A parodical open letter addressing the scientific community was published before the weekend. Taking its tone from the quite alarmist Pause Giant AI Experiments paper, which was published in March and included signatories such as Elon Musk, the new open letter asks humanity to Pause Random Superconductor Experiments.
The parody letter gets off to a galloping start with its subheading calling on “all labs and kitchens to immediately pause for at least 6 months the making of conductors with lower resistance than copper.” Then the letter quickly establishes its case for caution, pausing superconductor experiments that could cause astonishing challenges. It asserts that the worlds of physics and technology could be changed forever, and this is backed by “top scientific institutions and Russian anime cat girls.”
Our last quote from the opening paragraph, as you must go and enjoy this ‘open letter’ fully for yourself, delivers a barb to famous names like Mr Musk. It echoes the Pause Giant AI Experiments letter by fretting that the level of planning and management is falling short. Thus scientists may be unleashing “ever more potent superconducting materials that no one – not even the crypto bros turned AI bros turned superconductor bros themselves – can fully comprehend, predict, or reliably control and hype.” Should we say Ooof?
We have left you a lot more of the Pause Random Superconductor Experiments letter to read and enjoy, including a warning about “unelected scientists.” However, we were particularly delighted by some incidental flourishes from the creators of this parody.
For example, the new open letter is hosted at FutureofLiff.org, while its inspiration is to be found on the Future of Life Institute’s campaign site for steering transformative technology (FutureofLife.org). The Future of Liff clearly takes its inspiration from The Meaning of Liff (1983), a witty dictionary of toponymy and etymology written by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd.
We also feel compelled to point out that the “number of signatories” to the parody is 293K, which hasn’t changed since we saw this humorous post yesterday. This is certainly due to 293K being equivalent to room temperature in Kelvin.
For some readers, the cherry on the parody cake will be the delicious selection of signatories. Of the ten individuals, who are unquestionably leaders in their fields of expertise, we would most like to know more about: Sir Percival Ferroflux, Magnet Magnate; Countess Valentina Quenchfield, Inheritor Emerald and Copper Mines Company; and Baron Reginald Cryogenius, Executive Director of Superconducting Infrastructure and Cryoplumbing Development.
For more serious semiconductor coverage, please check out our recent articles on the Messy LK-99 Superconductor Creation Process and our updated piece on how recent independent demonstrations have shown Superconductors Levitating At Room Temperature.