Re: ENTROPIAN ALERT! Another warning for us to organize

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Thu Mar 01 2001 - 02:39:56 MST

On Wed, Feb 28, 2001 at 12:45:33PM -0800, wrote:
> Max forwards from
> I know we should be disgusted and frightened by this movement, but oddly
> I had a different reaction while reading the article.
We shouldn't be disgusted and frightened: rejection of change is a
perfectly normal human reaction, and it would be astonishing (and
disturbing) if nobody reacted that way.

> After all these years that we have been talking about these ideas to a
> disbelieving world, here is a group that really gets it, that actually
> believes us. They believe in biotech, in nanotech, in computers and AI
> and human-machine melding. The believe that it can utterly reshape
> the world.
> The only problem is, they hate the idea.
> But still, to have a group believe, even though they are opposed,
> is worth something. At least its a reaction. Opposition is better
> than apathy.

And here's another thought: we need critics.

It is generally a bad idea for new technologies to be adopted in a spirit
of uncritical optimism, without anyone keeping a weather eye open for
hazards and problems. I know these campaigners are anti-everything, and
for that matter probably *too* critical to serve as useful critics, but
I get worried sometimes when, reading this list, I see nothing but
optimism about the future. It makes me wonder if we haven't failed to
spot something bad.

Final point: in making comments about the awfulness of using
nanotechnology to clear up pollution, the most extreme anti-technology
types will be undermining their own public support. I'd expect the *real*
debate to be more moderate than what was reported here, once it gets
under way.

> In the end they will be forced to adopt a more nuanced position,
> accepting some technologies while questioning others. This will lead
> to less stridency and hopefully allow for a more open dialog.
> We need to have a discussion, a global conversation about where we
> are going and what we will do when we get there. Turning Joe Sixpack
> soccer hooligans into immortal beings of pure energy isn't going to
> happen overnight. The sooner we get started talking together, the better.
> Hal


-- Charlie

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