Spike Jones [firstname.lastname@example.org] wrote:
>no, because the most dangerous form of grey goo would be the
>replicator running the ultra simple program
>20 make copies of self
>30 go to 10
Hardly. The fundamental problem with grey goo is 'how do I stop myself eating my copies?', just as the fundamental problem with computer virii is 'how do I stop myself infecting programs I've already infected?'. If a virus doesn't check for prior infections it pretty quickly destroys the computer it's running on, and kills itself in the process. If grey goo doesn't have some means to detect other grey goo then it will soon eat itself up along with everything else.
But, of course, if there's a way to detect a virus you can use that to pretend your computer is infected and stop it (AFAIR this technique was used to slow the spread of the Internet Worm). And if there's a way to detect other grey goo nanobots you can use that to pretend you're a grey goo nanobot and walk safely thru a sea of grey goo.
Personally I think this identification problem will be extremely hard to solve in any manner, which is one reason why I'm not very concerned about grey goo.