by Grace aka costofcollege
What If Tinder Showed Your IQ?
A report from a future where genetic engineering has sabotaged society.
As genetic science becomes more precise, the potential for editing your unborn child’s genes to select for higher intelligence is growing. With that, however, will come a cultural shift in how we value intelligence—and how attractive it is when seeking out a potential partner. Parents will have to grapple with not just their unborn child’s chances of being smart, excelling in school, and getting a job, but also with their chances of getting a date.
We imagine a future where dating apps like Tinder don’t just let users judge others based on pictures of themselves, but on their intelligence scores, too.
Although this article is about an imaginary future, it’s possible to imagine the serious downsides of reprogenetics.
But there was a catch. There was always a catch. The science of reprogenetics—self-chosen, self-directed eugenics—had come far over the years, but it still could not escape the reality of evolutionary tradeoffs, such as the increased likelihood of disease when one maximized on a particular trait, ignoring the others. Or the social tradeoffs—the high-risk, high-reward economy for reprogenetic individuals, where a few IQ points could make all the difference between success or failure, or where stretching genetic potential to achieve those cognitive heights might lead to a collapse in non-cognitive skills, such as impulse control or empathy.
Against this backdrop, the embryo predicted to have the higher IQ also had an eight-fold greater chance of being severely myopic to the point of uncorrectable blindness—every parent’s worst nightmare….
The early proponents of reprogenetics failed to take into account the basic genetic force of pleiotropy: that the same genes have not one phenotypic effect, but multiple ones. Greater genetic potential for height also meant a higher risk score for cardiovascular disease. Cancer risk and Alzheimer’s probability were inversely proportionate—and not only because if one killed you, you were probably spared the other, but because a good ability to regenerate cells (read: neurons) also meant that one’s cells were more poised to reproduce out of control (read: cancer).3 As generations of poets and painters could have attested, the genome score for creativity was highly correlated with that for major depression.
But nowhere was the correlation among predictive scores more powerful—and perhaps in hindsight none should have been more obvious—than the strong relationship between IQ and Asperger’s risk….
Do you care about this? What is your prediction about how this will go? Mostly positive, or ruinously negative? And for both today and tomorrow, how do you feel about your offspring marrying someone with a much lower or higher IQ? Does it matter?