2019 AMI Online Salon

Plato’s CRISPR

Project Details

  • Entrant Name: Shariwa Oke

  • Membership Type: Student Submission

  • Other Contributors:                         

  • Address: Chicago,IL

  • Client: American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB)

  • Medium/software used: Adobe Photoshop

  • Final presentation format: Printed journal cover

  • Primary Audience: Bioethicists and AJOB journal readers

Project Description

CRISPR is a new emerging technology that boasts many promises of reinventing medicine. This piece, based on an article delving into the ethics behind these claims, was featured on the cover of the December 2018 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics, with the intended audience being bioethicists. The article criticizes the claims that CRISPR is a panacea on the grounds that minorities are often unconsidered during its testing. This piece is an analogy of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The Allegory outlines a scene in which prisoners trapped in a cave see shadows projected onto the wall in front of them cast by people behind them. The prisoners believe this to be reality, but it is only a projection of what the people want them to see. Similarly, in this piece, the prisoner represents a lay person who sees a gleaming, god-like CRISPR as their “reality,” when the truth is what the audience sees behind the prisoner—an infantile CRISPR still in a test tube in the hands of a researcher.