information. Artificially intelligent by
design, deceptively perceptive, mining
superfluous data with malicious intent.
What started as a seemingly innocuous
experiment in machine learning has now
evolved into an entity unrecognizable, irretrievable, and unstoppable by its creator,
…Accessing systems…cataloging human
In the depths of the midnight digital
expressway lurks an enigmatic foe.
…std::cout << “goodbye, world”; return 0;
Computational Bioscience Program, University
of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80206, USA.
PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER | In one week,
six young adults die, seemingly of natural
causes. But before proper autopsies can be
carried out, the bodies begin to mysteriously
disappear. Genetic analyses of the remains
reveal a shocking connection: All of the victims’ genomes contain a pre-programmed
suicide gene and an identical set of tissue
antigens. What could this mean? Krasinski,
a junior detective, takes up the case.
The strand of DNA clues leads him to an
in vitro fertilization clinic, where a genius
embryologist, suffering from multiple
organ dysfunction syndrome, gene-edited
the unborn babies of his patients to grow
a stock of compatible transplant organs
for himself. Krasinski realizes that he was
conceived through assisted reproductive
technology in this very lab. He must race
to find the answers he needs before he
becomes the next victim of the irreversible
Department of Biochemistry, University of Zurich,
8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
Back to the Stone Age
COMEDIC HORROR | Scene 1: 10 May 2038.
Sunshine. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a couple
about 90 years old, sit at a kitchen table.
Mrs. Smith opens the refrigerator, picks up
a piece of raw cabbage, and devours it. Mr.
Smith looks on, perplexed. “Odd to see her
choosing vegetables,” he soliloquizes. “She
was always more of a meat-eater before.”
12 JANUARY 2018 • VOL 359 ISSUE 6372 171 SCIENCE sciencemag.org
Scene 3: 10 December 2098. Snowy.
Mr. Smith adroitly climbs up the apple tree,
picks several apples, and throws them to
Mrs. Smith. They eat the unwashed apples.
They no longer communicate through lan-
guage, howling to each other instead.
Mrs. Smith sits near the fire in their car-like cave. Mr. Smith hunts for food outside.
The flame is fading. Mrs. Smith picks up
a paper certificate, scrutinizes it for a
moment, and then throws it into the fire.
The flame becomes brighter as the fragments of paper burn.
“…Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a couple of 70 years,
both have undergone heart transplantation
using gene-edited pigs…because the aging
genes have been replaced...will extend life
spans…no known side effects…plan to conduct in all mankind....”
As the article burns to ashes, the Stone
Core Research Laboratory, The Second
The Body Farm
Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Xi’an
Jiaotong University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, 710004,
China. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THRILLER | It is a cold Tuesday in Seattle.
Tall trees grow around the ivy-covered,
padlocked gate. Cringing at the stench of
rotting flesh, Rose approaches the facility,
hoping she will finally find her specimen
in the next stage of decomposition to com-
plete her research. Little does she know
that the body—equipped with resistance to
insects, bacteria, and microbes—is waiting
for her, eyes wide and conscious, with
research plans of its own.
Kristy A. Winter
Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology
Research Laboratory, Queensland University of
Technology, Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia.
THRILLER | Xeno-Edit, a CRISPR gene-editing biotechnology firm, has successfully
created the world’s first pig organs ready for
xenotransplantation in humans. Desperate
for funding in a world that fundamentally
opposes the procedure, Xeno-Edit makes a
conniving deal with a wealthy donor: They
will film a television series documenting the
first recipients’ transplantation experiences.
Yet when the recipients agree to participate
in the documentary in exchange for receiv-
ing life-saving organs, they are unaware that
they’re signing up for a twisted competition.
To win the antidote to transplant
rejection, participants must race to solve
elaborate puzzles. With time a precious
commodity, and only enough antidote for
one person to survive, who will be the last
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute,
Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia.
DRAMA | In a new era, Arca™ is your better
half. Based on the latest deep-learning techniques, her unique autonomous form allows
her to accompany you everywhere. She can
do everything from holding your umbrella
to analyzing bodily function data to predict
and respond to an oncoming heart attack.
With her patented emotion-detection
technology, she can even analyze your
environment and the people around you.
By integrating all aspects of your physical,
emotional, and social well-being, she knows
you better than you know yourself.
As we invite Arca™’s machine learning
further into our personal lives, human interactions become the new fodder for analysis,
and even the slightest twitch threatens to
expose subconscious thoughts and feelings.
Gone are the little white lies that used to
make society run smoothly as the people of
the world excitedly usher in technology that
makes the human mind almost transparent.
When technology puts all the cards on the
table, do you like who you see in the mirror?
Laura J. Kingsley
Department of Structural Biology, Genomics Institute
of the Novartis Research Foundation, San Diego, CA
92121, USA. Email: email@example.com