A gene tech tycoon’s creepy real-life ideas demand a sci-fi response

In the future, you and your kids, will have to be perfect.
In the future, you and your kids, will have to be perfect.
Image: EPA-EFE/Sergey Dolzhenko
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On May 28, Wang Jian, the president of Chinese genomics company BGI, revealed at a conference the health rules his company expects employees to follow in the quest for each person to live at least 100 years. Workers must avoid heart surgery, for example. They also can’t have children with birth defects. “If they were born with defects, it would be a disgrace to all 7,000 staff,” Wang said. “It would mean that we are fooling society and just eyeing others’ pockets.”  His speech inspired this sci-fi take.

Hello and welcome to Gene-rosity! I’m Venus, your Human Wealth Division goddess, and I’m here to make sure you—like me—are a god on the job, and beyond.

Sure, we’re only human. Yet we’ve all been chosen for our near-perfection as specimens. Great genes like ours, refined with technology, guarantee health, longevity, success, and the best offspring. That’s why we’ve been chosen to work here. Of course, we’ve also been chosen for our generosity, or gene-rosity as we call it. By being the best ourselves, we help our customers live up to their potential to be more perfect. As the slogan goes, “At Gene-rosity, we live for giving, and we live forever.” We’re looking forward to working with you for the next 100 years, at least.

During your extensive interview and testing rounds, you spoke to many of us, and were physically and mentally probed by most of us. We drew bodily fluids, chatted with and challenged you. So you already noticed, no doubt, that Gene-rosity employees are one big, perfect, generous family.

Practically speaking, this means that—like any family—we can get a bit intrusive. But don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.

We don’t get into this before you take the job, as it’s all rather involved. Now, however, it’s time for the nitty gritty.

Just to be sure that you stick to healthy practices, we’ll be monitoring you pretty closely. Well, very closely, to tell you the truth. Right after this meeting, you’ll head to our Techsture Lab, where you’ll be outfitted with your mood ring, a device designed according to your specifications that acts as a camera and data delivery system. It’s nothing much, but it does help us keep track of your pulse, heart rate, caloric intake, and brain waves.

To make sure your data really is great, you will use every opportunity to improve physical fitness. As you likely noticed, there are no elevators on our campus, and there are bicycles to get around between buildings and to our cafeterias, where all the food is organic and all the recipes and portions are dictated by our Culinary Science group. Of course, you’ll also need to log hours at the company gym, visit our corporate doctors regularly, and ensure your leisure activities lead to ever-improving psychological and physical health. But you’ll learn to love us and appreciate the fuss we make, knowing it’s in your best interest—just like children love their parents.

The upside, of course, is that you will lead enviably long and perfect lives unlike your friends and relatives working elsewhere—or not working at all. Your partners will be cared for with massages, colonics, masks, body wraps, and much more at our Spa Spouse; your children nurtured by the most devoted teachers trained in loving discipline at our corporate-run school. You will be your best self, doing the most you can for your family (which, of course, includes the company).

Now, to give our all to every employee at Gene-rosity is no mean feat. But we in the Human Wealth Division are here to ensure that no god or goddess is left behind, nor any god-child. Every employee, spouse, and kid will be perfect. No defects! If your people are physically sick, or—heaven forbid!—mentally ill, then they just aren’t the best specimens, which is a poor reflection on our family. It’s a shame for the whole Gene-rosity clan. And I have no doubt that you’re willing to sacrifice for a perfect life and child.

So here’s how it goes. Should you somehow—on the off chance and against all odds—end up ill, married to someone flawed, or expecting a child who is, similarly, less than a perfect specimen, we’ll take care of it in-house. That is, you’ll be dealt with internally and given an extremely gene-rous leave package, plus a contract; you don’t disclose your defect or see any doctors outside our happy family.

Likewise, you won’t undergo any kind of medical procedure that would reveal your genetic imperfections to the public. Specifically, that means you see our people and our people only, and our medical specialists will determine what’s best for you, offering all the care you need at the Center for Excellence, where you will kindly retire from public life. In short, you’ll abort troubles before they begin and exercise discretion. You don’t stain our name and reputation, and we don’t stain yours.

Should you insist on keeping your spouse or child, despite lack of suitability, I promise, as a goddess, you’ll feel the wrath of the heavens! You’ll wish, as god is my witness, that you never crossed the Gene-rosity Human Wealth Division. We ensure enduring and excellent lives, but we also don’t mind cutting the fun short when necessary.

Perhaps you’re asking how we will ruin you, what we can really do, but you lack the courage to voice your concerns. Well, that’s great. Don’t be brave. Don’t ask anything. Questions are problematic, and those who have asked only regret it, if they are lucky enough to feel at all, which they are not—I promise.

At Gene-rosity we prefer our gods and goddesses ask not what their corporation will do for them, but what they can do for the company. As our founder, Thor Thunder, always says, “The only question you ever have to ask is ‘How can I be more gene-rous?’”