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Bill Joy and the Dangers of Technologies

Bill Joy expresses a powerful pessimism about the dangers of technologies that may be developed later in our century. Joy also a muted optimism about humans' ability to use ethical principles to avoid those dangers. What are Joy's best reasons for being pessimistic? What are his strongest reasons for expressing optimism? As you consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of those reasons, explain whether and why you find yourself more pessimistic or more optimistic about the issues that Joy raises.

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Let me throw out a bunch of sources and ideas to get you started. I'm better at the pessimistic stuff than the optimistic.

I think our best bet here is just to describe the basics of the two approaches.

Bill, the pessimist:
Here are the basic points that he might make (references are after them):

1. Entertainment technology is creating realism beyond our wildest imaginations. How will this affect kids? How long before fantasy and reality become blurred given this radical level of realism in special effects, etc.

2. High tech lifestyles promote multi-tasking. Yet, there are many studies out there saying that multi-tasking makes us stupid because we can never focus on one thing.

3. Technology, as it develops becomes more complex. Hence, it means that we are more dependent on specialists than ever before.

4. How much of this stuff can we afford? How much of this stuff just invites spying from both private and public sources? Who decides who has access to our info?

5. From the IMF? Really? http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2007/02/pdf/4sum.pdf
The gist here is that technology creates inequality. The greater the inequality, the greater ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines Bill Joy and the Dangers of Technologies.