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In that article he argued that growing advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology would bring risks to humanity. He argued that intelligent robots would replace humanity, at the very least in intellectual and social dominance, in the relatively near future. He advocates a position of relinquishment of GNR (genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics) technologies, rather than going into an arms race between negative uses of the technology and defense against those negative uses (good nano-machines patrolling and defending against Grey Goo “bad” nano-machines). Many of his arguments have been addressed by Ray Kurzweil and by others.
Bill Joy has been called, among other things, “The Edison of the Internet,” for his role in inventing and perfecting some of the most important networking and software innovations upon which today’s Web operates.
Many of those creations predated his co-founding of Sun Microsystems, a company that reached the billion dollar sales mark quicker than any computer hardware company in history.
But over the years, Joy also has acted as the intellectual conscience of Silicon Valley, warning of the excesses of the Dot Com Bubble long before others, cautioning proponents of bio-engineering not to race too far ahead of their understanding of the full consequences of their genetic tinkering, and raising early alarms of the dangers of computer viruses and other nefarious forms of software technology.
And today, as a partner at the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Joy is playing a key role in reorienting much of Silicon Valley’s capacity to invent toward “green” technologies.