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June 30th, 2007
Humans and Violence
Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker asserts that: "Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species' time on earth."
This is a highly promising analysis, and Pinker marshals impressive evidence to make his case. Today I'll examine a few points from his essay in more detail, and then consider the conjunction of these trends with the projected impacts of advanced nanotechnology.
This is where the widespread deployment of desktop manufacturing becomes a worry. Unless effective restrictions are in place to prevent dangerous weaponry from proliferating throughout populations, then we may be faced with a true "democratization of violence." The removal of the state's monopoly on force conceivably could plunge civilization into anarchy.
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