Re: Freitas on Gray Goo

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Sun May 14 2000 - 21:43:33 MDT

Robert J. Bradbury writes:
> I disagree strongly with this as I've said in another post. Our *current*
> sensing technology is more than sufficient to detect very small hot spots.

Robert, this assumes that hotspots are in line of sight, that we have
enough gear to watch the whole of the surface, and that behaviour of
agents is unmoderated aggressive. Given that behaviour will be at
least initially set to stealth and dispersal, before the midgame
behaviour will be expressed, these are not safe assumptions.

You have to be there in person, i.e. have the whole landscape covered
with a distributed diagnostic and rapid response mesh, with sensors,
intelligence, caches, rapid trasport and deployment as well as mop-up
procedure. This is not trivial infrastructure. Its presence will
create artifacts, which is not desirable for a countermeasure. It will
take it sweet time to be developed, deployed, and debugged.

There is a fundamental assymetry between that, and a fairly stupid
brute-force autoreplicator.

> Not really, look at your own immune system, running around checking
> the state of all the cells in your body. They are usually able to
> police the neighborhood fairly effectively and only consume several
> percent of the resources available to you.

Immune system is flesh policing flesh. Here we have dry solid-state
devices policing themselves and vulnerable ecosystems. Imo, this is
not comparable.

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