Skip to main content

tv   Walter Isaacson The Code Breaker  CSPAN  December 20, 2021 8:00am-9:02am EST

8:00 am
podcast at c-span now, which is our new app, or wherever you get your podcasts. happy holiday season to you. we'll be back in january with another episode of "about books." ♪♪ >> and you've been watching booktv, every sunday on c-span2 watch nonfiction authors discuss their books. television for sere readers. and -- serious readers. and watch them all online anytime at you can also find us on twitter, facebook and youtube @booktv. .. . >> good evening and welcome, i'm cnn correspondent holly firfer and i'm honored to be part of this whole book best in your living room so on behalf of the mj tca here in atlanta and the national jcc welcome.
8:01 am
we are in for such a fascinating evening tonight with international best-selling author walter isaacson. here to talk about his-s latest book "the code breaker: jennifer doudna, gene editing, and the future of the human race." now, this is an unbelievably fascinating book. i promise you this is a book where you were going to sit and read until my gosh look at the time, because you can't put it down. if you haven't you have gotten a copy yet check your website to find your local bookseller or you can always go to the official bookseller of the jcc national literary consortium which is a cappella books. i promise you you will have a million questions. i have a million questions so if you look at the bottom of the screen you'll see there's a q&a section. not the chat section. put all your questions for water there towards the end of the program will try to get to all of them for you. let's get on with the main event and a little bit about our honored guest this evening. walter isaacson is a professor
8:02 am
of history at tulane and he has been ceo of the aspen institute, chair of cnn editor of time. he has authored many incredible books including leonardo da vinci, the innovator, steve jobs, einstein, his life and universe, benjamin franklin, and kissinger, a biography. he's the co-author of the wise men ask friends and the world they made so please welcome a very special guestve this eveni, mr. walter isaacson. >> hey, holly, thank you so much. it's good to be back with you all. say first of all we're talking about it's the most beautiful cover. i want it as a coffee-table book but it's long, comprehensive. i think i have a phd now from reading it but for those who have it ready give us an overview of what they'll get from the codebreakers. >> this is not a wonderful one named jennifer doudna,
8:03 am
you've heard about her because she won the nobel prize. she's a buddy who grow up in hawaii and she read the double helix when she was in middle school. her dad left it on the bed and she thought this is like a detective story and what she read it she realized it was more than a detective story. it was about he and francis crick using the images from rosalind franklin discovered the structure of dna . the secret of life so she says i want to become a scientist like that. and her school guidance counselor said girls don't become scientists. she persisted and she did. and she made the greatest discovery of our lifetime which is how can we edit our jeans and it's called crispr and it's something bacteria have been doing for 1 billion years though it isn't all that difficult. all it is is a guy that you
8:04 am
take a pair of scissors meaning an enzyme and you say here, cut the dna in this place and she figured out with a research partner named emmanuelle charpentier exactly how to make it into a tool that can edit our jeans and then after that, they turned their attention to covid because the guide that bacteria use and crispr use his rna, that kind of dealing with dna that does work and it goes and builds proteins in ourselves and you've heard of rna because i know we were talking about the vaccines a few moments ago. rna is the messenger that's used in the pfizer and motor vaccines and the guide that jennifer used when she created this gene editing technology.that's going to be the technology of our time that we're going to have to wrestle with most. it's a moral issue. how much your you is that your children,but let's not
8:05 am
get started . but also, such great promise because it will get out of future virus attacks. it will help us destroy genetic diseases like sickle-cell anemia and it's going to really help us and it the human race and if we are wise, to be a stronger race. >> there's so much in there so that was a good overview. let's unpack a little bit. the way i look at this book is in third. first you talk about these three, genetics. give us a little bit because you go into watson and crick and even darwin and talk about how they discovered that out these armada and the human genome product. so talk a little bit about doing the research, you walk us through that in the beginning. >> i'll go way back which is the books i've written are about the three fundamental
8:06 am
kernels of our existence. the atom, the bit which is binary digits that store information and the gene. around 1900 we kind of figure out thoseparticles . i wrote about einstein to do the physics revolution, steve jobs was the one in the second half of the 20th century and now we are starting to be able not only to understand the gene but rewrite the gene and the history that we talked about giddens in 1850 when charles darwin writes on the origin of species and this monk named gregor mendel is breathing peas and he starts to notice they have inherited traits so from the beats of darwin to the properties of mendel's peas we come up with this notion that there's some entity that is eternal that
8:07 am
hands-down genetic information and eventually turns out to be this nucleic acid. some molecule in our system calleddna . and we don't know watson and crick, they figured out the structure ofdna . that has four letters and it's like a coding machine and just like a microchip but it's a molecule. so with those four letters, there's 3 billion pairs of them in our human genome and that determines that i get gray hair at a certain point. it codes all my genetic information but the thing about it is , and in 2000 we were able to sequence the human gene. as you said, that's called thehuman genome project . everybody thought that was amazing.
