RE: A perfect nanodefence...

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Thu Mar 23 2000 - 18:11:43 MST

>From: "Billy Brown" <>
> > >Defending inert matter, or even appropriately designed macro-
> > >scale machinery, isn't a big deal. The hard problem is > >defending
>delicate, hard-to-upgrade territory like a human body.
> >
> > And isn't that *the* problem? I'm not really concerned with
> > protecting my car from a nanobot attack.
>Well, it is and it isn't. Look at some of the possible outcomes:
>1) If you couldn't defend any kind of hardware against a nanobot attack,
>there would be no prospect of anyone ever surviving the invention of
>nanotech (with the possible exception of complete borganisms).
>2) If defending hardware is practical, but defending people is impossible,
>then no one can survive exposure to even a tiny dose of hostile nanobots.
>However, you might have survivors in isolated bunkers if they have enough
>layers of nanobot protection.
>3) If defending people is very difficult, but not impossible, then you can
>survive being exposed to a miniscule dose of nanobots. That means people
>you can survive using pressure suits, airtight habitats, and moderately
>paranoid decontamination procedures.
>4) If defending people is easy, anyone with money can buy a system that
>let them ignore the whole problem (as long as they don't fall into a vat of
>gray goo, or something equally stupid). That means most modern countries
>survive the invention of nanotech, but the third world and Earth's natural
>biosphere could easily be destroyed.
>5) If defending people is trivial, we immunize the whole world easily.
>Now, my personal bet is on option 3. Area defenses inside a sealed habitat
>should be capable of preventing significant nanobot infiltrations, and a
>well-designed immune system should be able to kill off very small numbers
>intruders before they do any significant damage. Options 2 and 4 are
>possible, but seem less likely at the moment. Options 1 and 5 both seem a
>bit unrealistic.
>Oh, and lets not forget, this discussion only applies to the early stages
>development. Once you get really advanced nanotech you can redesign the
>human body, and the distinction between hardware and biological material
>ceases to mean anything.

So if I survive until Microsoft Me version 2.01, then chances are I'll have
it made. That make me feel a *little* better.

Um, whoever maintains the archives of this list...can you delete all the bad
stuff I said about Bill Joy?


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

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