Are we over worrying about GNR?

As I told you before, for finishing my assignment of the “Computer Ethics” course, I’m keeping reading and thinking about Bill Joy’s article “Why the future doesn’t need us“. This article is really thought-provoking. Today, I get confusing about how critical is the spreading of genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (GNR).

Obviously, GNR will bring us some change to our life. Joy believed the negative effect of GNR is way greater than positive. I don’t think he is wrong. But I doubt the degree.

Joy discussed the serious degree of GNR by comparing it with NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) technologies. Here are how he said about the comparison,

What was different in the 20th century? Certainly, the technologies underlying the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) – were powerful, and the weapons an enormous threat. But building nuclear weapons required, at least for a time, access to both rare – indeed, effectively unavailable – raw materials and highly protected information; biological and chemical weapons programs also tended to require large-scale activities.

The 21st-century technologies – genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (GNR) – are so powerful that they can spawn whole new classes of accidents and abuses. Most dangerously, for the first time, these accidents and abuses are widely within the reach of individuals or small groups. They will not require large facilities or rare raw materials. Knowledge alone will enable the use of them.

What is doubtful for me is, is knowledge enough for making such destructive thing by GNR? Building NBC weapons need rare raw materials and tools, so it is relatively safer than GNR. But don’t we need some highly precise tools to operate GNR stuffs in a microscopic view? One who has GNR knowledge may be able to build such tool, just as one who has NBC knowledge can build tool for implement nuclear bomb. But that’s extremely hard.

So, my conclusion is, a thought that GNR is very dangerous just because it can make destructive affect when people only have such knowledge is over worrying.

Maybe that made me happier about human’s future.


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