8:08 am
they put it on the cover of time magazine but the thing is that really didn't do much. all we got to do was read the genes. put a little saliva into, it can tell what jeans you have. the important thing is to being able to rewrite those genes when there's a bad problem that jennifer doudna did with this gene editing tool called crispr so the genome project laid the roadmap down and she was one of those many that you talked about in the book that found that route to actually gene editing. so in the book gets very detailed so it's comprehensive but if you can talk us through because i think this is book is a little confusing to people because you're talking about dna but messenger rna and you're talking about proteins . so give us the lehmans version if you don't mind of laying out the science behind it.
8:09 am
>> crispr is easy because bacteria have been doing it for 1 billion years. and they're not smarter than we are and what they do is they take a mug shot. a new virus attacks which they take a snippet of the genetic code and they weave it into their own dna. so they have these clustered repeated sequences that contain the dna of any virus that attacks them. and those clustered repeated sequences are called crispr so that's all it really is is a way for bacteria to remember viruses that attack. that doesn't seem all that interesting unless you get into a virus pandemic like we are in now . that's a pretty useful thing to be able to do. so what bacteria do with it is they say all right, if i notice such a virus attacking me again just like we have
8:10 am
seen, what crispr does in bacteria is it has a scissors , like an enzyme that is guided by a little piece of rna and when it sees the virus coming in it just chops and not all that jennifer doudna did and i grew created the gene editing tool did was whereas bacteria can use it to cut a virus, we can repurpose it and targeted to cut jeans in our own bodies. so what they did was repurpose this system that bacteria have been using for 1 billion or so years and said we can then the guy, program that rna guide so that it goes after one of our own jeans, chopped it up and we can replace the gene if we want to. that's all it is, it's not really all that complicated. i was able to do it in aladdin one day.
8:11 am
>> i read you put in there your journey about how you were able to do it and i thought that was incredible. >> to let it all down the drain with chlorine so whatever i added to it will not be part of the human race complex part of history, will never know. you have messenger rna and then there's crispr rna and you talk about tracer rna so there's different types ribs without getting too much into the weeds. >> they're all rna and you have little snippets of. so a messenger rna is the fundamental thing that rna does. everybody knows about dna, and like a lot of famous siblings it doesn't do much work, dna just sits there in the nucleus of ourselves and curates the information in our genes. but messenger rna does is its just the messenger, take some of that information at in our dna and it goes to the outer region of the cell which is
8:12 am
where there's a manufacturing plant to make proteins. and it says okay, i read this partof the dna . this genetic sequence. make this protein so when we use messenger rna for vaccines, we simply coded in a part of the site protein of the coronavirus. that's what the mrna vaccines do. it goes in the manufacturing region of ourselves and the next fragments of that horrible spike cookie. why? because our immune system sees it and says that's not supposed to be around and our immune system is prepared the next time it sees a spike protein, it will kill and that's how we prevent coronavirus so that's messenger rna and its in a similar snippet of rna can serve as a guide. that's called a guide rna that's the guide in the crispr system that takes the
8:13 am
enzyme system and says i want you to cut the genetic material here at this gene. so whether you call it crispr rna or guide rna or messenger rna, it's still that four letter nucleic acid call rna and its stories around and cut thingsup and builds proteins . >> the way you frame it makes so much sense. so you do talk about in the beginning and in the end getting into the pandemic we're in. first i want to ask you just sort of a behind-the-scenes, when you're writing this book because you this way before we even knew what covid-19 was so how were you able to encapsulate all of that because the back part of the book, the end is talking about the whole idea of genetic editing and covid-19 and future viruses.
