Feb 14, 2018

Michael Goguen to Discuss Promise and Perils of Gene Editing

Michael Goguen

As part of FVCC’s 2018 Honors Symposium, technologist and venture capitalist Michael Goguen will speak about “Re-Programming Evolution: The Promise and Perils of Gene Editing” on February 20 at the college. Free and open to the public, all Honors Symposium lectures begin at 7 p.m. in the large community room in FVCC’s Arts and Technology building.

During his 20-year career as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley with Sequoia Capital, Goguen and his partners sifted through thousands of technology pitches to spot the early ideas and technology inflection points that could cause the most dramatic and enduring impacts on society. The ideas they chose to support included Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, AirBnB, Uber and many others.

According to Goguen, recent technology breakthroughs have brought us to what is perhaps the most promising yet perilous inflection point in human history. As part of his Honors Symposium lecture, he will explain how advances in computing, DNA sequencing, and the newly discovered precise gene editing technology called CRISPR-CAS9 have combined to suddenly give humans the power to permanently alter the “programming” of life itself.  Goguen will make the case that these advances in technology have the potential to eliminate some of our most pressing problems, but if misused, they could create unprecedented perils for humankind.

Prior to working with Sequoia Capital, Goguen spent 10 years in various engineering, research and product management roles at Digital Equipment Corporation, SynOptics, Bay Networks and other tech companies. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Now a full-time resident of Whitefish, Goguen is well known for his philanthropic activities in Montana. He founded Two Bear Air Rescue in 2012, a search and rescue operation he funds at zero cost to taxpayers and users.

The Honors Symposium continues a tradition of bringing thoughtful public discussion regarding current hot-topic issues to the Flathead Valley and is funded in part by Humanities Montana, the Kalispell branch of the American Association of University Women, FVCC Alumni and Friends, and the Theodore Chase Endowment Fund.

Subsequent lectures in this year’s Honors Symposium include:

February 27:  “The Internet of Things at BNSF Railway” presented by Mike Garcia, Director of Technology Services – Modern BI & Mechanical Systems, Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

March 6: “Technology and China’s Rise to Great Power” presented by Dr. Karen Adams, chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Montana, and; “Haunted by the Cyber Ghost: National Cybersecurity Policy and Transatlantic Collaboration” presented by Dr. Eva-Maria Maggi, professor at the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona and at the Department of Political Science at the University of Montana.

March 13: “Cyborg Senses: On the Cusp of a New Era in the Philosophy of Perception” presented by Dr. Brian Keeley, philosophy professor at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

March 20:  “Computers, Automation and the Human Future” presented by Nicholas Carr, journalist, Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author.

For more information, visit or call symposium organizer Dr. Gerda Reeb at (406) 756-3889.