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Re: [nanotech] Digest Number 177

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  • Eugene Leitl
    ... You make it sound as if collectively we had any choice whatsoever in the matter. ... People involved with nano who re going to make the difference will be
    Message 1 of 53 , Mar 16, 2000
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      Samantha Atkins writes:

      > In point of fact nanotech provides most of the raw means to build a
      > heaven on earth. Just add that very difficult to come by commodity that
      > nanotech does not provide, wisdom. That and the will to do so.

      You make it sound as if collectively we had any choice whatsoever in
      the matter.

      > Do you imagine that the people involved with nanotech are only
      > guru-directed drones incapable of grasping the possibilities and
      > generating their own implications and passions? Is this a claim that
      > people can not or will not think for themselves and are at the mercy of
      > charismatic leaders? If so I would suggest you speak for yourself.

      People involved with nano who're going to make the difference will be
      the R&D mainstream, both in the industry and academia, soon. It will
      be a big crowd, and a highly heterogenous one, both in respect to
      creed and personality. Trying to say anything specific about them does
      clearly lead nowhere.

      > Heh, there is nothing at all wrong with being passionate. Passions give
      > us zest and energy for the work at hand. The possibilities for good

      Too much strong emotion has the unfortunate effect of inhibiting
      ratio. Because of so much is at stake we can't afford not to tread
      carefully and wisely here.

      > (and for ill) are in fact truly staggering and quite stirring
      > legitimately of passion. That doesn't mean we don't ground the passion
      > in reality. After all, the most passionate passions in nanotech are
      > about extending what is possible in *reality*, not in some fantasy
      > land. But how on earth can one not be passionate about the possibility
      > to effectively end material scarcity, clean up the environment totally,
      > acheive near immortality, make space and the stars available to humanity
      > and so on? It doesn't get more enticing nor provide more room for

      Especially transcending the narrow limitations of humanity. I don't
      know about you, but I'm tired of being stupid, limited in space and in
      time, ignorant, vulnerable and powerless.

      > changing the world for the good than this. Only the dead could feel
      > dispassionate in the presence of so much.

      Don't forget, we're living in very interesting times. If you only see
      an Eden ahead, I recommend a quick connection to the reality. Fantasy kills.
    • Eugene Leitl
      ... About the same as South American marsupials were tolerated by mammals, I guess. Or as prebiotic ursoup was tolerated by the first autoreplicators, and
      Message 53 of 53 , Mar 28, 2000
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        Samantha Atkins writes:

        > Fine. But the point of bringing the book up was as an example of how
        > transhuman and human species (and several things in-between) might all
        > exist and tolerate each other. Infinite increasing space is not

        About the same as South American marsupials were tolerated by mammals,
        I guess. Or as prebiotic ursoup was tolerated by the first
        autoreplicators, and their successors.

        > necessary to that point. Nor is it inevitable that exponential growth
        > is the norm although many of your posts seem to assume that it is and
        > this will lead to an inevitable conflict that will wipe out humanity as
        > we know it.

        Stochastic variation over a population. Self-selection for most
        autoreplicative systems. It ain't pretty, but this is how the world
        works. You might reject it, but you will have to eventually deal with
        it, so putting on blinders is not a constructive strategy. YMMV.

        > Infinite enlightenment is not required for peaceful coexistence. Just a
        > bit of tolerance. Much, much easier to come by. Especially if the

        Tolerance requires sentience. Water hyacinth is not sentient, nor are
        Oz rabbits sentient.

        > interests of the different groups involved diverge enough and/or the
        > supply of what they commonly want is more than sufficient for all
        > concerned.

        > I expect they will have their bad-asses and that they will be in some
        > sense policed and dealt with much as our own are.

        Police and nuke microorganisms out of existance, in an attempt to keep
        a few patches of agar sustainably uncolonized. Would seem an excersise
        in futility, wouldn't it? Moreover, why would you do it? Is agar so
        dear to your heart to go through all the hassle?

        > Perhaps it is because you are not harping on evolutionary biology basics
        > but own an interpretation of evolution and the application of that
        > interpretation to future species whose characteristics we can only
        > vaguely guess. The introduction of intelligence throws a bit of a kink
        > in too simplistic evolutionary models.

        Does intelligence give you complete control over yourself and the rest
        of the biosphere? Do you understand the impact of Godel and
        undecidedability on information ecologies?

        > Why exactly will they have little to fear from each other? Where is the

        For the same reason you don't expect to be eaten alive when walking
        out of your house door. Unless you happen to be a piece of
        comestibles, you're more or less safe, especially if you're at the top
        of the food chain. But the food is far from being safe.

        > natural competition with flesh beings for all too limited mutual desired
        > resources?
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