8:14 am
>> when i embarked on this book i thought biotechnology was the most important thing going on right now and it was filled with really colorful characters like jennifer doudna and emmanuelle charpentier and they were heroes, not heroes who wore case but heroes who wore lab coats and when covid hit i said i've been underestimating how important this is because all those things they do we have to deploy in our fight against covid-19 so i was halfway through researching the book and i thought it exactly a year ago in the beginning of march of last year and she produced on the bus from berkeley to go to fresno to one of those robot building competitions thatjuniors in high school get to go to . and then he was wearing how the berkeley campus was shutting down because of
8:15 am
covid-19 so at about two in the morning she wakes up her husband james says get in the car, we're going to have to go and pick up and be at this camp and he's an only child so as you can expect he's rolling his eyes, he's upset when his parents come away but what happens is as they're driving out of the parking lot they all get attacks that there's robot competition is canceled, all kids should go home and that's when she says she gets back to berkeley the next day he convenes 50 scientists from the bay area and says all right, put down the research of whateveryou're doing. grab your contacts in your test tubes .we're going to break into teams and were going to start fighting the coronavirus was a perfect segue in my book and as you know the book begins with that picking up her kid and the last second of the book is okay, how are we going to fight this coronavirus? >> what's interesting is then
8:16 am
moderna and pfizer, their process is the same as this gene editing, they're using a version of this. >> they're using messenger rna as you said that using rna as a way to build what we call an antigen meaning of protein that stimulates our immune system. it's not the same but it just is using rna as a guide or tool or messenger to say do this with protein. there are other things jennifer doudna did not just making the vaccine but she and her rivals, the guys at mit and harvard are making these easy at-home testing kits you'll be getting in a few months that use this system of crispr to say i can spot any genetic material that comes along. it's like a home pregnancy test that you just what it in
8:17 am
the thing and if it grows, it means you've been exposed to the coronavirus or you can test for the flu or strep throat or bacterial infection . or do your gut microbiota this will bring biology home it's not just about vaccines. we talk about vaccines, that's a big deal this month but having rapid tests and having good treatment because bacteria, that's what they use crisper for. they are infected with a virus and they treated, they kill so what these technologies do and what jennifer doudna's team does is say not let's not just worried about this vaccine area were going to have variance. you need to know how to fight every wave of virus pandemic and we need detecting tools, we need cures, treatments and vaccines. >> let me talk about in the book section you mentioned the rivalry and it's interesting because even in
8:18 am
science there that rivalry between jennifer and changing labs because in a lot of ways they know what they're doing is going to benefit humanity. but talk a little bit about that because there's so many people involved even george church who is also a big player in this but they're all in different places. it seems like a big community, almost a family where there's love hate going on. >> any family where in, maybe even a synagogue wherein, we know that there's rivalries and we know that there's competition and we know that there's cooperation and collaboration . life is a mix of this. the interesting thing in my book is you say it was a friendly rivalry when they were pursuing genetic editing
8:19 am
in crispr. it was sort of friendly but they're fighting over the patents. it was a rough rivalry and it got friendlier when they said okay, let's all turn our attention to covid and that's why it was interesting to me because sometimes we compete really hard and they've got rivalries then we get faced with something bigger. it's like ronald reagan used to say we can have a lot of rivalries between countries but if an alien civilization attacked us we would all cooperate and fight. that's what happened, this was almost like an alien civilization this virus took the team at berkeley with jennifer doudna and emmanuelle charpentier and the team among holly firfer feng zhang and others at harvard and nudged them back and reminded everybody of why they're doing this. it's the nobility of science
8:20 am
to help humanity, not just a way for patents and nobel prizes. >> the big elephant in the room for everybody is the effect behind it. we talk about gene editing and there's a big gray area in there so you talk about how it's pretty much can cure sickle-cell to meet anemia, wouldn't it be great if you had alzheimer's in the family and you can edit out the gene in your children to know that they would never suffer alzheimer's or anything like that but then we sort of cross that line of you think about the nazis, hitler creating the perfect race because where you stop? that is something that i think frightens people as well. >> jennifer doudna made the discovery of the gene editing technology and she had a nightmare. they said come into the room and i want you to meet
