[ExI] the next big thing: was RE: proposed moratorium...

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Apr 18 04:53:49 UTC 2009

Mike Dougherty wrote:

> spike wrote 
> >    So my question is this.  What is the next big thing that is analogous to
> >    these, where almost no one uses it now, but after it makes market
> >    penetration, to do without it would cause widespread panic or even large
> >    numbers to perish?  What is the next big thing?  Is there another
> >    big thing
> >    coming?

Now the most interesting interpretation I have of Spike's
idea, which I think he did imply, is what would kill
a lot of people were it magically to fail.

Spike mentioned

     "the ones I thought of: running water, reliable
     electric power and internal combustion engines.
     We would likely all agree here that if any of
     these three were to suddenly break down, society
     as we have known it would suffer greatly."

I think that he should have combined the last two of his
examples. I.e., suddenly without running water, millions
around the world would die (I'd guess). Similarly, without
electric power *and* the internal combustion engine, many
millions would die. But if just one of the latter were to
fail, I think that although greatly impoverished, few
would die.

Mike contributes to this:

> In-home fabbers.  They don't even need to be nanotechnology-powered 
> magic.  If the current generation of 3d printers/prototype machines were 
> at or below the cost of a large-screen TV, it would change the way we 
> see "everyday" items around the house.  Make these devices capable of 
> recycling their own output for source material on new products and 
> they'll be replacing Wal-Mart for cheap goods we "gotta have" this 
> moment and don't need the next.  Hmm... maybe that won't cause large 
> numbers to perish... :)

Well, I can imagine people becoming so dependent on what
you suggest that indeed many people would die if it all
suddenly broke down. For it could happen with matter
compilers that a lot of people would move to where sun
energy was cheap, set themselves up on an acre or so,
and forget about the rest of the world. Then indeed many
would perish should something happen to their matter
compilers (though I may have taken liberties with your
basic idea of fabbers).


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