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Polygence Scholar2023
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Axen Wetzel

Beaverton Academy of Science and EngineeringClass of 2023Beaverton, OR



  • "Can I develop educational videos to teach the general public about potential applications and ethical considerations of facial construction technologies?" with mentor Emily (July 11, 2023)

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Can I develop educational videos to teach the general public about potential applications and ethical considerations of facial construction technologies?

Started Sept. 28, 2022

Abstract or project description

Our bodies are made up of cells and in those cells there are a bunch of molecules that carry out the functions our body needs. The molecule that directs and codes others is known as DNA, which is the molecule that carries the genes used to code for our traits. Traits can be anything from physical traits like the color of our eyes to the unseen traits like functions in our stomach. Due to the link between DNA and traits, new technology is being developed that can use known genetic information (DNA sequences) to predict visible traits, including a potential predicted sketch of someone’s face. This technology is known as facial construction, and is starting to be used in a wide variety of fields including criminal justice, archeology, and artificial intelligence.

Using published research I will develop a script for 1-3 videos to be posted on Youtube or other platforms. In these videos I will summarize for a general audience how facial construction technology has developed and how it could possibly be used. First, I will explain the science behind it, relevant history and social or societal influences (ie: policies, governments, etc). In a separate video, I will talk in depth about the ethics of the facial recognition and facial construction technologies. I will also hypothesize where the technology is going for the future and the ultimate goals of its developers. In this I will include current use, both helpful and harmful, and how it may be incorporated to current technologies, such as the FBI’s CODIS databases. The CODIS databases are a collection of specific genetic sequences from DNA from arrested people and people whose DNA was found at crime scenes and cataloged for later use. I plan to read a bunch of papers in order to create these videos. The ultimate goal is to educate the public about the potential applications of this technology as it is being developed. My final goal is to conclude my video series by developing potential safeguards of my own against this technology, and to help quell people’s fears of the harm this technology can cause. I will also encourage my audience to read and learn more about this topic on their own, and to consider their own views and perspectives.