Society Tech

Gene Genie


With genetic enhancements and robotic prosthetics becoming more viable, humans may soon see a new wealth class: the cybourgeoisie. How beautifully ironic that the curiosity that makes us distinctly human may one day lead to alterations that move us beyond the point of being recognizably human. It’s like we’ve opened Pandora’s box, but the box is filled with robot arms and streams our Pandora radio station.


Although the possibility for transhumanism is rising, how many Americans are willing to turn themselves into Jax from "Mortal Kombat"?* Fifty-seven percent of Americans would not replace one of their body parts with a robotic version even if a safe, effective, and cost-free option existed. Good luck protecting the Earthrealm without robotic limbs!


Among those willing to go under the knife, the three most sought-after replacement parts are legs (38%), eyes (27%), and arms (25%). At least when this inevitably turns into a robot apocalypse, a lot of people will be able to quickly flee the carnage. A plurality of Americans who are unwilling to undergo surgery refuse because they see it as unnatural (27%) or they are uncomfortable changing their body (21%).


Support for pre-birth gene editing (31%) is even lower than robotic body part replacement. Compared to their seniors, both Millennials and Gen Z (42% among each) are significantly more likely to support parents having the right to edit their future children’s genetic traits. After seeing all the rips and tears Millennials prefer in their jeans, the future children of America may be in jeopardy.


When it comes to having their own genes edited, younger generations are also more willing to make alterations. While most Boomers wouldn’t alter their genetic code (60%), a majority of Millennials (59%) and Gen Z (68%) express a willingness to embrace this technology. Maybe someone should tell Boomers they won’t actually need to learn HTML to have their genetic code edited.


Bar plot showing which genetic modifications each generation is willing to embrace


*Darth Vader from “Star Wars”
*Major Motoko Kusanagi from “Ghost in the Shell”
*RoboCop from “RoboCop”