Many of you will recall Bill Joy’s famous article in Wired called Why the future doesn’t need us, where he expressed concern about various technologies including advanced nanotech. Apparently he gave an update of his views on this in his talk for TED, viewable here. An excerpt:

So if we can address, use technology, help address education, help address the environment, help address the pandemic, does that solve the larger problem that I was talking about in the Wired article? And I’m afraid the answer is really no, because you can’t solve a problem with the management of technology with more technology. If we let an unlimited amount of power loose, then we will — a very small number of people will be able to abuse it. We can’t fight at a million-to-one disadvantage. So what we need to do is, we need better policy. And for example, some things we could do that would be policy solutions which are not really in the political air right now but perhaps with the change of administration would be — use markets.

Whether you agree with him or not, it’s a useful discussion to have. As he says:

We can’t pick the future, but we can steer the future…So we can design the future if we choose what kind of things we want to have happen and not have happen, and steer us to a lower-risk place.

Check it out. —Chris Peterson