Robin Hanson to Technophiles: Get Real
By Bryan Caplan
I’ve often heard Robin Hanson called a “space cadet” or even a “replicant.” So it’s pretty dramatic to see him throw cold water on his fellow cadets:
Sigh. The US government spends more on space research than on NIH and NSF combined, which most scientists consider far out of proportion to its science value. Most any ambitious tech project, like floating cities, 3DTV, or robot mules, gives similar indirect tech spinoffs per dollar spent, and surely we can find other projects with larger direct payoffs. Sure the Chinese might have colonized the Americas, but we can see now there are no similarly lush gardens accessible in space – we’ll colonize Antarctica and the Earth oceans long before, as these are far less harsh environments with plenty of the sunlight and materials which are mainly what space has to offer.
Technophiles, I beg of you – don’t throw Robin out the airlock! 🙂