X-Message-Number: 10627
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 09:05:20 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10620 - #10625

Hi everyone!

To Peter Merel: I've already described how nanotechnology won't equal
a matter duplicator. As for the economic changes it will cause, I
have this to say. First, I doubt very much that "nanotechnology",
whatever it is, will suddenly burst on the world with all its 
capabilities ready for use. That idea stinks of religious ideas 
about the Millenium, actually. Over time we will be able to manipulate
matter more and more powerfully, and this includes not only matter on
very small scales but matter on very large scales, too (like moving
planets about). But at any one given time, there are going to be
limitations on what we can do. And as I said, even if there were not
the issue would become that of what to make, not where to get the
materials to make it.

As for scarcity itself, I would say that we've already passed way
beyond the level of "need", so that even complete control of matter
at all scales (which will never actually come --- the operative words
are "complete" and "all" here) just won't change our economics so
much that we won't want more than we have. After all, you can exist
quite well in a relatively small space eating monkey chow, with water
to drink (monkey chow is a variety of animal food for monkeys, just
like you normally buy dog chow). The cost of both the space, the water,
and the monkey chow will be quite small.

But you know, for some reason nobody seems satisfied with that. And if
everyone is as wealthy as Bill Gates, then we'll still have things we
want but find that they aren't easy to get ie. cost us money and time.
Just think a bit: the day will come when Bill Gates new house will 
look like a primitive hovel. And Bill Gates will seem like an ignorant
savage (I doubt that he's even trying for immortality). 

To Ralph Merkle: For a long time I myself have felt that "soul" is the
appropriate word for what we really want to save of ourselves. And yes,
it is a structure of our brain, not an object in itself like a piece
of brick is an object in itself. But what you say makes me wonder if
perhaps we all ought to adopt that term; it would certainly make it
easier to explain our ideas to Christians and others.

			Best and long long life for all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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