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Posted by Harvey on October 16, 2001 16:04:10 UTC

Richard,

I think Hawking made a good move by eliciting his concerns in public. Firstly, I think there is every bit of reason to be deeply concerned over our future based on what a mere physicist can speculate on the prospects of human survival. Although I disagree with his analysis of the nuclear threat as still the highest (which I still consider to be the most threatening since an India-Pakistan, China-Taiwan, etc could set off a chain of events).

That said, I want to again tout my concern over bioengineering. If in the wrong hands this type of engineering could be used to create 'smart' biological organisms capable of defending against our 'offensive' weapons. Yes, maybe the good in society will stay far enough ahead in biotechnology to make such weapons as no match against the current technology (which civilizations could muster to maintain their survival), but the concept of an arms race in biological weapons isn't comforting. It seems the terrorist is always going to be at an advantage if the weapons are easily affordable and easily administrated. In 2001 we can be thankful that this doesn't appear to be the case. I'm not so sure about 2101.

I think Hawking's remarks are sobering. Now, where's those papers on the warp drive and when can Nasa get started...

Warm regards, Harv

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