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Thus we have the possibility not just of weapons of mass destruction but of
knowledge-enabled mass destruction (KMD), this destructiveness hugely amplified
by the power of self-replication.
I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of the further perfection of
extreme evil, an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond that which weapons of
mass destruction bequeathed to the nation-states, on to a surprising and terrible
empowerment of extreme individuals.
Nothing about the way I got involved with computers suggested to me that I was
going to be facing these kinds of issues.
My life has been driven by a deep need to ask questions and find answers. When
I was 3, I was already reading, so my father took me to the elementary school,
where I sat on the principal's lap and read him a story. I started school early,
later skipped a grade, and escaped into books - I was incredibly motivated to
learn. I asked lots of questions, often driving adults to distraction.
As a teenager I was very interested in science and technology. I wanted to be a
ham radio operator but didn't have the money to buy the equipment. Ham radio
was the Internet of its time: very addictive, and quite solitary. Money issues
aside, my mother put her foot down - I was not to be a ham; I was antisocial
I may not have had many close friends, but I was awash in ideas. By high school,
I had discovered the great science fiction writers