His position is very sensible, and I honestly don't understand all the massive backlash against it.
I guess I can understand some resentment from people who've grown up on Star Trek, at being told it isn't going to play out that way. But seriously now. . . Star Trek was never even hard SF. It was a 1930s pulp sci-fi concept resurrected into a 1960s TV show, and it was fantasy from the beginning. Slashdot is supposed to be news for nerds. Nerds should know this. We should be smarter.
I also wonder how many of you read TFA? Let me help you out: "Some find this to be negative—an absolute statement of limits and thus of giving up. My job here is to prove the opposite: humans exploring the universe with nanotechnology robotics, bio-molecular engineering, and artificial intelligence is something that is exciting and positive, and is based on an optimistic view of the future."
He's not saying we can't explore space with human crews and colonies. He's saying it won't make sense to, because we'll have much better options. Human beings are very costly to keep alive in space, much more than machines -- so we'll send the machines. With uploading, we may *be* the machines.
In fact, I'll go further. I think we should *explore* Mars with manned missions -- because today's robotics technology is too limited, it would take centuries to explore Mars with robots at the pace we're going. But I think we should *settle* Mars with robots. In this case Futurama is probably a better guide than Star Trek. . .
Fry: So let me get this straight. This planet is completely uninhabited?
Bender: No, it's inhabited by robots.
Fry: Oh, kinda like how a warehouse is inhabited by boxes.
Yes. That's Mars.