sat 17 feb 2007 16:37:15 raamgracht
it seems that all technology spreads and grows cheaper over time -- regardless whether we're talking about a plough, a railroad, a telephone, digital video, or weapons that kill. the increasing power of everybody, to do anything, means it's pretty dangerous to invent something.
but we can't help inventing.
just as ordinary people can now fly in planes, speak on phones, publish their thoughts worldwide, they can also bring guns to school and build bombs from common chemicals. the little man can have a big impact.
nowadays the big news is how the existing club of nuke-ready nations are trying to put the genie back in the bottle, and keep other countries from getting the bomb. the "western" powers think it's terribly destabilizing if iran develops a nuclear weapon, but they're cool with israel's nuclear program. they even seemed to be cool with israel locking away mordecai vanunu in solitary for all those years, because he revealed israel's nuke program to the world press.
big government invented the computer around the same time it invented the atomic bomb. i'm glad that computers proliferated faster than nukes. but all technology tends toward "democratization". so to be prepared for the next 1000 years, we need to imagine living in a world where every individual has the capacity to destroy the world. cuz you know what? that's only a slight exaggeration of the fact. in some way, big or small, each of us *does* have some ability to either improve or annihilate our species.
this scattering of increasing power to do both good and evil shows no sign of stopping. no police state can contain it. police states are never permanent anyway; sometimes their reign doesn't even outlast the fame of a film star.
that's why we need to invent people with a stronger sense of responsibility, to go with their increasing power.