i have always been fascinated by some little thing i read when i was in college about the fact that someone found in an old abandoned warehouse something that looked like very large but lightweight screen doors. they turned out to be titanium molecular sieves for gasseous diffusion (or some such). so i went on something of a quick check for the most secret of secrets of bomb making and happened upon this miracle called the swearingen seal. its design and manufacture are, according to all testimony, miraculous. (which makes for interesting thinking along the lines of whom is qualified to be an unscom inspector)
swearingen, during the 40s, was employed at a joint called kellex in jersey city which was, evidently, one of those great brain trusts that only hugely wealthy and connected entities could establish and maintain. since then, i think it is fair to assume that the mechanics of such machines are still known (and comprehensible, presumeably) to only a few dozens of people on the planet.
aside, at the fry's in sunnyvale, there is a giant klystron on display. in an any randian way, the very fact of this machine is a striking and undeniable testimony to the genius who built it. but despite the fact that there are people that *can* does not mean that there are people that *will*.
apparently, there are some things which, despite the fact that you might stumble over them, are so vastly complex that they require highly structured organizations of people to make them work for good or evil. most of our great creations are of this nature. we're not likely to build more pyramids or another city like venice, despite the fact that we know how. we simply lack the capacity to motivate people to organize for those purposes. nobody is going to make a better fortran, or sell firestone-proof tires, or build another concorde.
if we are to be concerned about how self-organizing things procede, then we have to buy into the logic of kurzweil's accelleration theories. it seems to me that we will have been living for quite some time with that thing that will replace us before it takes the evolutionary lead, because it will have had to survive with us through those things that would destroy it. and of course, whatever this entity is, it will have to have some intentionality to destroy us before it does. or to borrow a phrase from michael moore, we'll be pets before we are meat.