Over at Overcoming Bias, Robin Hanson wonders whether we should go fast or slow with tech development as we move toward a level of development (solar-system wide or interstellar civilization) where we are reasonably not likely to be wiped out in a single incident.
He bases his analysis on how likely we are to stumble (or be otherwise wiped out) along the way.
I’d personally reject that as a valid concern. We don’t have a clue what, if anything, is actually going to wipe us out. If you really wonder what we think now is going to look like 1000 years from now, consider what the medieval philosophers were worrying about 1000 years ago. Yep, we’re that clueless.
A better way to look at the problem is to compare what it was like to live in brave (fast-advancing) vs cowardly (slow-advancing) times. The brave times (e.g. just a century ago) were optimistic times, when people were full of promise and possibilities. The cowardly times were despondent and depressed.
Shakespeare put it like this:
Cowards die a thousand deaths. The valiant taste of death but once.
None but the brave deserve nanotechnology.