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1010Re: [nanotech] Re: Bill Joy (Japanese)

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  • Christopher J. Phoenix
    Aug 7, 2000
      At 10:46 PM 7/31/00 EDT, DonSaxman@... wrote:
      >In a message dated 00-07-31 21:27:11 EDT, you write:
      >First, it is often hard to tell who the good guys are. If some future power
      >used nanotech-enabled warfare for their version of good (in self defense, for
      >instance), is that OK? If there is a nano-defense against, say, poison gas,
      >shouldn't that defense be persued?

      You may be interested in a science fiction book, _The Cassini Division_ by
      Ken MacLeod, that explores nanotech, economy, power, war, Singularity, and
      conflicting cultures. I didn't notice any blatant mistakes in the tech.

      >Second, any exercise of power, even in a non-aggressive manner, is "horrible"
      >to the target, or even to the bystander. If a nano-factory produces cheap
      >manufactured good, what happens to the displaced third world factory worker?
      >If nanites mine metals from seawater, how many countries' economies collapse?

      In the broadest sense, exercise of power simply causes change. Change may
      be good or bad, and should be done responsibly. The trouble is that a lot
      of change can't be planned. "Social conscience" is the best answer I've
      come up with.

      >We may find out relatively soon. Drexler's first dream was to
      >nano-manufacture diamond atom by atom. We're getting pretty close to that.
      >When GE or Dow Corning or whomever starts churning out gem-grade diamonds in
      >bushel-sized lots, what's going to happen in South Africa?

      I suspect "natural" diamonds will be worth more than synthetic diamonds, and
      the price even of synthetic diamonds will be kept high. Probably some of
      the poorest mine workers will lose their jobs, but the rich owners will do OK.

      Of course that's just one product, and certainly there will be massive
      economic disruption once we get flexible factories.

      >All that said, I don't think we can stop it. I started writing a book on
      >supressed inventions once, but it got too depressing (especially depressing
      >was the good chance I'd have been sued by somebody or another). Most of the
      >good stuff was supressed for economic reasons, not enlightened self interest.
      > And most of the time, the good ideas didn't stay suppressed for long.

      I'd love to see your notes for that! I wonder if there's any way of
      distributing them that 1) preserves your IP; 2) protects you legally; 3)
      makes them useful even in an unfinished state? Hmmm... perhaps a
      slashdot-style website where you post your references on each invention and
      other people write the comments?

      >Anyway, nanotechnology research is (by now) too distributed, and there is too
      >much interdisciplinary overlap to effectively control or spike. All we can
      >hope for is that it is pretty easy to get some great nanotech benefits and
      >pretty hard to cause great damage. For instance, lets hope that blue goo is
      >tricky to design, or that germ-level gene therapy runs into some problems.

      Um, you mean you want grey goo to be tricky? Blue goo is supposed to clean
      up after grey goo. I'd think we'd want blue goo to be easy. Or are you
      thinking that would make totalitarian governments too easy and strong?

      What do you see as the problems with germ-level gene therapy? I haven't yet
      been able to understand why people think it's a bad idea. Presumably within
      a few years we'd be able to undo whatever we did, yes?

      >So far we have been pretty lucky. Nuclear explosions don't propigate into
      >nonfissionables. Ther can be no ice-9. Tissue cultures won't mutate to eat
      >anything organic. You can't make a laser that will slice the earth in half.
      >(All concerns at one time or another).

      I've heard that HeLa cell cultures do take over 'most any other cell culture
      in the lab or cell library, and that this has caused the loss of a lot of
      useful cell lines. As for ice-9 (polywater?), what about prions? A lot
      slower and with limited substrate, but similar autocatalytic process, and
      quite scary.

      Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://www.best.com/~cphoenix
      Work (Reading Research Council): http://www.dyslexia.com
      Is your paradigm shift automatic or stick?
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