Re: near-anything boxes allowed to be in the hands of the public?

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Tue Mar 07 2000 - 17:32:21 MST

On Tue, 7 Mar 2000, john grigg wrote:

> I could really see the federal government feeling that near-anything boxes
> in homes would be somewhat like letting citizens have their own personal
> nukes. Once there is even one major incident/scare the gov't would move in
> a way that would make the gun control issue look minor by comparison.
John, you really need to get that this isn't going to work. The people
who want to play with "everything" boxes will simply move someplace else!
We either have to go to a complete police state where even your thoughts are
monitored or else develop the means of trusting people and their creations.

> In the name of public safety and national security, we may never be allowed
> these replicators within our homes in the first place. The gov't and
> corporate powers may say, "come to us, and for a "nominal" charge we will
> create what you want."

This doesn't solve anything. I can spend my time on my computer
designing those things I want, take a fast ship to some remote
asteroid and build it, then send it back to dismantle Earth.
Do you *really* think once Zyvex or IBM has announced that diamondoid
nanoassembly is possible that dozens of people won't start working on
building their own!!! This isn't nuclear-tech where you need an actual
uranium mine. The raw materials (C) can be extracted from the air for
heaven's sake.

> Underground groups would have massive federal resources allocated against
> them, to put them behind bars. The hacker hunts would pale by comparison.
> Nano would be used to violate civil liberties that would be reminiscient of
> the war on drugs but more clandestine and for that reason even more
> threatening to people's rights.
For you to have massive Federal resources, you have to have massive
"funding" for the hunters. After everyone has stopped paying taxes
and/or left the U.S. if it gets too intrusive, *who* do you think
is going to do the "hunting"? Only if you have AIs that are cheap
and tireless will this possibly resemble what might happen.

Do you think that any government will survive that tries to imprison
its population and force them to pay taxes in an era when this is

> My hope is that home nanoreplicator technology will develop very
> incrementally and we will see it gain a foothold in the private citizen's
> realm that will not be possible to reverse.

Its already impossible to reverse. There are so many paths to nanoreplicators
of various kinds (the phase space for the chemistry of nanoassembly
of various materials is huge) that the government *cannot* stop this
without killing just about everyone with an above average IQ.

> May corporate greed and the forces of capitalism triumph in this area!

I think "corporations" as we currently imagine them are probably pretty
doomed as well. I would guess that perhaps only the entertainment
conglomerates and perhaps education or tourism promoters will survive
in the long run. "Classical" corporations may do ok during the interim
period until everyone has all of their basic survival needs met, but after
that there is going to be a big restructuring.

> With capitalistic inducements, proper safeguards and no individual or group
> overcoming them to do something really vicious as an excuse for the gov't,
> we may see our dreams come true.

For a group to cause trouble, you need to make a case for *what* would
motivate them to cause trouble. Increased wealth and mobility should
give people the ability to simply avoid or transcend the things that
have motivated trouble makers in the past (oppression, taxation,
prejudice, etc.). Only if we get some loony-tunes religious or
anarchist terror groups that think their way is the only way will
we have something to worry about. Its not the average wo/man you
need to worry about, its the people who would want to control *all*
of us that are a concern.


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