What will widespread access to genetic information mean for society?

As someone who has been exposed to a fair amount of research in the management realm, I am often shocked/awed/dismayed by the use of psychological testing in the hiring process. These tests play a statistical game that really should only be played by those understanding the rules.

When I see these new products in the world of genetic data, like 23andME, I get a little concerned. We might as well accept at this point in time that someday, you will exchange these kind of data either before or after an employment agreement. Many people would consider the privacy factor too overwhelming to expect genetic information to be part of the employment process, but the facts of the reality suggest that private employers are not bound by the same rules for private data as many assume. We are often and quite legally monitored at work, depending upon the state in which we are employed, we can be fired for our political beliefs (even if those beliefs are expressed outside of the workplace).

Anyhoo. Arrington, over at TechCrunch, released some screen shots and thoughts on his test data courtesy 23andME. As the tests that underlie these kind of services grow in size and focus, the data will only get more “reliable.” Firms can and will hire on the basis of the odds expressed in these results.


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