Re: will the government allow the public direct access to nanotech??

Date: Thu Jan 20 2000 - 01:46:36 MST

Genetic engineering would also tend to make most drug policy irrelevant.

Want to keep narcotics illegal, fine, someone could just splice in a few more
endorphin genes.

Want hallucinations, just adjust the ratios of some brain receptors.

Want some speed, just crank up epinephrine and norepinephrine in the brain.

It will be impossible to outlaw these since they already occur in the human
body. All that could be done is regulate the levels at which you could set
receptors and/or production. Or outlaw human genetic engineering
altogether...but of course it will be hard to contain biotech since it can be
very low profile. And if the method of genetic engineering is elegant
enough, it might be impossible to prove that any changes had been made at all
(unless you want to require everyone have their genome recorded at birth).
Of course, genetic alterations which currently fall outside the human gene
pool would be detectable.

    Bottom line, trying to outlaw and search for these kinds of mind
alterations would require a very invasive government, and I think for very
little return. On the other hand, if we could master such internal mood
alteration (I think I hear echos of the Hedonistic Imperative in my head), it
might be wiser to make such activities legal and simply subject to
regulations for safety.

    One last thing. When you add to genetic technology more nanotech that
might give anyone the ability to alter their genes at will...well, now you
might as well just admit it is coming.

    Okay, maybe that wasn't the last thing. I just want to say that I
against the use of most illicit drugs at this time. It seems to me that
using current pharmaceutical technology to try to alter the mind is like
using a sledgehammer to hammer a screw into a precision clock...its a really
bad idea unless you're desparate and that is all you have. If you already
have a fairly healthy brain and functional mind, it seems like a poor
risk/benefit trade-off to try to use current tech to improve it. That's why
I would by and large limit drug use to treating illness. Now the above
mentioned future techniques of localized, endogenous changes to brain
chemistry will likely have the necessary level of finesse to try to upgrade
conscious mood and experience. So for now, I recommend staying off drugs
unless you need them, and work on biotech and nanotech (or are they one in
the same<g>).

Glen the Rambler

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