September 8th, 2008


Future Imperfect

A fantastic talk given by David Friedman at Google where he talks about his new book "Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World.". (via patrissimo.)

The talk explores what disruptive technologies are on the horizon within the realm of possiblity, and what is both a pragmatic way to think about adapting to disruptive technologies in general, as well as some specific effective adaptations we as a society may choose to make.

"What is the response when technology changes? The obvious response is: However hard it is, keep doing what we are doing. That is what the law says, keep enforcing the law. That is the wrong response.

The right response it to say: Whatever we are doing has purposes. We do things for a reason. The relevant question is not 'How do we keep doing what we are doing?' but 'How do you achieve your objectives under the new circumstances.'"

He says smart things on topics such as copywright laws, anonymous contract enforcement, and global warming. Some of the entertaining ideas he explores include: What crime is committed by destroying a frozen body in a world where cryogenics is viable? Who are the legal parents of a child conceived by a surrogate, using a donated sperm and egg? How can public key encrypted make possible Murder, Inc.?

(For impatient readers, you can jump ahead to about 3:00 to skip the introduction and go straight to the talk itself.)