasons. In some cases, the recommended speakers “made perfect sense” – e.g., representatives from Microsoft; representatives from various companies seeking to establish a recruiting channel with the university’s students; etc. In one case, the recommended speaker struck me – at first blush – as unusual. The recommended speaker was a Professor of Chemistry at the university. I confess that I found myself wondering what would a chemistry professor have to offer to students of CIS that would resonate with them? Nonetheless, I reached out to the professor, and arranged a slot on the calendar for him to present. Out of respect for the professor, I never inquired as to what he would be presenting. I trusted he knew what he was doing. Eventually the day of his lecture session rolled around. And what an amazing day and lecture it turned out to be. The topic: CRISPR-Cas9. A technology. A ground-breaking technology. Aside from the technology itself, and the potential applications of the technology, what struck me as brilliant was the way in which the professor wove the theme of “coding” into this lecture. Obviously, the students in the course were familiar with coding – i.e., computer programming – but I seriously doubt if they had previously linked the concepts of coding as known in their world to those in the CRISP-Cas9 world. One of the professor’s messages was, “It’s coding”. No more, no less. In addition to introducing all of us to this amazing technology, the professor also challenged us to think about the implications – ethical, legal, political, moral – of the technology. His assertion was that whether we know about it or not, and whether we like it or not, “the genie is out of the bottle” as regard to CRISPR-Cas9 technology. He urged to be aware, to think about, and to assert ourselves in terms of helping shape the future of its application and use.Assignment You too may be wondering how this topic relates to Management Information Systems. After all, you certainly didn’t sign up for a course in biology or biochemistry. Fully understood. However, I urge you to consider the following:When the afore-mentioned professor asserted that “coding is coding”, and this (CRISPR-cas9) is “just” coding, what was he referring to?What are the commercial (business) implications of the CRISPR-cas9 technology?CRISPR-cas9 technology relies very heavily on so-called “Big Data Analytics”. Why might that be the case?What are the ethical, legal, political, and moral implications of technologies such as CRISPR-cas9, and those associated with it – e.g., “Big Data Analytics”; cybersecurity; etc.?History is rich with discoveries via basic research that while being conducted unearths unexpected knowledge with the potential to change humankind. Specifically, with Management Information Systems (MIS), how should society ensure that such basic research continues? Should it continue? If not, why not? If so, why? And who should pay for it?
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