8:21 am
somebody who understands your technology and you go into the room and it was hitler. she couldn't sleep the night after that so shegathers groups of scientists from around the world . scientists from russia and the academy of england and national academies here and in europe. and they start the process of saying when are we going to use this technology. cause you all know we want to use it for good, we want to get rid of these wearable genetic diseases like sickle-cell and huntington. and we may even want to do it a chinese scientist and at the embryos of babies which is sort of crossing a line to make it not just for the patient but inherited by all their children but they want to make the patient and the children and their descendents immune from the virus that causes aids. that caused a lot of consternation but now that
8:22 am
we're facing a virus pandemic maybe we do want to edit the human race that way but you talk about editing say if somebody's got jeans that could lead to a disposition for alzheimer's. that could be done someday. but if we can do that you could also make edits people have a better memory. i don't have a very good memory, in fact i just read a book saying we're all pretty lucky if we had bad memory but you could say i want my kid to be smart so i'm going to give mike a better memory and better processing power so that's when you get into a murky area. do you want to let the rich people buy better genes for their kids? if you had a very vibrant fertility clinic and nobody was watching what you chose , what chance would you pick? would you pick hair color, sexual orientation, all those things?
8:23 am
if everybody does that maybe we will start editing out come of the things that make our species rather flavorful and diverse . that's a bad thing. >> you mentioned the chinese scientist who edited out the genes for hiv.>> i'm giving you a lot of credit, you got everybody'sname right . >> you've trained us well. but you know, there was an agreement among scientists before you did this the first time they used it on a sickle-cell patient was a woman in her 40s. she wasn't going to have children and it would cure that would change the inherited gene and it seemed there was the gentlemen's agreement among scientists and now this researcher scientist goes and changes the embryos and everybody just says whoa, wait a minute .
8:24 am
how do you prevent that? once the genie is out of the bottle you can't put it back in. >> it's hard to prevent or rules of the road for the use of crispr because as i said even i could do it in a university biology lab with a few graduate students helping me where not like making an atom bomb which is something you can't do in your own basement or garage so it's going to be hard to regulate this technology but we do regulate drugs, we do regulate the fda and medical procedures and there are things we can't stop but we say you know, that's shameful and know we have laws against it. whether it's shoplifting or sex trafficking sex trafficking or elephant talks, there's going to be shoplifters but you can say this is something that humans should not be able to do . and we can set the rules. for me, the rules would be pretty simple .
8:25 am
we can use this technology for things that are clearly medically necessary . >> .. people trying to gain the system a bit. that doesn't mean we should throw up our hands and what do we approve of and what do we not approve of? >> there's always the adversaries who may not have the best interest at heart so how do you regulate that and how do you
8:26 am
be prepared to deal with anything? >> everybody met in hong kong after the chinese scientists did what he did and the chinese scientists that did that is under house arrest for unauthorized scientific experiments. countries around the world just like we have agreements but you're right, it isn't going to be perfect nor is it a weapon regime. people fly to mexico may be to get unauthorized drug treatment for things. but you can say let's get scientists to agree that at least in the foreseeable future
8:27 am
we won't for those that are unless medically necessary. >> we vaccinate people so they don't get the flu, pneumonia, we vaccinate people against polio and basically eradicated polio. what is the difference after or before somebody is born if we want to get rid of some of these terrible diseases? >> the most important meaning early-stage embryos or eggs or sperm, then it means as a child grows every cell in his or her body has been adequate because it's the early stage of an embryo and means even the reproductive cells so to that it doesn't just affect the one child but all future
8:28 am
generations. we have to be careful before we cross. there are reasons you may want to a woman was cured of sickle cell anemia in mississippi a few months ago and that costs a million dollars. you had to take all of the blood cells and stem cells out and put them in the body. if you take that out of the human species and you did it and reproductive cells, nobody inherited the mutation that caused the disease that's something that lasts forever that is the type of discussion.
