Re: UPL: Cautious Plans?

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 09:51:13 -0800

>>If you don't consider uplift at least as risky as working with
>>bioweapons... _why_?
>Because we are dealing with a multicellular animal. Much easier to
>control than current microbes. Also, the octopus is a marine
>animal. Despite its escape artist skills, it will be much easier to
>control such an organism, which is less likely to, say, escape to
>the oceans from my apartment than, say, an uplifted rabbit or dog.

For the record, I'm speaking boldly in these matters because it's important
that someone do it. I don't mind sounding foolish.

These are points I figured you'd mention, and they seem sound. But permit
me to remind you that microbes don't think for themselves, and as far as we
know don't take an interest in their whereabouts.

I don't know if you're familiar with Dr. Fouts' work with the signing
chimpanzees (including the famous Washoe). One of the points he raised in
discussions with me was that the chimps were all stuck in an environment
not unlike a prison camp. How grateful/cooperative/happy/docile do you
think the organisms you choose to uplift will be? Or are you just thinking
of the final result? This is another reason, perhaps, to prefer mammals--I
suspect people can learn to "read" them easier. OTOH, a chimp with a pull
strength of half a ton could dismember a human if it ever seemed like a
really good idea, and Fouts still had all his arms & legs last time I saw
him. :)

Daniel, I'm not just worried about a team of red octopi storming the
streets outside your apartment armed with steak knives and carrying
sandwich-bag knapsacks of seawater (:)). I'm concerned that you not blind
yourself to _possible_ real danger to _yourself_ should you start to succeed.

>Daniel Ust