I recently read David Friedman’s latest book, A Future Imperfect, and thoroughly enjoyed it. He has now posted a series of lectures he has given at different venues, touching on many of the subjects in the book, as well some that were not in the book. Subjects, for example, such as encryption, copyright, how technology is changing legal systems, society, our view of family life, and the like. Definitely worth downloading some of these lectures if you have the time. Ideal for playing on the MP3 player on the way to the office. A definite improvement on listening to the BBC’s Today programme, that is for sure.
In the meantime, here is a quote from the book that I particularly liked. It is about nanotechnology and some of the fears people have, including the “grey goo” issue:
“Before you conclude that the end of the world is upon us, you consider the other side of the technology. With enough cell repair machines on duty, designer players may not be a problem. Human beings want to live and will pay for the privilege. The resources that will go into designing protections against threats, nanotechnological or otherwise, will be enomously greater than the (private) resources that will go into creating such threats – as they are at present, with the much more limited tools available to us. Unless it turns out that, with this technology, the offense has an overwhelming advantage over the defense, nanotech defenses should almost entirely neutralise the threat from the basement terrorist or careless experimenter. The only serious threat will be from organisations willing and able to spend billions of dollars creating really first-rate molecular killers – almost all of them governments.”