8:29 am
i don't want to see -- >> what are the chances you mentioned this earlier how in this disparity between who is editing and who has their nbo's perfected and can't afford it, as you mentioned was about a million dollars and obviously computers are expensive when it first started and get less expensive still are you creating the have and have-nots. >> and we see that with science fiction with the two classes of
8:30 am
society. that's what the movie is about and if we have these choices, they are not going to be free. so we allow rich people to buy better genes we already have that inequality in our society, but that wouldn't exacerbate it and we have a species and sub species edited and not edited and that's where i think we all agree. >> talking about medical care care costs today what sort of balance itself out because you don't have to suffer from that, you don't have the medical bills and it may be something that insurance companies might be
8:31 am
doing -- >> if you could put a dent in alzheimer's, that is a costly thing to society emotionally and financially. these chronic diseases whether it be sickle cell so if we can edit them out of the species, this would save us a lot of money and the tricky thing is if you edit the reproductive cells and get rid of it once and for all people say it might be messing with mother nature. mother nature and god gave us the tools whether it be vaccines or whatever to stand up to natural phenomenon that are dangerous to us so i don't think that we should say we are sort of going to use these tools. >> let me ask you about we are
8:32 am
going to create this perfect and happy society and now you talk about some issues you may have an overpopulation because nature will obviously mean the survival of the fittest. so everybody's perfectly happy. we have an overpopulation problem because you don't have cancer or alzheimer's or sickle-cell. >> you will see bill gates and others that may have fewer children because they have large numbers of children and places with bad healthcare and making sure they will have some children that survive. there's an overpopulation problem, but for me, we suddenly
8:33 am
don't want to say let's keep cancer and alzheimer's and diabetes and sickle-cell so that we don't have an overpopulation problem. i think we could solve the population issue separate from saying let's keep cancer around because it is good for us. >> we talk a lot about physical, but what about psychological. bipolar, schizophrenia, would that help as well and should it help? >> these are complicated. there's no single gene for schizophrenia or manic-depressive mess certain things including schizophrenia
8:34 am
partly because he has a son that is very problematically schizophrenic. and so he says that's my goal in life to edit genes or understand. now clearly, schizophrenia is very debilitating. the next few decades i think it will be dangerous to say if we can edit out that disposition because they are very complicated and frankly if you look at somebody like this he had a lot of the traits, tomac and if you look at vincent van gogh and people that have depression or schizophrenia and
8:35 am
if you look at miles davis, these things lead to a sort of creativity and also great suffering so this is something that we do not want to go barreling down a slippery slope because you could have a lot of unintended consequences especially when we get into editing psychological disorders. that said, just as we view drugs and other therapies to help with psychological illnesses including schizophrenia, if we found ways that were safe and effective i think we would want to do that. >> how much do we know that we don't know? we know sickle-cell can help those that wouldn't get malaria, it was part of the genetic mix up that if you go ahead and
8:36 am
change that, now all of a sudden there's unintended consequences that a change one thing but you may be creating another problem. do we even know what the consequences might be? >> that is a good question at least now you can't make edits that create the kind of genes that don't already exist. if you take out a gene that causes sickle-cell you then have a resulting genome of the process and it's identical to
8:37 am
millions of other people so i just have to know how long did it take you to research this and wrap your head around it and write it and then update it because -- >> if you get to the narrative part it isn't a science book or textbook and so it's about all of the friends and i try to
8:38 am
smuggle in some of the science, but the reason is close to 500 as opposed to 400 pages we hit the coronavirus so let me tell that story, tomac. >> let me get to some questions here and she says have the target's been a mutation at all? >> that is a very good question. it is off target when you try to do -- it is understandable and it's being solved. the question, the only case that we have reproductive of an nbo being done with the chinese scientists we talked about and the design so to speak about two and a half-years-old now and
8:39 am
being monitored there was some indication but we don't know much. i think that is a smart question because it is a problem but it is a solvable problem. we have david lou at harvard with base editing and other prime editing and these are ways of making sure you get the target right. >> in research and science they said you finally got the patent. >> the short answer is the patent office in its infinite wisdom have given patents to both sides and overlap.
