So here is a problem I have with people in general.
They are afraid to try new things.
And not in a “try this new kind of burrito it’s totally awesome” kind of way either. No, more in a “I’m not letting my kids get immunization shots because they are the devil” kind of way. And it’s infuriating.
Fear, to me, derives from a lack of tangible understanding about a given subject. The whole “you fear what you don’t know” thing. And it makes sense. You can’t really trust something you don’t know or are not familiar with. But if we didn’t take chances, make mistakes and get messy then we’d all still be living in caves. New technology can be scary and dangerous, yes, but we can’t be afraid of progress.
“But Doc! Some of these new technological advancements that you are so fond of, like synthetic biology, can be very dangerous and used by bad people to hurt others!”
Yes it can. Lot’s of things can be used to hurt people. But the benefits can outweigh the risks. For example, nuclear fission was not intended for use in balls-devastatingly deadly bombs when the process was initially discovered. And airplanes! They were super dangerous when they were first invented. They were also not initially intended to be used to drop bombs on people. But nowadays, after a lot of trial and error, airplanes are the safest and fastest form of travel available. And if we’d listened to Edison on how dangerous Tesla’s AC power was NONE of us would be reading this article right now.
No, not everything works out for the better. And yes, it is dangerous to research new and exciting technology because , as a general rule, if some fancy new scientific discovery stands to do a lot of good it could also likely be used to do a lot of bad. Does that mean we should stop? I don’t think so.
Don’t be afraid of the future.