Re: poly: Immortality and Historiography

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Tue Dec 30 1997 - 09:50:58 PST

Greg Burch, <>, writes:
> Some of the most important sources of historical information are personal and
> institutional records made public only after the death of the authors.
> Effective personal immortality or even significantly lengthened personal
> lifespans might well restrict the availability of such resources for
> historians.
> [...]
> I wonder what other factors we might look to to offset the negative impact
> immortality may have on historiography? What might the long-term effect of
> this restriction on the historical record be?

Some authors have suggested that technological advances will make secrecy
and privacy a thing of the past. Ubiquitous cameras, even gnat-sized or
smaller, will be able to peer over our shoulders and snoop into all of our
affairs. David Brin develops the possible consequences of his idea in a
recent Wired article and in an upcoming book.

If so then there won't be any problem, everything will be out in the
open and there won't be any secrets to make public later. Of course the
changes to society if this should come to pass would be so dramatic as
to be virtually impossible to comprehend.

OTOH it may be that countermeasures will become possible as well, at
least within restricted regions. Nanotech expert Josh Storrs Hall has
invisioned a "utility fog" which would surround the participant with a
web of nanotech "foglets" capable of projecting any image and creating
most solid objects. Invisible from the inside, the fog could be an
opaque barrier to thwart spies. Less advanced methods might use clean
room technologies to scrub spy cameras from the air, and shielding to
block EM emissions.

It will be interesting to see how the offense/defense dynamic plays out
as spy technology advances.

Received on Tue Dec 30 18:02:28 1997

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