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Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

Patrick O'Neil patrick at corona
Sun Feb 19 18:27:36 EST 1995

On Sun, 19 Feb 1995, Denis Loubet wrote:

> >> What kind of technical people are US universities turning out today
> >> anyway?
> >>  
> >They type who care about more than their own individual lives.  The type 
> >who wants comforts gained from technology yet not at the cost of the 
> >environment and other species.  The type that would rather have 
> >relationships and interactions with living, breathing creatures rather than 
> >machines and computers...leaving them for what they are:  tools.
> Wait a minute. If you're talking Drexler's Nanotechnology, then there's no 
> reason, other than man's stupidity, that we can't have BOTH our trillions, AND 
> a clean natural environment.
> With Nanotech, we can suddenly create vast arcologies both above and below 
> the earth's surface if we want. We can live in habitats above and below the 
> ocean waves, opening the other 75% of the earth's surface. 

Given a scenario such as this, then I would not be against it at all... 
however, though I understand the very rosy picture painted by such as
Drexler, history demonstrates that such imagined scenes do not come to
pass.  What has always occurred (and I can see no particular reason as of
yet to believe such will not continue to occur) is that people go for the
quick and easy IMMEDIATE goal:  give me a job NOW, give me medical care
NOW, give me this, give me that NOW - and at no cost to me, me, me.  The
result is they vote for politicians who work on the short view while
pretending to take the long view (NONE have broken this chain).  What you
suggest (and Drexler) is a complete break from all the patterns of the
past, planning for the long view with a real plan.  The picture you paint
could not occur without a great deal of long planning and sticking to the
goals that may well conflict with IMMEDIATE desire.  Otherwise, IF such 
things came to pass, it would be by happenstance and in a far-off future.

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