# 2016 news

created: 31 December 2016; modified: 19 Jun 2018; status: finished; confidence: log;

This is the 2016 summary edition of the gwern.net newsletter, summarizing the best of the monthly 2016 newsletters:

Previously: 2015.

# Writings

Despite taking two long trips and some personal troubles (plumbing, an epic laptop failure, & law enforcement), 2016 was a much better year for my statistics & writing than 2015:

Site traffic was healthy: 635,123 pageviews by 312,659 users.

# Media

## Overview

Continuing the 2015 trends, 2016 was a banner year for AI & genetics.

In genetics, the growth of UK Biobank and the introduction of LD score regression & other summary-statistic-only methods continued driving large-scale results; the study of human genetic correlations made an absurd amount of progress in 2016, demonstrating shared genetic influences on countless phenotypic traits and pervasive intercorrelations of good traits and disease traits, respectively. Detecting recent human evolution has been difficult due to lack of ancient DNA to compare with, but the supply of that has grown steadily, permitting some specific examples to be nailed down, and a new method based on contemporary whole genomes may blow the area wide open as whole genomes have recently crossed the $1000 mark and in coming years, scientific projects & medical biobanks will shift over to whole genomes. Another possible field explosion is genome synthesis - I was astonished to learn that it is now feasible to synthesize from scratch entire chromosomes of arbitrary design, and that a human genome could potentially be synthesized for ~$1 billion, which would render totally obsolete any considerations of embryo selection/CRISPR/iterated embryo selection, with an active advocacy effort for a genome synthesis project to be launched. 2017 will bring further discoveries of how humans have adapted to local environments and their societies over the past centuries & millennia. Honorable mentions should also go to the steady (and disquieting) progress towards iterated embryo selection, and a scattering of results from the continuously-growing-sample-sizes GWASes: as predicted, the education/intelligence hits have increased drastically as sample size increased, and the historically difficult targets of personality & depression have finally yielded some more hits. One particularly intriguing GWAS focused on violence & criminal behavior with good results, so that trait will yield as well to further study. Past GWASes continued to be applied; the results of Belsky et al 2016 will come as no surprise, but will frustrate the critics who insist that all non-disease results are methodological artifacts or merely reflect population structure. CRISPR progress continues as expected, with the first uses in humans in 2016 by Chinese & American scientists.

## Books

Nonfiction:

Fiction:

1. Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, by Gerard Manley Hopkins (review)

## TV/movies

Nonfiction movies:

Fiction:

Anime: