Nature is not destiny. There is no predetermined, so-called "natural" way of life. The idea of the "natural" is severely under question. Nature is the result of repeated contingencies. If, for instance, the dinosaurs had not been wiped out by a random asteroid, then it's unlikely that we human beings would have ever existed in anything like our present form - this form we have inherited: bipedal, mammalian, upright, ten fingers, two opposable thumbs. It has some clear operational advantages, but it is not any perfect or ideal solution. It is a workable, emergent compromise, this rugged, optimal, animal body we have.
- Built on Digital Sand
Put yourself in the position of someone powerful -- the prime minister of France, for example -- in, say, 1870 or so, when Pasteur was going around saying that hygiene could almost entirely prevent infant deaths from infections and death in childbirth. In your position, you have some influence over how quickly this knowledge gets out -- and, thus, how quickly lives start being saved. But you realise that the sooner people start adhering to these principles and washing their hands and so on, the sooner the population will start exploding on account of all those children not dying. What would you have done? -- got the information out as soon as possible, or held it back as best you could in order to delay the population crisis? I have yet to meet anyone who says they would have done the latter. With curing aging, there is no difference.
- Why we should do all we can to hasten the defeat of human aging
Now imagine going back in time to the year 1946 and telling the scientists and technicians who designed and built ENIAC that in the future we would be able to produce a computer millions of time more powerful than ENIAC and that it would fit on your thumbnail and cost less than a penny. My guess it that they would have laughed you out of the room. But, as all of us know, this is precisely what happened. -- Therefore, when experts in the field of nanotechnology tell us that in the not-so-distant future we may be able to grow computers (that is get nanoscopic components to self assemble themselves into a functioning device) which are a million times more powerful than today’s state-of-the-art technology, it doesn’t sound as preposterous—with the benefit of some historical perspective.
- Using History to Better Understand the Future of Nanotechnology
The old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, advises that valuable things should be kept in separate places, in case something bad happens at one of the places. This advice is more familiar to investors in the guise of “diversify your portfolio” and “spread your risk”: one should invest in many different areas in case one area declines disastrously. -- The same principle applies to the big picture. The most valuable part of the universe is life: not only because life is important, but because life appears to be extremely rare. Life and humankind are presently confined to the Earth (although we have built habitats in Earth orbit and ventured as far as the moon). If we were throughout the solar system, at multiple locations, a disaster at one location would not end everything. If we had the technologies to live in the extreme environments beyond Earth, we would be able to live through the extreme environments of disaster areas and other regions of hardship.
- The top three reasons for humans in space
"There are three kinds of people in the world: dicks, pussies, and assholes. Pussies don’t like dicks because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes. Assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is they fuck too much or fuck when it isn’t appropriate. And it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves. Because pussies are a inch and half away from assholes. I don’t know much about this crazy crazy world, but I do know this. If you don’t let us fuck this asshole we’re going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit."
- Team America: World Police