Re: POLITICS: Avoiding nuclear anarchy
Thu, 16 Jan 97 16:31:25 GMT

My first mailing seems not to have made it to the list, so I
try reposting it:

Mark Grant wrote:

> as John Clark just pointed out, governments have killed
>far more people (usually their own citizens) this century
>than amateur murders.

Yes, this is very sad. I can only say that the sort of
government that engages in aggressive warfare is not the
sort of government that I would authorize to use nanotech
with potential military applications. This would rule out
many governments, but in the western democratic world there
seems to have been some improvement. In any case, the
nuclear powers have succeded for 50 years to abstain from
using the bomb. And best of all, the UN itself has a rather
saintlike history, most of its activity being devoted to do
good to others.

UN seems to be the power least likely to use weapons of mass
destruction for unfair aggressive warfare, if it possessed

And the share limitation of the *number* of agents,
excluding all individuals and all rough states (and possibly
all nation states) from the control of technologies that
could be used to cause massive destruction, would also
increase the odds that we can avoid the disaster.

>should the Russian government be allowed to develop
>nanotech and the Chechnyans not?

If it were feasible to prevent the Russians from doing so,
then it would probably be good if they were excluded from
military nanotech. If it were feasible to prevent the
Chechenyans and not the Russians, then I think that we
should prevent the Chechenians and hope that the Russians
would abstain from using it (just as they abstained from
using nukes). In some cases there may be a powerbalance
between two nations which would make it unwise to exclude
one of them from nanotech if it weren't possible to exclude
the other too.

Nicholas Bostrom