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Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

Patrick O'Neil patrick at corona
Tue Feb 14 23:41:10 EST 1995

On Tue, 14 Feb 1995, Peter Merel wrote:

> If you gentlemen would like to read Eric Drexler's books, "Engines of
> Creation" and "Unbounding the Future" then you might start to bring
> your speculations into the nineties.  Drexler's no snake-oil merchant;
> he's a professor at MIT and the instigator and leading light of the 
> Nanotechnology movement.
> Drexler's ideas suggest a future of boundless wealth, opportunity and
> adventure, not for a few billion, but for trillions. Drexler's science

I know of his fantasies.  Be that as it may, I would prefer that you move 
to another planet if you wish to live shoulder to shoulder with trillions 
of people.  I don't know about you (you may be a Republican ;) ), but I 
really do like to go out for hikes, and on camping trips, etc, and I like 
the fact that this can be done without ever seeing another person, nor 
any houses, nor any cars, etc.  I rather like forests, plains, deserts, and
so forth.  I would just as soon engineer a virus strain that is aerosol 
transmissible, perhaps a hemmorhagic flu, in order to correct the 
population bomb downward towards the 2 to 3 billion mark than live in 
utter muck with trillions.  If I wanted to live in the heart of New York 
City I'd move there tomorrow.  With trillions of people about, the entire 
surface of the planet would be New York City.  No thanks, I like the rural 
life just fine, thank you.  Little robots are not the Golden Grail of 
happiness and luxury.
In any case, forget about futurist babble.  In the 20s and 30s, it was
predicted, quite seriously, that by the 70s EVERYBODY would have their own
airplane or some version of an aircar.  Futurists are notorious for being
bad shots.  OK, give us the nanomachines, with limits, but keep your
trillions in Drexler's own fevered imagination.  Note: being the spawn of
MIT doesn't prevent one from being a fool nor a fruitcake.  There are also
real good computer geeks out there from CalTech and the like who would
practically like to marry their hardware too, or would equate "cybersex"
to the real thing.  Does the fact that they can write good code or design
a good calculating chip mean that their views on what life should be are
the ones everyone should want?  Yeah, right.  

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