Re: Nanotech promotion and post-government feasibility

Jeff Davis (
Wed, 08 Sep 1999 10:40:15 -0700

Joseph Sterlynne (
Mon, 6 Sep 1999 14:22:42 -0600 writes:

>> Jeff Davis <>
>>> Robert J. Bradbury (
>>> It seems the role of government gets very small.
>>If nanotech is globally ubiquitous in the home consumer version (as
>>contrasted with the, in my view unlikely, weapons-capable version), so that
>>everyone makes their own power, food, clothing, housing, clean water, etc,
>>then why does anyone go to work?
>This is an old question but: why would you assume that the people who
currently wield a certain
>amount of power (due to wealth, military force, political position, et
cetera) will simply allow
>something like nanotech to end up as such a ubiquitous, reliable, and
useful consumer device?

There is a kind of traditional paranoia about "the powers that be", that depicts them as some "Star Chamber"/Trilateral Commission ultra-elite that pulls all the strings via some old boys spook network or somesuch thing. I don't buy it. It's too simplistic. And it's too Hollywod. The world's too complex for that. There are too many independent agents, too many randomizing factors. The power people have to work at keeping things going the way they want them to.

More believable to me is that technology drives the evolution of culture. Technology is the wave everybody--the power people included--rides or is carried along by. And since nanotech/self-replication abundance is unstoppable technology, the power elite can't stop it even if they wanted to. If for no other reason than that, in the period between its first invention and global ubiquity, it will be the most unprecedentedly powerful profit machine ever known. Its inventors will become the global oligarchs in the new, howbeit transitional "economy". Ambition will find a way.

>We've been wondering how the public will
>react to transhumanist ideas and new technology. We have to make sure that
we will be able to
>>Nanotech abundance is the culmination of everything mankind has worked for
>>since the first proto-human hefted a rock. Once the word gets out to the
>>huddled masses yearning to breathe free, its achievement is unstoppable.
>Unless we actively make the changes humans will just continue hefting
those rocks against each
>other, even if they are diamonds.

Again, I will state, in my opinion, almost all human conflict is the result of competition over limited resources, mostly basic human needs. Once these are met in abundance, I believe there will be markedly less rock throwing, either individually motivated, or by social group manipulation, ie interpersonal violence or warfare, respectively.

Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles