Re: Killjoy Bill Joy and the scary nanotech, biotech, robotech future

From: Jeff Davis (
Date: Tue Mar 21 2000 - 23:22:58 MST

Do you ever get the feeling that just plain ol' luck is behind much of what
happens in life? Are the Bill Joys, Alfred Noyces, Bill Gateses, etc,
really supreme geniuses, or did they just win some kind of global lottery.
No question, that when opportunity knocks, you have to get up and answer
the door. But you also have to live in the right neighborhood, and be at
home at the time. You could add to that, your parents answering their
respective doors before you, and their parents before them. An amazing
string of sevens at the cosmic crap table leads to the founding of a Sun
Microsystems, an Intel, or a Microsoft.

I have no doubt that Bill Joy is a very talented software architect. But
it would surprise me a whole heck of a lot if most of the folks on this
list couldn't have done all that Bill Joy did, had they been in his shoes
when opportunity--the silicon revolution--came knocking. Read the bio part
of his wired article. Between the lines I got the impression that when he
was at Berkeley, buried beneath his work, the OTHER Sun Microsystems
founders came and found him. Dragged him off. Now he thinks he's hot shit.

"Mommy, mommy, the future scares me!"

Go back to Aspen, Bill. Write some more code. The future doesn't need YOU.

I listened to the NPR program. I have a coupla of comments.

Bill says we should pause, and think about the wisdom of proceeding with
these scary technologies.

The future is coming, Bill. Like a juggernaut. There'll be no slowing it
down. A billion people in India (substantial numbers of programmers riding
the wave of the silicon revolution) and more than a billion people in China
want a decent standard of living and they're counting on future
technologies to deliver it for them. To slow down the future, you would
have to nuke them. Are you going to nuke them, Bill? I didn't think so.
Then listen to them laugh at you, Bill, as you sit on your deck, and sip
your latte, in your palatial mansion in trendy Aspen, Colorado. And listen
to the future roaring in on you, on us all, unstoppable.

Bill says the scary terrorist may get us all.

Done a lot of sitting in your luxuriously appointed office, with the
breathtaking view of the Colorado Rockies, listening to your yes men with
their bobbing heads, saying, "Yes, Bill. Yes, Bill." ? Or perhaps, you've
just spent too many years--your whole life?--staying up late writing code?
Not a lot of experience with,...what do they call it?,...ah, yes, REALITY.

Try this, Bill. The terrorist thing,'s mostly a fabrication. You
see, people like scary stories. So the media puts out a whole lot of them.
 Makes them lots of money. The name Steven King mean anything to you?
Then there's the politicians. They love the boogeyman. The Kraut, the
Jap, the Commie, the fag, the jew, the arab, the narco-trafficker, the
terrorist. The politician says, "The comm,,..terrorists are coming.
Vote for me. I'll save you." Then, of course lately, what with peace
having broken out since the demise of the evil empire, the entire national
security beauracracy has been frantic to hustle up a new boogeyman. Got
mortgages to pay, kids to feed. International terrorism, that's the
ticket. But perhaps all the terrorist hype has overwhelmed you, and you
can't see past it. Try this instead.

The nanobots and biobots that frighten you so?, well you know, they have
huge military potential. So before your demented evil genius terrorist
fiend, goes down to his corner "Bot-R-Us" store, with global mayhem--even
unto the extinction of the human race, including Bill and his kids--in
mind,... Before that happens, governments will have spent hundreds of
billions of dollars and millions of man hours conjuring up every kind of
offensive use, defensive counter-measure, plan, strategy, scenario, weapons
system, policy issue, cost-benefit analysis, yadda yadda yadda--enough to
make every taxpayer get down on his knees and pray for human extinction.
What chance really, does your lone terrorist have against all those
resources marshalled against his tender little psychosis? Really Bill, you
need to get out more.

So, bottom line, this Wired article thing? A major publishing coup for
Wired News. That's their business, and they done real good. A super scary
story about really scary high technology, even now emerging--as heralded,
ta, taaa!, by Wired News-- from the semi-irrelevance of science fiction to
the mind-shattering preeminence of science non-fiction, and brought to you
by the much envied because he's very rich and very prestigious because he's
very rich, wunderkind of the silicon digerati, trendy Aspen Branch, no
joy, Killjoy, Bill Joy. Yippeee!

Enjoy this momentary return to the spotlight, Bill, cause it looks like
puffery to me, and not likely to last.

                        Best, Jeff Davis

           "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                        Ray Charles

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