NOTE: Although it may seem odd, I shall place this disclaimer here just to cover bases. The below comments are the personal view of Peter "Pierrimus" Phelps and are in no way to be construed as an "official" view of the TransMasters Club. It's just my take on it folks, take it or leave it. Please, if you don't like what I say here, try to come up with a civilized arguement rather than a flaming attack of me and my character. I definitely don't want to read those and for sure won't ever publish them here. Now on with it.

If I was to argue against this article my first impressions go directly to the question of change. In our current society where people are being hired and laid off in a constant cycle of either we need them only for a while or we have no employee loyalty (and thus the employees also have none), and the fact that many more jobs are being outsourced to foriegn countries, we are now a society where change is constant. Problems with employment and income then create more problems in the home where stability has been disrupted. Spouces that have good jobs are also thrown into conflict if one or the other's company decides to move them to another location. Divorce rates are high and many times there are children involved whom have to cope with the drastic amounts of change that are involved, expecially if it is a bitter seperation. Were we prepared for this because we did have Transformers as a foundation? Well since I dont' see massive numbers of our society going into depressive fits or commiting suicide, I'd probably say yes. The only true constant is change, although we may strive for a stable and hopefully peaceful environment.

The point he tries to make about our beleif and acceptance that technology might cure all ills, be our friend, and about the arms race being the highest calling don't wash to well with me. Sure I fantasize that some day a "real" Transformer might become my friend and I kept hoping that our work in Artificial Intelligence systems would make this a reality at some point. But, I had one of those moments a long time ago that showed me the difference between reality and fiction. I remember being about 8 and we were going to meet with Robby the Robot in town. We had parked in the downtown tier parking lot. Guess who I saw when we were walking toward the place to meet Robbby? In an alley between the parking lot and the Newstand building here was one guy helping another guy get the Robby suit on. Talk about shattering the entire experience, we just went home after Mom gave them a good yelling at. Biotechnology, Cloning, and Stem Cell research are all important technology issues we face today just as much as when this article was published back in 1988. I am for most of these technologies and have voted for funding to the Stem Cell research. I don't really understand why people are against the use of the materials to save lives or improve the quality of life? To me to waste any resource, especially one that's not wanted in the first place, is insane to the extreme.

Biotechnology has the greatest potential to allow designed foods to grow in places that they wouldn't before. Though, I am sceptical as to whether these might improve or destroy lives. Not enough study has been done to ensure that our manipulations of the genes haven't somehow created another problem (ie. years later we find out that the new corn has caused cancer in 70 percent of the population). I believe the burden of proof is and should be firmly placed on the biotech companies to ensure that their products are safe and cannot harm regular old-fashioned crops. (I know some states are entirely banning biotech because of fears of cross contamination. This is sad, but history has taught us that one small error can lead to bad results, just look at the "Africanized" Bees--Killer to those who don't know.)

Cloning, especially of humans, has been a rather hot topic with the scientists versus the creationists. I understand the one side's complaint that we have tried to become God and that it may take several dozen failed attempts before we actually can produce a clone. I don't see it so much as playing God since we have only copied what was there not created something from nothing. What I can see coming from this will be fewer people having children just so they can create a compatible doner for their other children. (Of course if we can get the genetic manipulations down pat we might eliminate the causes of some disorders at birth.) There could be a complete seperation of the Upper Classes that can afford to have themselves cloned, possibly indefinitely if they can figure out how to copy the human brain patterns from one to the next. The lower classes would begin to either rebell or perhaps the upper class might begin to pick and choose who they wanted to keep. Can you imagine them constantly recreating a particular man/woman that had proven to be a good worker? Farfetched? Perhaps, but I beleive this could also be the cause of a downfall to society altogether. The Genetic Pool needs to have diversity in order to survive, take out the random selections you begin to shrink the pool. Sorry, but I really don't get people who clone their cats. There are hundreds put to sleap every year in my county alone, but these people are spending thousands just to get a copy of their cat. I guess happiness has strange bed fellows.

"Technology" is just a big nice term for "tool." Every tool has a designed purpose, a problem it was originally intended to solve. Think of a hammer, it was probably first developed so that early man could break other rocks into sharp pieces to be used as cutting and hunting tools. Did this mean that was the only possible use for it? No, they also would bash skulls of both prey and preditors with this tool. It is up to each person, group and society to decide for themselves wether a technology is to be used for good or evil. It is the inadvertant carelessness that our society has shown sometimes that causes me to be a little afraid of how the technologies are developed and used.

Yea, I may have gotten a bit too serious and philosophical here. Please let me know what you think by sending your comments to: The Editor.