Re: Active Shields/Paradox/Drexler on AI Shields

From: John Marlow (
Date: Sat Jan 13 2001 - 18:56:56 MST

**Responses to two posts here; trying to cut back on
number of my own. Or is this not necessary? (No
sarcastic replies, please! Or does saying this
guarantee I'll get them??)


"Michael M. Butler" wrote:

>which is 10 times smarter than Marilyn vos Savant..

**Only 10x? That WOULD be a catastrophe! (I’ve read
her column. Check out the Marilyn Is Wrong! Site:

**But, okay—bad example. A very well-put post.

>My current thinking is that modeling the human limbic
system is important in order for any AP to understand
humans. There is some risk of creating an emotionally
unbalanced AP. The same is true of people today. We
need to do a better job of raising APs than we do of
raising many kids if those APs are going to be
trustworthy. If they are able to go SI, it's even more

**Why model it? We already have one. As the emotional
issues remain, and the issue of “raising” the thing as
well—why not simply elevate ourselves, rather than
create an (for al practical purposes) alien

**Or do you see this as perhaps a part of the scenario
you’re painting?

**Now to the other post…

Michael M. Butler wrote:

>Tell you what, you stop saying it and I'll stop
saying you did. Deal?

 > Yes; precisely. My read on, for instance,
Drexler's > active shield concept is that we hand over
> peacekeeping tasks to an AI which is equipped with >
weapons superior to all others. Like me, you appear to
not always re-read what you write. Yes, you say "my
read", but consider what you say after that. When you
call it "_Drexler's_ active shield concept", you imply
that he wrote in this wise. If it wasn't in _EoC_ that
he said it, where was it? If you meant something more
like "my extrapolation of how a widely distributed
immune system modeled after Drexler's active shield
concept, implemented under central control ('_an
AI_')...", you could have said so. If you didn't mean
that, perhaps I misunderstood. But on my reading of
what you actually wrote: you are indicating Drexler
thinks what you do. "My read on <Person>'s <x>" means,
generally, "My interpretation of what <Person>
says/intends". Does it not? BTW, where I come from,
"my take" is different from "my read". (Do I HAVE to
re-read all your posts? No, I can use search tools.
Just as you ought to be able to. Class, for your
exercise, find a machine-readable copy of _EoC_ on the
Web, download the relevant chapters if necessary, and
use automated string search for "active" and
&#61656; John Marlow wrote: > > Do I HAVE to read
Engines again? Tell you what--you > point out to me
where I said EoC says that, and I'll > go look. > >
john marlow >

**Here we have Mr. D. saying what I said he said (as
opposed to what it’s been said I said he
said)—AI-controlled active shields with (obviously)
weapons which are by his description (though not
outright statement) superior to all others. If the
weapons under its/their control are NOT superior to
all others, the concept is useless; thus I suggest
this is clearly his meaning/intent/and so on. Note
that in the snippet of my post which has been quoted,
I did not refer to a single global AI controlling all
shields, though admittedly I tend to think in those
terms. (Multiple AIs might be a safer bet—and might
not be.)

Drexler, EoC, Chapter 11:

“With such systems we may be able to explore the
limits of the possible well enough to build a reliable
shield against all physically possible threats….

“In building active shields, we will be able to use
the power of replicators and AI systems to multiply
the traditional advantages of the defending force: we
can give it overwhelming strength through abundant,
replicator-built hardware with designs based on the
equivalent of a million-year lead in technology.”

Drexler, EoC, Chapter 12:

“Consider a space-based example. We now can design
devices that sense (looks like a thousand missiles
have just been launched), assess (this looks like an
attempted first strike) and act (try to destroy those
missiles!). If a system will fire only at massive
flights of missiles, then it cannot be used for
offense or a space blockade. Better yet, it could be
made incapable of discriminating between attacking

“By defending both sides while threatening neither,
active shields could weaken the cycle of the arms

**He goes on at length about AI/nanocomputing as
relates to active shields.

**My ‘have to read’ EoC again’ Q was a kind of
editorial comment, if you will.

john marlow


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