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Hacking Darwin

Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity
Narrated by: Eric Martin
Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From leading geopolitical expert and technology futurist Jamie Metzl comes a groundbreaking exploration of the many ways genetic engineering is shaking the core foundations of our lives-sex, war, love, and death.

At the dawn of the genetics revolution, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. But as humanity starts retooling our own genetic code, the choices we make today will be the difference between realizing breathtaking advances in human well-being and descending into a dangerous and potentially deadly genetic arms race.

Enter the laboratories where scientists are turning science fiction into reality. Look towards a future where our deepest beliefs, morals, religions, and politics are challenged like never before and the very essence of what it means to be human is at play. When we can engineer our future children, massively extend our lifespans, build life from scratch, and recreate the plant and animal world, should we?

Passionate, provocative, and highly illuminating, Hacking Darwin is the must-listen book about the future of our species for fans of Homo Deus and The Gene.

©2019 Jamie Metzl (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Technology Overview - Good; Policy Discussion - No

I bought the Audible after hearing Jamie on the Joe Rogan podcast. Metzl seemed articulate and passionate about the subject so I wanted to know more.

As someone who follows these advances at a pop-science level, I found the technology discussions to be interesting. I think he did a good job providing scientific historical context and broad coverage of all aspects of genetic research. While some criticized that he didn't go deep enough but I think the level was appropriate given goal he articulated on the podcast to bring this subject to the uninitiated.

I was less impressed with the chapters on ethics, policy, morality as this is where the author's bias was in exhibition. I realize that people have opinions, but if you're going to build a case for me, I need to see both sides of the argument. I can't say that I'm a fan of Greenpeace, but I'd like to understand why they believe GMO's are bad. On the discussion about abortion, he used the lazy trope of pro-lifers are either religions, old or conservative. There are pro-life positions that are science based; there are pro-life positions that are based on human natural rights. Further, people's acceptance of "abortion" is on a spectrum - i.e., disposing blastocysts from IVF is different than 3-trimester abortion.

Lastly, I think he made a mistake on the narrator. If Jamie wants to build a brand, he should get his voice out there - he seemed to do fine on the Rogan podcast. The narrator they chose, though technically proficient, sounded like sunglass wearing, robotic, human-hating, Agent Jones from the Matrix. Once you get this in your head, you can't unthink it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Would have been much more enjoyable if Jamie Metzel had narrated his own book

Eric Martin’s voice is very annoying however was slightly improved by increasing the cadence to 1.25x

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This book is a must read/listen

This book is a must-read/listen for every responsible human. Metzl goes into detail on the great changes coming as a result of humans taking charge of our own evolution using embryo selection and genetic engineering. His appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in May 2019 is a good introduction to the material discussed in this book. My mind was continually being blown, sufficiently enough that this is the first review I have posted. As for the reader, his diction is clear and the performance is satisfactory related to the material but it has all the warmth and charm of Jack Webb narrating the TV show Dragnet.

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Performance detracts from book

I gave it a college try but found the performance too distracting and irritating. The performance sounds like listening to my computer read text. It is monotone, mechanistic, over annunciated, awkward and not natural. Which is sad considering I heard a podcast with Jamie, inspiring my purchase, and he was natural, smooth and accessible. The performance style handicaps the writers message. I quit after 1 hour into the book.