8:40 am
they got patents first and they've gone through a whole round of cases and others like who was first to get certain things right but this has gone on too long. they both have patents that are rather valid. >> were you surprised they won the nobel and it wasn't given to george on the other side? >> that's a good question. i got up at 4 a.m. and had
8:41 am
trouble sleeping because i wanted to see the live feed. you can only get three people so it would have ended with jennifer down to imanuel and i bet he would have been the third of all of the participants in the battle. but when they announced it and it was given to the two women, jennifer slept through it. i remember calling a couple hours later. i think it's important not only that it got the nobel but if you read the citation the discovery is really good and it says basically it changes everything and that is the nobel citation.
8:42 am
>> is this the equivalent to you talked about in the 20th century the advent of technology and computers and is this our new technology seeing this takeover? >> yes and by the way i wrote a whole book about the digital technology which we all have on our iphones. it's going to be a lot more consequential can you comment on the difference between the editing? >> that's what we just talked about. it means that you are doing as we talked about. it's just another word for in the body so when we talk about the woman who was cured of
8:43 am
sickle-cell, it was done in that one patient meaning stem cells whereas the embryos in china means they go down to all of the descendents of that person because they affect every cell in the body. >> does it make any difference in the research storyline are having an impact on you and that leads to the question because there are so many people that were a part of this -- it is described as a woolly mammoth using dna so i wanted to do somebody that gave me a way into this new revolution.
8:44 am
jennifer, when i first started talking to her five or six years ago, she's the one having led the group that figures out the structure of certain types of rna, not only in the messenger diet and that sort of thing but self replicating and when she figures out how that works, that answers one of the greatest questions how did life begin on this planet and 4 billion years ago started replicating itself, so it isn't just about this, it's about rna, science which is important. it's about editing, fighting coronavirus, and listing other scientists to wrestle with the
8:45 am
issues so that is what led to this character. >> fascinating. this book when i was finished i thought of this is on my bucket list. >> nikki goodman says this is a complex topic can you describe the process of writing about jennifer and her work we know it took about three or four years but how do you go about taking all this information where it makes sense and you took us on a discovery journey with you. >> that was intentional and thank you for saying that because it is a journey of discovery. i go hand in hand with jennifer and explain this a discovery of how it can replicate itself.
8:46 am
the discovery and the gene editing tool so it organizes and that way as a chronological narrative to the central character you are able to say come with me hand in hand as jennifer discovers these things and as i learn these things and i hope that it makes up a journey of discovery for the reader. i do it in the simplest way, the way the bible does it. adam and eve and moses and whatever we have a central character and that helps explain the moral issues. >> i was thinking the same thing. >> occasionally you have to make sure people can laugh. >> why is it worse if the gene change is transferable to your
8:47 am
children? >> especially when it is in edit like i don't want my kids to ever [inaudible] after we were wringing our hands saying they made this edit, i don't want to have those -- i don't see anything wrong with adding a few iq points. you have to say maybe this isn't so bad and may be the thing that would be lacking is to not use it. if we knew there were no unintended consequences and we could do it without off target
8:48 am
mutation, yes my own ethical thinking changed throughout this book because at first i was horrified. then i sat on the balcony behind me and the coronavirus hit and i thought wait a minute, why wouldn't we use a tool to get rid of things like sickle-cell and also to make us a little bit more immune and then i thought they've been doing it for a million years and don't feel guilty about having this system that protect us from virus attacks. so yes that is a good question. after everybody flails their arms and says we shouldn't be doing this, then you have to say why not. like we mentioned earlier we were able to eradicate polio by vaccinating everybody and that took a long time and even now looking at the vaccine issues
8:49 am
with covid-19, wouldn't it be great if it would be stopped in the beginning and not have to go through. >> or if we had systems within our body that we could attack tumors. that's what we can do and that's what i said with others it isn't just a better vaccine but ways to be susceptible, they are barely a living creature. >> that leads to the question you didn't mention editing out the cancer cells. >> they are doing it at the university of pennsylvania where it's not just editing out cancer cells like we do with immunotherapy. you can use to edit things that
8:50 am
will fight the tumors or fight the cancer itself. we can also use it to detect. one of the problems with cancer is sometimes we don't know until it is too late but if you are on these testing kits that can detect any genetic material then every morning you can do your little test and make sure and then you can sequence the tumors and it's very personalized to me but i could have a personalized treatment that is designed and being coded getting the pharmaceutical companies as well because they can come up with medications and treatments and protocols that can cite very specifically i remember years ago when they first came out
