Got it? (Was: genius babies)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Aug 10 2000 - 06:00:19 MDT

Regardless of what we may think of Rifkin he seems to be one of the
people who Get It when it comes to upcoming changes in the human
condition and our relationship to nature. That doesn't preclude him
from making huge mistakes (like the fourth law of thermodynamics), but
he seems to share an understanding with us what technology may be able
to achieve. The same goes for Bill Joy.

The big difference is basic values: we embrace change and
possibilities and think that a dynamist process can solve problems,
while Rifkin (and Joy to some extent) instead see these changes as bad
and undesirable, and that they pose threats that can only be dealt
with using technocratic or reactionary methods. The values are basic
and not likely to go away just by some side having good arguments,
what can be dealt with is how they are expressed and implemented.

There are a lot of people out there who Don't Get It, of course. When
they hear about nanotechnology they say 'Oh, a better way of making
stuff. So what?' since they don't see the vast mesh of drastic changes
such a technology would lead to. Maybe they are a bit imagination
challenged :-) Also, we should remember that they are a necessary
antidote to the 'foo-tech will change *everything*!' meme that easily
enraptures us (and our opponents) - if we have to explain clearly and
rationally just why a certain technology or trend will be likely and
cause major changes, there is a higher chance that we will be believed
and that our ideas subjected to the critical examination (by ourselves
and others) they need.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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