Benji: A Brief History of the Man Who Brought the Intelligence of Search to our DNA


Session Title:

  • Sniff, Scrape, Crawl: Part 1

Presentation Title:

  • Benji: A Brief History of the Man Who Brought the Intelligence of Search to our DNA




  • Panel: Sniff, Scrape, Crawl: Part 1

    “We used to think that our fate was in the stars. Now we know that, in large mea­sure, our fate is in our genes.”  _James Dewey Wat­son

    Benji is a fic­ti­tious en­tity that jour­neys into the world of bio-in­for­ma­tion as a com­mod­ity and con­se­quently en­vi­sions the prospects of ge­netic dis­crim­i­na­tion and the in­creas­ing per­son­al­iza­tion of mar­ket­ing strate­gies. Named after the child of Sergey Brin, co-founder of and Anne Wo­j­ci­cki, co-founder of (a pri­vately held per­sonal ge­nomics and biotech­nol­ogy com­pany), Benji rep­re­sents the ide­o­log­i­cal and eco­nomic union as his­tor­i­cally prac­ticed in royal po­lit­i­cal mar­riages and com­monly wit­nessed in cor­po­rate merg­ers. In­her­it­ing strands from both par­ents, Benji’s mis­sion is to be the world’s lead­ing DNA search en­gine. Using state of the art tech­nol­ogy, Benji matches you di­rectly to per­son­al­ized ad­ver­tise­ments based on your class rank which is de­ter­mined by an ad­vanced analy­sis of your ge­netic code. So rev­o­lu­tion­ary is it, that even be­hav­ioural pat­terns can be de­tected to pre­dict and pre­empt every de­ci­sion so that your con­sumer crav­ings may be sat­is­fied. This nar­ra­tive also touches on the su­per­nat­ural pow­ers that users imbue in search en­gines or per­haps tech­nol­ogy in gen­eral. Re­flect­ing on the ir­ra­tional and yet con­vinc­ing mech­a­nisms of be­lief ex­pe­ri­enced in for­tune telling and horo­scopes, a cer­tain will­ing­ness to be­lieve is per­haps key in cre­at­ing more pos­si­bil­i­ties to dis­crim­i­nate.

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