[ExI] Meat v. Machine

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Fri Dec 31 22:35:10 UTC 2010

On Dec 31, 2010, at 6:37 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:

> On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 05:06:55AM -0800, Samantha Atkins wrote:
>>> We're only trying to deliver a number of small parcels.
>>> Each smaller than the one before.
>> Not if you want to do any space or lunar processing 
> You need very little yeast to make a big vat of wine.
>> and manufacturing or house any human crews at all.
> Planes fly, pilots stay on the ground.

As already discussed, this is not doable at lunar distances and beyond until the remote systems are much more nearly autonomous.  

>>> It doesn't matter if you lose some parcels.
>> I don't understand what you are talking about.  
> You don't need to man-rate your lifters,
> and no need for mourning ceremony if you
> lose a few (but the flight people will mourn
> for sure).

How many launches by what means are you contemplating.  Current chemical rockets are pretty nasty environmentally and I believe it was you that specified largely chemical rockets for the first leg. 

>>> Do you expect military ecovorous self-replicators 
>>> to be a serious problem, in that time frame?
>> No.  I expect us to suffer the Great Whimper, 
> That is a reasonable worry.
>> or if we have a bit more gumption, throw the war 
>> or series of wars that wipes out our technological 
> I though we've been doing it for a while. None of
> them serious, more skirmishes.

Thus far.  There is no reason to expect them to remain so.

>> basis sufficiently to doom the species in that timeframe 
>> UNLESS we find and do the necessary things in the 
>> next decade, two at the outside.  
> Prognosis is poor, as few see the writing on the
> wall yet.

My greatest source of concern right now is the economic implosion of the US dollar and thus of the greatest military power on the planet.   That could lead to extremely nasty consequences not limited to the US using those weapon systems on any of the rest of the world it cares to blame or that it wants to take something from.  Even without major war much harm will be done to memes of relative freedom especially economic freedom - even though we haven't had all that much of that for a very long time in the US.   The economic ripples from US economic woes would intersect with the home generated ones of the European and eastern countries which would combine with an entitlement mentality and nasty aging demographics.    Capital and freedom for innovation could suffer greatly for a very long time.  A lot of good and necessary things are likely to take much of the blame.

> We might have bit more time than 10-20 years.

I don't think we have longer than that without major internal and external uprisings and wars.  I will happily revise this if we can have this conversation at no more than a hypothetical level ten years from now.  I will revise it if we US doesn't have > 20% inflation and the dollar is still the reserve currency in five years.    

The economic hole the world has dug itself is the one I feel the most helpless to do much about or even get a really good idea of what should be done about it.  I think we have pushed past the point where we can just stand back and let it fall down in a very unpleasant but non-catastrophic way.  And we can't prop it up forever.  

- samantha

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