Re: Coming Ecological Catastrophe

Alexander Chislenko (
Mon, 03 Feb 1997 13:00:02 -0500

At 07:47 AM 2/3/97 -0800, Hal Finney wrote:
>Perhaps technology will soon vastly outdo nature in generation of
>diversity, comparable to the degree by which rockets outpace cougars.
Humans still prefer to watch cougars - or other humans, for that matter.
Never mind they are a lot slower than rockets. If they look more like you,
you identify with them more.

>Our nanites and computers will create ecosystems far exceeding the
>complexity and diversity nature has been able to clumsily stumble upon in
>its few billion years of undirected evolution.

I think it already happened with the *pace* of diversity creation.
Memetic innovations (all new texts, programs and speeches generated now
and stored for further selection and replication) seem a lot more
dramatic and numerous than genetic innovations have ever been.

> If so, then demolishing
>the rain forests and replacing them with the ultra-exotic designed
>ecosystems of the future may be the road to maximal diversity. I don't
>think we'll sign up many traditional environmentalists for this program.

"Natural" - that is, suggested by economic utility - development of
innovations would probably bring to life lots of complex information
structures and some efficient generic physical media for carrying them.
Those are not fun to lie under though, unlike palm trees.
So somebody would have to redesign the ecologies for just that -
recreational purposes. And while humans admire diverse surfaces and shapes
of the New Nature, its insides may be filled with adjustable computing
architectures doing something useful, and new materials tested in multiple
automated research experiments.

Supporting huge territories filled with sparse original life forms?
It may be done if there is enough interest in it. Not very often,
compared with better ways of using it. Biological world never left
huge territories of bare stone to preserve the pre-biological environment,
and I can't blame it.

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