Is Google a New Science Fiction Sub-Genre?
August 5, 2016
Science fiction is a genre that inspires people to seek the impossible and make it a reality. Many modern inventors, scientists, computer programmers, and even artists contribute their success and careers from inspiration they garnered from the genre. Even search engine Google pulled inspiration from science fiction, but one must speculate how much of Google’s ventures are real or mere fiction? Vanity Fair questions whether or not “Is Google’s BioTech Division The Next Theranos?”
Verily Life Sciences is GoogleX’s biotech division and the company has yet to produce any biotechnology that has revolutionized the medical field. They bragged about a contact lens that would measure blood glucose levels and a wristband that could detect cancer. Verily employees have shared their views about Verily’s projects, alluding that they are more in line to fanning the Google fanfare than producing real products. Other experts are saying that Google is displaying a “Silicon Valley arrogance” along the lines of Theranos.
Theranos misled investors about its “state of the art” technology and is now under criminal investigation. Verily is supposedly different than Theranos:
“Verily, however, is not positioning itself as a company with a salable product like Theranos. Verily ‘is not a products company,’ chief medical officer Jessica Mega argued Monday on Bloomberg TV. ‘But it’s a company really focused on trying to shift the needle when it comes to health and disease.’ That’s a distinction, luckily for Google, that could make all the difference.”
There is also a distinction between fantasy and a reality and counting your chickens before they hatch. Google should be investing in experimentation medical technology that could improve treatment and save lives, but they should not promise anything until they have significant research and even a prototype as proof. Google should discuss their ventures, but not brag about them as if they were a sure thing.