[ExI] [wta-talk] Designing and applying technology for the third world

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat Sep 25 19:55:47 UTC 2010

On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 11:36 AM, Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 1:29 PM, Ralph wrote:
>> Also, if you try to put an innovation into public domain, say, on the
>> Internet, it's amazing just how hostile people can become at the drop of a
>> hat when you talk about some way to purify tons of water for Bangladesh, or
>> generate cheap, sustainable, clean energy. I've gotten more accusations of
>> being interested only in fame and fortune -- when releasing a concept for
>> free, under a pseudonym -- just for throwing out some very basic designs.
>> And other weird attacks, where people seemed to feel almost obliged to take
>> down something good, no matter how spurious their arguments, just to make
>> them feel better about themselves. (A sensitive point: An awful lot of
>> people commenting on forums think of themselves an intellectual elites, but
>> haven't actually written so much as a song or invented so much as an
>> eggbeater. So putting out something with the complexity of a two-speed
>> eggbeater really hits them where they're vulnerable.)
>> Granted, I think there's a lot of ego problems on the Net, but I think you
>> could make the case that helping the undeveloped world is at least as much a
>> broad-based moral and ethical problem as it is an engineering one.

I have experienced downright hostility, vicious enough that it was
picked up from The Oil Drum on another blog.

"If you take a few minutes to read this blog, and again the comments,
you find the dissonance on full display. On the one hand you have a
person saying that there may be an energy answer after fossil fuels.
On the other hand you have lots of people not only saying it is not
possible, but directly arguing that a human die-back is more desirable
than cheap energy."


Perhaps the attractive aspect about a die-back is that to get one we
don't need to do a damn thing!

> I am not really sure how to help fix that. I have encountered a number
> of people that fit that description and have those similar reactons.
> Further, I have had people be totally disgusted by the concept of
> sharing hardware designs, because they somehow think I am screwing
> myself out of untold riches and profits. There are a lot of really,
> really messed up, unhealthy emotions floating around in the general
> population. How to help this, fix this, or even just have usable
> responses to this, is beyond me at the moment.

Day after the Singularity U celebration I ran into someone who was as
close to Manfred Macx as you are likely to find.  In about ten minutes
he outlined the need for a DNA typewriter and between the two of us
came up with an amusing way to implement it.  Details on request if
anyone want to actually build one.

Keith Henson

> - Bryan
> http://heybryan.org/
> 1 512 203 0507
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