1011Re: [nanotech] Re: Bill Joy (Japanese)
- Aug 7, 2000In a message dated 00-08-07 19:12:57 EDT, you write:
> You may be interested in a science fiction book, _The Cassini Division_ byThanks. My favorite nanotech novels tusfar are the "Slant" books (by Bear?)
> Ken MacLeod, that explores nanotech, economy, power, war, Singularity, and
> conflicting cultures. I didn't notice any blatant mistakes in the tech.
Did anyone notice that nanotech played a big role in the latest Clive Cussler
Dirk (Raise the Titantic) Pitt novel. In fact, Drexler and his wife were
mentioned by name.
> In the broadest sense, exercise of power simply causes change. Change mayI thin k individuals (including indivisuals with great secular power) can
> 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.
have a "social conscience, but I don't think a state can. (as an aside,
that's why I'm against capital punishment, but I'm for a well-armed citizenry
with legal concealed carry).
> I suspect "natural" diamonds will be worth more than synthetic diamonds,and
> the price even of synthetic diamonds will be kept high. Probably some ofOK.
> the poorest mine workers will lose their jobs, but the rich owners will do
Speaking as a geologist (that's what my degree is, even if I haven't
practiced for over a decade), I'd say it depends on how good the synthetics
are. Synthetic rubies never really caught on big-time, even really lovely
star rubies. But synthetic emralds are very popular. And cubic zirconia in
general drove down the market for cheap diamonds. Every diamond mined (on
the average) kills about 2.5 antelopes (because of the way South Africa is
fenced off and because of the way water was redistributed). I think if cany
synthetic diamond marketers did their job, they could make them a credible
> Of course that's just one product, and certainly there will be massiveLong term, certainly. Short term, probably not. Combinational chemistry
> economic disruption once we get flexible factories.
hasn't distroyed the market for botanical drugs for instance.
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 ofIt was frustrating. I played a relatively minor, but direct role in two
> 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?
big-league "supressions" back in my technical jorunalist days. One was for
"TENS" units (the devices that kill pain via an electrical charge). The
other was "in situ vitrification" (wherein hazardous and/or radioactive waste
is cheaply and permanently enclosed in a pool of molten glass.) In one case,
I had Johnson and Johnson threatening to sue. In the other case, I had the
governor of New Jersey threatening to have me arrested! In both cases, the
inventions were eventually "outed" and are now moderatly successful
commercial products. In both cases, the technology was suppressed for over
ten years. I believe there *are* still "supressed invention" use groups.
There used to be anyway. They kind of blend into the urban mythos. I could
post more on this, but this probably isn't the appropriate forum.
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 cleanI was actually thinking it might be good if both blue and grey goo were
>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?
pretty difficult to make. As hard, say, as a nuclear bomb. Not something a
bright grad student could do (or a tinpot dictator).
> What do you see as the problems with germ-level gene therapy? I haven't yetI think it is dangerous to screw around with germ-level genetics without
> 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?
knowling the consequences. Maybe we could fix our mistakes and maybe not.
For instance, I don't *really* think that AIDS is a manmade mistake, buit it
could have been. How much damage might we inadvertantly cause before we
could fix it?
> I've heard that HeLa cell cultures do take over 'most any other cellculture
> in the lab or cell library, and that this has caused the loss of a lot ofThat's a good point. I was thinking more along the (fanciful) lines 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. >>
Aldous Huxley's "Tissue Culture King" or Edgar Rice Burroughs "Synethetic Men
of Mars" type tissue culture problems. Of course, we now know tissue culture
doesn;t work those ways. But both were throught to be fairly accurate
extrapolations at the time.
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