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Stars, Cells, and God | CRISPR Update and Two Noteworthy AI Finds

Join Fazale “Fuz” Rana and Jeff Zweerink as they discuss new discoveries taking place at the frontiers of science that have theological and philosophical implications, including the reality of God’s existence. CRISPR Update In December of 2023, the FDA approved two revolutionary new treatments for the blood disorders sickle cell anemia and ß-thalassemia, both based on gene-editing technology. This approval represents an important milestone for gene therapy and the treatment of thousands of genetic disorders. It also serves as a stepping stone for human enhancements and adds to the legitimacy of transhumanism. In this episode, biochemist Fuz Rana describes these new gene therapies and discusses the ethical issues connected to them. He also offers a Christian response to the prospects of human enhancements and transhumanism. Two Noteworthy AI Finds As the field of artificial intelligence (AI) advances, research continues to show both the promise and peril of using AI. For example, most AIs work well within a single domain (e.g., classifying signs, responding to language, playing a game). Recent work in game play resulted in an AI capable of mastering multiple games that in the past required different approaches. However, the AI (called Student of Games) mastered multiple different games using a single algorithm. This development represents a significant step (the promise) on the journey to make an artificial general intelligence. Yet, other research demonstrates that a wide variety of AIs are highly vulnerable to malicious attacks. Specifically, the algorithms AIs use to recognize images are easily exploited and manipulated (the peril). In this episode, astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink explains the breakthrough and why a Christian perspective is needed when considering such advances. PODCAST LINKS: FDA Approves First CRISPR Editing Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease Sickle Cell CRISPR ‘Cure’ Is the Start of a Revolution in Medicine Additional Resources: Fazale Rana, Humans 2.0 PODCAST LINKS: Student of Games: A Unified Learning Algorithm for Both Perfect and Imperfect Information Games AI Networks Are More Vulnerable to Malicious Attacks Than Previously Thought QuadAttack: A Quadratic Programming Approach to Ordered Top-K Attacks