2020 Vision

Filed on 20 August 2006 in Speeches category. Print This Page

An Australian interview show in the tradition of Enough Rope set in the year 2020.

Host with Professor Moreau using HIL (holographic image link) to an undisclosed location.

Host: Welcome to 2020 Vision! We’ve come a long way since the turn of the century, haven’t we?

Professor: yes (sniggers)

Host: …but it’s been a hard slog, you know, overcoming all that prejudice – how did you do it?

Professor: (laughs) oh yes, we said some funny things back then just to get things moving – I almost can’t believe it but we had to

Host: like?

Professor: really funny! Many of them were on to us of course – and the editors of Nature didn’t help with saying that we should call things by their proper name. We got away with real Alice in Wonderland stuff like “let’s not call it an embryo so we won’t break the law” (fingers signalling quotes)

Host: you almost won that one didn’t you?

Professor: yeah – until that van Gend guy from Queensland started saying “it’s an embryo, stupid”. Now there’s a guy to get up your nose – and grab a few stem cells while he’s at it (laughs uproariously). But never mind, we gained a lot of ground over that time – by asking for far more than we thought we could get, we gradually got more and more – gradualism is a great tactic by the way – some people are so gullible

Host: yes, I know (straight face) but not van Gend – you lost that battle about which stem cells were best and safest, adult or embryonic, didn’t you?

Professor: (resignedly) oh well, we knew we were going to lose that one ultimately but it was great fun. Pity the various politicians went overboard on that tactic and some of the others …

Host: …others?

Professor: oh, the calling of the “embryo by any other name” (fingers signalling quotes) bit – they kept this going too long and they kept the “stem cell cure for everything under the sun” thing going too long and they really overdid the kids in the wheelchair sympathy thing – I mean that was just sheer exploitation of innocent kids – just ‘using’ them – the poor kids had no idea what was at stake

Host: …which was?

Professor: hey, hang on – well, the primary thing was that we didn’t want to be nobbled in our research wherever that might lead – we had ideas of course but we couldn’t tell anyone – not at that point anyway – you can’t stifle good honest exploration you know – I mean look at the benefits we’ve had from going to the moon

Host: yes, many of us are thinking that’s a good place to send some people – but coming back to the politicians – if they didn’t understand you, why were they backing you?

Professor: Oh, money and power! The threat that funding would be lost, that all the scientists would leave Australia, and that they would lose face. It’s really easy to get people to follow if you play them the right way – it’s a good tactic you know

Host: yes (slight smile) – so it wasn’t about money and power for you?

Professor: oh heck no! We just didn’t want those religious people – the Abbotts and ruddy friars – telling us what we could and could not do. Some of the church leaders we were able to use to our advantage…

Host: so where are going?

Professor: the sky’s the limit! There’s no stopping us now. We always knew the discrimination thing was going to work for us both ways – strange how we were able to use it for a while in Victoria to actually shut Christians up and get them off our back. We’re using AWT – that’s artificial womb technology – routinely now so we can get real organs from 16 week embryos – we still say embryo to keep away from calling them unborn children – this is really exciting stuff – much better than prisoner livers (claps hand over his mouth).

Host: you mean there can be problems with their organs?

Professor: oh yes – it seemed good for a while. At least over in this part of the world we can do that as long as we keep it quiet – the prisoners are not aware of course what is going to happen to them once they are anaesthetised and that’s what it’s all about – awareness – self-awareness – our ethicists have done their work very well

Host: pity about the kids in their wheelchairs…

Professor: now don’t get sentimental – if the kid cannot be cured and they are not aware then this is a good solution – not an ultimate solution – we don’t go there

Host: artificial womb technology must be a great leap forward for people wanting babies?

Professor: Oh yes. For women without a uterus, for single men as well as gay couples – but also we get to examine the baby – er, late-stage-embryo – more closely for problems – none of that messy uterus in the way – for abnormalities and as it’s not a proper human entity in the sense that it is not yet designed to live, we can abandon its life support and use any spare organs into the bargain – so we win all ways! It doesn’t get better than that.

Host: I suppose these are the lateral benefits – like the ones of going to the moon?

Professor: Exactly! I’m glad you see that.

Host: Yes. Through this magical imaging I see your family in the background – that child is remarkably like you…

Professor: Yes, there’s actually three of me now. Now there’s an exciting future – just think of the social engineering potential. More of me and more of you – we need people like you too. Come over and visit us.

Host: Potential, potential, potential… there doesn’t seem to be any stopping does there? But you remember that movie The Island – that’s stretching the imagination a bit far – jolly good entertainment though…

Professor: (interrupting) oh, you don’t need a real island you know – we’ve got a place all ready with kindergartens and schools – those we find defective go to our remedial centre – we are extremely compassionate you know

Host: (looking slightly pale) I’m so pleased to hear it, but tell me about that weird thing on your lap (thing snarls and leaps forward and even though it is only a holographic image the interviewer recoils)

Professor: Now you’ve hurt his feelings. He understands English very well but we haven’t yet got the vocals right and his mood is touchy because he can’t speak. But you see the potential – now we’ve got this far there is nothing we cannot do, nothing. There are no restrictions here…

Host: unlike here…

Professor: …exactly. Even though you allowed the cloning bit you still insisted on killing the things before 14 days. And the irony of all that was that you still lost your best scientists overseas. And if these pathetic animals don’t function well – like this horrid thing – we just try again and…

(At this the hybrid flies at his throat and the holographic image is cut. The audio lasts a few seconds longer with a scream and then a small explosion. Host looks shocked and clutches his own throat. Image fades and host comes back in real time.)

Host: Since the recording of that last night we have learned that Professor Moreau is in an induced coma with brain damage. The explosion you heard was the hybrid blowing up. It seems that in order to protect against such extreme circumstances that the Professor implanted small explosive devices in all these hybrids but did not have time to activate it before the main artery to his brain was punctured. We are informed that a brain transplant may be considered. We leave you to ponder where that might come from. This is your host signing off. Thank you for being a part of 2020 Vision.

Lachlan Dunjey. August, 2006.

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