X-Message-Number: 10945
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: Once more, the Eloi
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 23:36:13 +1100 (EST)

Hi everyone!

I note that Mr. Smith once more urges the value of becoming one of the Eloi.

We already have computers that do many things we cannot do ourselves, at least
in the sense that we cannot do them as fast, and often could not do them
at all. No doubt we will expand and increase this ability of computers in 
the future. But there is an essential difference: without us requesting inform-
ation from the computer, the computer is no more than a big slab of 
electrical devices. 

No doubt we could if we wished create computers that could ask their own 
questions and carry out their own investigations. I do not doubt that at all.
But to simply do that and then go off and dance in the Sun is exactly to
become an Eloi. I do not intend to become an Eloi, regret that Mr. Smith
does (not that I can stop him) and hope that most people on Cryonet
would not be satisfied with such a state, just as I would not be satisfied
with such a state. 

In one short story (actually in several, but it showed up most clearly in
one) that I wrote for the fiction magazine once produced by Fred and Linda
Chamberlain, one of the characters was essentially using such a computer,
through connectivity into his brain. He could exchange that computer for
another to solve some different problem (since if we carried all such
computers around with us we could not move at all). I say this not to 
promote it but merely to point out that we already have a symbiosis with
our computers, one which might be improved, but also one in which we play
an essential role. There is nothing at all in technology which says that
we should or must become Eloi.

And to anyone who reads this and doesn't know who the Eloi were, I 
recommend reading Wells' TIME MACHINE. And yes, if we are to live forever
we will also grow, in ways hard to predict now. 1000 years from now I
may not even remember the first 100 years of my life. But then the 
first few months of a baby's life decide lots of things, too.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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