Foresight Nanotech Institute Logo
Image of nano

Defenses against dangerous technologies

from the let-us-reason-together dept.
Technology Fear Factor, by Daintry Duffy and Sari Kalin, originally published in Darwin Magazine May 2002. Published on KurzweilAI.Net July 21, 2002.

Three futurists — George Gilder, Ray Kurzweil, and Jaron Lanier — agree that emerging dangerous technologies will require smarter defenses, such as standards diversity, decentralized systems, a transparent society, better communications between factions, and mutually beneficial collaboration of business leaders.

One Response to “Defenses against dangerous technologies”

  1. Mr_Farlops Says:

    The rarity of the Rodney King video

    Ever since Brin's book, I've been skeptical of the transparent society. The government wants to keep secrets. The private sector wants to keep secrets. These two powerful forces will work to prevent a truly transparent society from emerging. Most of the power is on the side of groups, not individuals, so what is most likely to emerge is a world where individuals have no privacy and groups retain their privacy in the name of security (financial, political or legal security.).

    It is true that the Rodney King video is evocative of what might be possible in a truly transparent society but most of the laws still forbid individuals from documenting the surveillance techniques of organizations (shopping malls, police stations, government facilities, etc.) The cameras are still mostly pointed one way and it is likely to remain illegal to freely point them back.

    Sometimes we are allowed to watch the watchmen, when they make mistakes or when they allow us to but it will remain an unequal relationship.

    I have very mixed feelings about this. The argument I am presently making sounds very similar to the arguments made by those who advocate freedom to own firearms. Something I also have very mixed feelings over.

    Technology continues to amplify the power of individuals but at the same time it continues to amplify the power of groups. On one extreme you have lawless anarchy were anyone is able to strap a suitcase nuke on their back or build nanoweapons in their garage. On the other extreme you have the perfect police state where no-one is even capable of crimethink. Obviously we have to avoid both extremes.

    It's hard for me to see how a truly transparent society will emerge. It's like idealized communism or anarchy; it ignores human nature both individually and collectively.

Leave a Reply