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. They will
have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.1
In the book, you don't discover until you turn the page that the author of this
passage is Theodore Kaczynski - the Unabomber. I am no apologist for Kaczynski.
His bombs killed three people during a 17-year terror campaign and wounded
many others. One of his bombs gravely injured my friend David Gelernter, one of
the most brilliant and visionary computer scientists of our time. Like many of my
colleagues, I felt that I could easily have been the Unabomber's next target.
Kaczynski's actions were murderous and, in my view, criminally insane. He is
clearly a Luddite, but simply saying this does not dismiss his argument; as
difficult as it is for me to acknowledge, I saw some merit in the reasoning in this
single passage. I felt compelled to confront it.
Kaczynski's dystopian vision describes unintended consequences, a well-known
problem with the design and use of technology, and one that is clearly related to
Murphy's law - "Anything that can go wrong, will." (Actually, this is Finagle's law,
which in itself shows that Finagle was right.) Our overuse of antibiotics has led to
what may be the biggest such problem so far: the emergence of
antibiotic-resistant and much more dangerous bacteria. Similar things happened
when attempts to eliminate malarial mosquitoes using DDT caused them to
acquire DDT resistance; malarial parasites likewise acquired multi-drug-resistant