8:51 am
with the brain tumors where they knew that it would penetrate and disarm and so now they know specifically what they are looking at instead of sometimes we just throw everything at it. this is the era where we can curve the vaccine to go after exactly what we want or encourage a piece of dna to chop off whatever we want to chop off in our system or create whatever protein we want to create in our system and give the sequence. cancer isn't a disease. it is hundreds of thousands of different cells running out of control in a different way. you can sequence that and a way
8:52 am
to target that genetic material specifically this is an interesting question by judy because you did talk about the reason everybody moves around and she said places like uc berkeley that are incredible engines of innovation and nobel prizes and access to college students are under threat with state budget cuts so how can we continue to convince wealthy donors to create endowment to the colleges that don't need more money? >> i don't want to get in trouble with private colleges. i think anybody donating money it's a good thing especially if it is a research university. i think also it shouldn't just
8:53 am
be on philanthropy to do it. it is absolutely wonderful because abraham lincoln way back with the university of california berkeley with the colleges that in the 1860s and 70s are coming alive so this is what has made america great is publicly funded research universities that used to be an incredibly inexpensive and now are very expensive. it would be nice if as well as the university of california berkeley and stanford but i don't think that we should figure that a solution.
8:54 am
>> to control or manipulate the population and who would oversee this technology and i guess we can add onto that do we need a global governing source do we need something like that? >> i'm not sure i trust the source right off one of the largest in california is the advanced research project they used it to be better soldiers and to have more courage that
8:55 am
could resist radiation, so in fact one of the things is called anti-crisper that was funded by the defense department with a readers gene edit with hostile power and the age that we have to fund some of this research for the defense department as well. >> i teach a course here at tulane. there's a fundamental difference between organic life which is carbon based wetlands and
8:56 am
digital thinking. i guess you could create and the analog computer some day that works with the system but i think the fundamental difference is, which is good and why i'm not a believer we are about to have artificial intelligence that would totally replicate that for the time being in the semi conductors which is what computers are it has a fundamentally different approach than a carbon based. >> here's an interesting question asked. have there been religious world leaders or philosopher as part of the discussion on the use of
8:57 am
this? >> ever since the beginning of the discussions i would say in the 1970s on the gene engineering and editing. there's been a very strong proponent, and in my book there's a section called playing god, the protestant theologian and one of the great thinkers from the university of chicago written on the old testament but it's also the phd in biology so in my book i do think that as scientists we can figure this out and there is room for the various framework i have a couple more questions to get in. is there any connection between stem cell research treatment?
8:58 am
>> when they did the treatment they took the stem cells that produce blood cells and everything else and it could be used to edit stem cells because they can give birth to other types of cells. >> the last question i have for you, what book is next? >> i usually take six months to kick around some ideas and people interested in the world of business from bill gates to in particular i admire bill gates for a lot of reasons which you could the historical figure that won the nobel prize in chemistry,
8:59 am
jennifer, but i'm taking my tim time. >> we wait with bated breath and look forward to that. i also want to say thank you fob being here. we know the book doesn't come out until next week but we are so honored and lucky to have you with us tonight as a preview. let me tell you, this book, it's like a like a bible. it goes on my walter isaacson shelf guzzle of all that you write. thank you so much. it's fascinating. and i look forward to the next book. >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's stories, and on sundays booktv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including charter communications. >> broadband is a force for empowerment. that's why charter has invested billions building
9:00 am
infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. >> we believe one of the greatest things to be an american is worth striving to provide equal opportunity for all citizens. >> students across the country are giving as behind the scenes look as a work on the entries using the hashtag studentcam. if you're a middle high school student you can join the conversation by entering the cspan's studentcam competition. ..
9:01 am
>> and just remember to be as neutral and impartial as possible in your portrayal of both sides of an issue. >> c-span awards $100,000 in total cash prizes and a shot at winning the grand prize of $5,000. entries must be received before january 20th, 2022. for competition rules visit our website at >> welcome, everybody to the global affairs for the book and authors seize sponsored by bernard swartz. madam speaker, nancy pelosi in the lessons of powers, written by susan page.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on