Futurists on Reddit are up in arms about a recent update to Kickstarter’s project guidelines that states that creators can’t offer “genetically modified organisms” to backers as a reward for donating to the project.
The rule change, instituted on July 31st, comes on the heels of the uber-successful funding of the Glowing Plants project in June, which uses “synthetic biology and Genome Compiler’s software” to create “sustainable natural lighting.” Creator Anthony Evans and team are currently offering glowing plant seeds as a reward to backers who pony up $40 or more.
As the rule was instituted after Glowing Plants launched, Mr. Evans will still be allowed to give glowing seeds to backers, but the science savvy looking to use Kickstarter as a platform for their harebrained genetics experiments will not be able to offer GMO’s as rewards. Budding genetic scientists are welcome to submit their projects to Kickstarter, but as the platform has no “science” section, science-oriented projects must also fall into another one of Kickstarter’s categories, like tech or design.
A petition from Avaaz.org circulating on Reddit calls for Kickstarter to repeal the new guildeline in order to make way for the great genetically engineered future:
Genetic engineering is going to become commonplace, it’s going to become a personal thing, a new art form as creative as painting or sculpture. Kickstarter could be a great force for good in the world aiding the introduction of this technology, they should allow release of creations so long as they are legal and ethical.
The petition has over 500 signatures. Meanwhile, this petition, also on Avaaz.org and with almost 15,000 signatures, wants Kickstarter to ban bioengineered organisms altogether. Nobody tell Ray Kurzweil.