Neuroscience, epigenetics, and the new social biology

Epigenetics is more than just the study of DNAs. It also offers us an understanding of who we are as humans.

Sociologist Mauricio Meloni explores the field of epigenetics, and how it could potentially affect the social sciences. He believes that the results of numerous studies on epigenetics requires academics to look beyond heredity as genes. Instead, Meloni says, heredity must be regarded as a “direct, and sometimes directed, response to environmental challenge”.

Implications for AI

When the Human Genome Project was completed, scientists discovered that humans are not as materially pre-determined as they thought [see The Problem With The Human Genome Project]. Epigenetics shows us that humans can go beyond their own genes, that their environment, and the experiences they encounter throughout their lives, can help them change into better (or worse) people.

But perhaps the most important implication of this article is that whatever we do to ourselves today will have an impact on future generations. Unlike AI and computers, humans do not follow the “garbage in, garbage out” principle.

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