Re: Arguements against human enhancement?

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Tue Jul 31 2001 - 12:15:41 MDT


On Tue, 31 Jul 2001, wrote:

> I explain this by referencing other technologies such as the telephone, television, computers and cell phones. At first, only those with money or connections had them. Today, in downtown Los Angeles, there are more Mexicans using cell phones than executives. Currently, most everyone has a TV, or access to one. Remember when a well-known scientist (name intentionally left out) asked, "Why would anyone want a computer in their homes?" (paraphrasing). Today, almost everyone has a computer in his home, or access to one.

Ah, but even this example illustrates the dangers of lock-in. TV and
radio are going to remain locked-in until they become obsolete
altogether, in that the government and large media companies have
successfully colluded in raising the entry barriers to would-be
broadcasters. To own a radio or television station, you have to be
sanctioned by the FCC. To appear on anything other than a local public
station you need to be sanctioned by a media company that has been
sanctioned by the FCC. Today, in the intellectual property, anti-drug,
and child-protection witch hunts we see attempts to likewise lock in
the internet. Next will come the genetic frontier.

Let's take cars. You can't legally own or operate a vehicle without
giving your state government detailed information about yourself and
giving a big wad of cash to a car insurance company. Furthermore, the
car you buy will have been made by one of a handfull of giant,
government subsidized automotive oligopolists.

So yes, in the end everybody gets to have consumer products based on
new technologies as deemed appropriate by allied state and corporate
interests. What concerns me is who controls the content? Who controls
what uses are permitted?

Lock-down appears to be a stage in the development of many technologies.
The lifecycle should perhaps read:

eary adopters, chasm, niche market, <INSERT>censors, authoritarians, and
monopolists</INSERT>, general public

Perhaps the short-term limit on each new technologie's potential is how
long those first few stages can be stretched out. Now THAT's something
worth examining closely-- what features of a technology maximize its
decentralized character? Probably something to do with inherent entry

> I'm not scared about this issue at all. I don't see the rich and powerful as frightening. I rather enjoy many of them. :-)

I meant, I'm frightened of the possibility of lock-in, not of any agents
or class of agents. Heck, unless I get smacked in the head with a bowling
ball chances are good that I'll join their ranks one way or another.

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