When reading this article I was struck by this paragraph and I think it best sums up the argument of this article. J. Robert Oppenheimer said. “It is not possible to be a scientist unless you believe that the knowledge of the world, and the power which this gives, is a thing which is of intrinsic value to humanity, and that you are using it to help in the spread of knowledge and are willing to take the consequences” (13).
The most profound consequence, if you could call it that, is that of a potential takeover of the world by the “superior robots” or an accidental or intentional release of some toxic substance whether it would be a nanotechnology device or some type of biological weapon that obliterates all life of Earth.
The analogy he makes to describe the robot takeover is profound “In a completely free marketplace, superior robots would surely affect humans as North American placentals affected South American marsupials” (3). This statement by itself doesn’t seem too bad without knowing the background of it. However, the placentals from
I feel less cause for concern for the robot takeover because robots are not as advanced as biological weapons but maybe in the near future this may become a greater threat. Alternatively I think he has a very valid and urgent cause for concern when it comes to the biological and genetics part of his argument especially when it comes to the point of Drexler’s “gray goo” (10).
I feel he is credible because he is a co-founder of Sun Microsystems and the computer as we know it would be vastly different if it weren’t for him. He is responsible for some of the internet programs we use today like Java. Even so, a lot of the things he writes about are not in his own field of work but when he talks of fields of study other than his own he uses the work of other reputable scientists. He seems to just have compiled ideas from them and interpreted and summarized them.
I think the response to Joy should be for the scientific community recognize where to stop their research if their work could become dangerous and uncontrollable, but the hard part to that is knowing exactly when their work may become too dangerous and as a scientist one may become blinded as to the danger of their own work. Also, who is to say what is dangerous and what is not, the government? It also brings to bear the question of intellectual property rights. And who is going to stop a rogue scientist who continues their dangerous work in a private, maybe secret setting. In relating to Oppenheimer’s quote -- when do the consequences become too great to continue the spread of knowledge?