Re: The Extinction Challenge
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 17:50:40 EDT

In a message dated 99-07-27 17:03:00 EDT, (Eugene Leitl) wrote:

> writes:
> > Not fair, Billy. If I can't use nanotech and at least minimal AI, I
> t
> > wipe out the target. WIth them, I think I can.
> This doesn't address the original issue, as the agent which wiped out
> the civilisation would be still at large, free to wreak havoc upon its
> stellar surroundings. We might get wiped out by a Gray Goo event, or
> gobbled up by a malignant Singularity, but that still leaves the
> infectious Gray Goo autoreplicators free to be carried out of the
> system by solar wind (or evolving a faster means of travel), and the
> Blight reach out for neighbouring systems.
> The restructured hole in the skies is still there. Now, on the other
> hand, there is some obvious technology (the equivalent of putting
> table salt and silverware into kitchen microwave) which makes your
> system go up on a GRB flare, that would be different. This still
> leaves room for interstellar probes escaping, however.

Well, Billy didn't say "without a trace", he said "kill off a spacefaring civilization" (or words to that effect). I think you could come close, or probably actually do this, with advanced nano and AI. If you REALLY wanted to be creepy and weird, you could do it in a way that would wipe out most traces that the target had every existed AND that deactivated the weapon when it was done. Now, why anyone would want to do this is beyond me: It seems by far the most far-fetched of any of the scenarios we've discussed in these threads.

     Greg Burch     <>----<>
     Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
                         "Civilization is protest against nature; 
                  progress requires us to take control of evolution."
                                      -- Thomas Huxley