Another techie article from Salon. This time it's an exceedingly breathless article on the Unimaginable New Worlds! destined to arise from nanotechnology.
I'm so sick of these naive scientist jerks. Or worse, the non-scientist followers who treat this stuff like religion and the answer to all their problems.
Just think for a moment, guys: think. A society of highly advanced, nanotechnological, sentient beings is, in many ways, so unremarkable as to be banal. After all, we are currently a society of highly advanced, nanotechnological, sentient beings! And we as a society of beings, have seen fit to commit genocides, invent nuclear weapons, foment terrorism, consign peoples to slavery or starvation or both, and so on and so forth. We have also managed to produce glorious works of art, systems of justice and government, communities based on love or at the very least cooperation. It seems plainly obvious (to me, anyway) that the nanotech society will be precisely the same in these respects. Goldstein thinks maybe we will somehow find the escape hatch for competition by escaping the tyranny of evolution. But he doesn't offer an argument for how that will happen.
The really hard bioethical questions will have, by that time, been answered. That's because we will presumably at that time be building brains, and if we're building brains, then we presumably know how they work, and if we know how they work, we presumably know what's sentient, and it's not knowing what's sentient that causes our thorniest ethical dilemmas today: abortion and animal rights.
On the way to this newfangled world, I am quite sure we will take our nuclear weapons and our starvation and our terrorism to duke it out for the right to decide how this newfangled world will look, and who will get to play, and who will be consigned to obsolescence.
--Melissa O, at 00:12