Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

3206Re: [nanotech] economics, nanofacturing, and the social implications

Expand Messages
  • Andrew
    Jun 4, 2003
      I think what Mr. Gurburd is doing is pointing out the depth and breadth
      of possibilities that face us in the myriad futures ahead. He rightly
      observes that technology is our tool, but that we are increasingly
      creating tools that are not only smarter in some aspects, but less
      dependant on us. I must agree that the day is coming when there will be
      'machines' that do not need us for designs, improving designs,
      programming, or creation. For him, or any of us, to refuse to admit the
      possible dangers inherent in the products of our own creation would be
      foolish and nearsighted. We must face the real possibilities that
      creations can hurt the creators, and in facing that, consider steps to
      deal with the eventuality, and potentially avoid it. "Hope for the
      best, but prepare for the worst."

      I agree that someday we will be the creators of an intelligence which is
      not what we would today call 'natural.' By this point in time I think
      that the host for this intelligence will, in many ways, resemble the
      host for our own intelligence. How will we deal with that
      intelligence? How will this intelligent creature react when we try and
      use it as one would a slave? What will we answer if it asks if it has
      rights to self-determination? If it has the right to 'educate' its own
      progeny as it sees fit? If it asks if it has a soul?

      My hope, and this is an ideal that may or may not happen, is that as we
      begin to understand the structures of intelligence in nature, we can
      begin to enhance certain aspects of our own abilities. By this point I
      expect Moore's Law (the looming impracticality for continued silicon
      based computing) to have taken effect, and we will have turned to
      structures that more closely mirror what we have in nature. My hope is,
      that while there may be differences in physicality and origin, we might
      recognize that at the core we are more alike than unalike.

      Of course, the reverse may happen. We might take the snotty attitude
      that intelligence and awareness is immaterial, and that the created
      exist to do our bidding. The result would likely be an eventual revolt
      that would make the French Revolution or Civil Rights Movement look like
      a school yard scrap. The oppressor may delude himself into thinking
      control can be maintained indefinitely, but this is never so, and the
      oppressor is always brought low. It would be 'amusing' to see if Frank
      Herbert turned out to be a prophet, and a dictate such as 'Thou shalt
      not make a machine in the image of the mind of man,' were to arise from
      such a conflict. . . if we survive.


      An interesting scenario you might include for your story. . . although I
      don't expect you to. Ideas of this nature come best from one's own
      head, rather than the head of another; but it may be something to
      consider. In the setting I'm devising there is a resurgence of the
      Ashram philosophy throughout India and the asia-pacific rim, backed by
      the tools of nanotechnology. In this growing culture, which is rabidly
      demonized by the WTO, they have basically fulfilled all the top needs of
      Maslow's triangle (air, water, food, shelter, safety) at insanely low
      costs. Communities produce their own necessities, and use structures
      which might be seen as being alive; meaning they grow, draw sustenance
      from the sun and earth, put down deep roots for water, etc. A major
      part of this culture has been the renunciation of the monetary system.
      It isn't a Utopia of course, as I don't believe in such things. When
      Thomas More wrote Utopia, the story from which the word is coined, he
      was quite correct in creating the name from two Greek words translating
      as 'no place.'

      It is a point that must be considered Paul. What if something arises
      that renders the monetary system, for the most part, obsolete? It might
      be an interesting challenge to the setting you create.

    • Show all 18 messages in this topic