Prince Charles gets nervous, neo-Luddite meme gathering steam

Russell Turpin deafbox at
Mon Apr 28 17:23:44 PDT 2003

Jeff Bone:
>Now, for completeness, argue the other side.

Do I have to do everything around here? ;-)

(1) The kind of nanotech that leads to grey goo
nightmares requires either (a) modification of
existing self-assemblers, e.g., virii and bacteria,
or (b) creation of new kinds of self-assemblers.

(2) This provides a narrow focal point for regulation,
since for almost all economic purposes, companies
and individuals can purchase the nano-tech results
rather than self-assemblers or the technology to
create them. Attenuated vaccines are the prototypical

(3) Work on neural prostheses, neurological
architecture, and other fields that eventually lead
to brain-machine interface and uploading does not
require extensive distribution of self-assembler
technology. Even in the scenarios where a nanomachine
solution bathes the brain, with the nanomachines
hooking into it, this requires only that an adequate
solution is on hand, not that they self-assemble.
Hence, such work should be allowed to continue.

That doesn't argue the complete non-regulation case,
but the transhumanity case within narrow regulation.
Happy, now?

Both this and the previous argument focused on the
issue of massive die-off or extinction-level risk
from abuse of technology. I fully support the notion
that people should be free to use neural prostheses,
eventually leading to complete, artificial neural
architectures. I've never heard a plausible nightmare
scenario coming from that. Yeah, OK, so now there are
all these supersmart artificial beings who are
superior investors and who therefore become super-
rich and powerful, and who live longer than normal
lifespans. If that is a threat, all us regular folks
should get together and shoot Warren Buffett and
Strom Thurmond. Sounds silly, right? Just let Warren
Buffet manage your retirement portfolio. Strom
Thurmond will die in his own time. He may have driven
a hard bargain, but I'm sure the Devil didn't give
him more than 120 years. ;-)

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