Author of I Am Legend and

Biotechnology in I am Legend

Whenever there's a problem that threatens the entire planet, Will Smith is on the scene. Whether it's rumbling with invading extraterrestrials (Independence Day), keeping neighborhood aliens in line (Men in Black), or corralling anthropomorphic robots who just don't want to get along (I Robot), Smith is your ultimate white hat. Now, in I Am Legend, he's back in action to save humankind from itself.

Problem is, he's too late. As the film opens, we find Smith as the only bit of humanity left in Manhattan. He alone can enjoy the Big Apple's urban amenities and stiff sales tax. Smith strongly suspects he's the only normal person on Earth (a belief he shares with many of my relatives).

What happened? Well, it's not space aliens that are making sure no one has a nice day, nor is it androids lacking in social skills. It's not even a trendy environmental catastrophe invoked by Hollywood scriptwriters to wipe the world clean of Homo sapiens. It's our own scientists, once again doing more harm than good.

The fear of genetically-modified food has been slightly transmogrified into a horror tale of genetically-modified medicine. Imagine this: it's but a few years hence, and science has conquered cancer. Yep, just one little pill, and you can stop worrying about America's Number Two Killer. The trouble is you have to worry about Number One - which is that little pill. Despite tests on ten thousand people, the nerds down at your local research lab have pulled a boo-boo. It turns out there are some less-than-desirable, long-term side effects to this wonder drug, most notably death. Ninety percent of the population takes the pill, and succumbs pronto. Most of the rest get turned into a cross between a vampire and a zombie. That's an unattractive hybrid incidentally, which warps their personality to that of a rabid dog, and adds insult to injury by morphing their complexion to that of the Borg Queen.

Well, with six billion dead patients, you might cautiously venture that this biotech cure is worse than the disease, and the inventor is probably not going to get the Nobel Prize for Medicine this year.

More:

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