Class of 1971
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William Nelson Joy
November 8, 1954 (age 56)
Farmington Hills, Michigan
University of Michigan
University of California, Berkeley
Co-founder of Sun Microsystems
BSD and Solaris
"Why the future doesn't need us"
William Nelson Joy (born November 8, 1954), commonly known as Bill Joy, is an American computer scientist. Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy and Andy Bechtolsheim, and served as chief scientist at the company until 2003. He is widely known for having written the essay "Why the future doesn't need us", where he expresses deep concerns over the development of modern technologies.
[hide] 1 Early career
3 Post-Sun activities
4 Technology concerns
6 External links
 Early career
Joy was born in the Detroit suburb Farmington Hills, Michigan to William Joy, a school vice-principal and counselor, and Ruth Joy. Joy received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979. Joy's PhD advisor was Bob Fabry.
As a UC Berkeley graduate student, Joy worked for Fabry's Computer Systems Research Group CSRG in managing the BSD support and rollout where many claim he was largely responsible for managing the authorship of BSD UNIX, from which sprang many modern forms of UNIX, including FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. Apple Inc. has based much of the Mac OS X kernel and OS Services on the BSD technology.
Some of his most notable contributions were the vi editor, and csh. Joy's prowess as a computer programmer is legendary, with an oft-told anecdote that he wrote the vi editor in a weekend. Joy denies this assertion. Joy's accomplishments have been sometimes exaggerated; Eric Schmidt, CEO of Novell at the time, inaccurately reported during an interview in PBS's documentary Nerds 2.0.1 that Joy had personally rewritten the BSD kernel in a weekend.
According to a Salon.com article, during the early 1980s DARPA had contracted the company Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) to add TCP/IP to Berkeley UNIX. Joy had been instructed to plug BBN's stack into Berkeley Unix, but he refused to do so, as he had a low opinion of BBN's TCP/IP. So, Joy wrote his own high-performance TCP/IP stack. According to John Gage,
BBN had a big contract to implement TCP/IP, but their stuff didn't work, and grad student Joy's stuff worked. So they had this big meeting and this grad student in a T-shirt shows up, and they said, "How did you do this?" And Bill said, "It's very simple — you read the protocol and write the code."
Rob Gurwitz, who was working at BBN at the time, disputes this version of events.
In 1982, Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems.
In 1986, Joy was awarded a Grace Murray Hopper Award by the ACM for his work on the Berkeley UNIX Operating System.
At Sun Joy was an inspiration for the development of NFS, the SPARC microprocessors, the Java programming language, Jini / JavaSpaces and JXTA.
On September 9, 2003 Sun announced that Bill Joy was leaving the company and that he "is taking time to consider his next move and has no definite plans".
 Post-Sun activities
In 1999 Joy co-founded a venture capital firm, HighBAR Ventures, with two Sun colleagues: Andreas Bechtolsheim and Roy Thiele-Sardiña. In January 2005 he was named a partner in venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he has made investments in the green energy space. He has once said, "My method is to look at something that seems like a good idea and assume it's true".
 Technology concerns
In 2000 Joy gained notoriety with the publication of his article in Wired Magazine, "Why the future doesn't need us", in which he declared, in what some have described as a "neo-Luddite" position, that he was convinced that growing advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology would bring risks to humanity. He argued that intelligent robots would replace humanity, at the very least in intellectual and social dominance, in the relatively near future. He advocates a position of relinquishment of GNR (Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics) technologies, rather than going into an arms race between negative uses of the technology and defense against those negative uses (good nano-machines patrolling and defending against Grey Goo "bad" nano-machines). Many of his arguments have been addressed by Ray Kurzweil and by others. 
A bar-room discussion of these technologies with inventor and technological-singularity thinker Ray Kurzweil started to set his thinking along this path. He states in his essay that during the conversation, he became surprised that other serious scientists were considering such possibilities likely, and even more astounded at what he felt was a lack of considerations of the contingencies. After bringing the subject up with a few more acquaintances, he states that he was further alarmed by what he felt was the fact that although many people considered these futures possible or probable, that very few of them shared as serious a concern for the dangers as he seemed to. This concern led to his in-depth examination of the issue and the positions of others in the scientific community on it, and eventually, to his current activities regarding it.
Despite this he[who?] is a venture capitalist, investing in GNR technology companies. He has also raised a specialty venture fund to address the dangers of pandemic diseases, such as H5N1 Avian influenza and biological weapons.
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