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Why The Future Doesn't Need Us
Atec February 29 2008 20:16:19


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.'"

Clarke continued: "Looking into my often cloudy crystal ball, I suspect that a total
defense might indeed be possible in a century or so. But the technology involved
would produce, as a by-product, weapons so terrible that no one would bother
with anything as primitive as ballistic missiles." 10

InEngines of Creation, Eric Drexler proposed that we build an active
nanotechnological shield - a form of immune system for the biosphere - to defend
against dangerous replicators of all kinds that might escape from laboratories or
otherwise be maliciously created. But the shield he proposed would itself be
extremely dangerous - nothing could prevent it from developing autoimmune
problems and attacking the biosphere itself. 11

Similar difficulties apply to the construction of shields against robotics and
genetic engineering. These technologies are too powerful to be shielded against
in the time frame of interest; even if it were possible to implement defensive
shields, the side effects of their development would be at least as dangerous as
the technologies we are trying to protect against.

These possibilities are all thus either undesirable or unachievable or both. The
only realistic alternative I see is relinquishment: to limit development of the
technologies that are too dangerous, by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of
knowledge.

Yes, I know, knowledge is good, as is the search for new truths

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