Re: spears versus shields

Anders Sandberg (
27 Feb 1998 14:03:38 +0100

Wei Dai <> writes:

> In response to Anders' comment of shields not keeping pace with spears,
> there seems to be two ways this could change. One is anonymity as defense,
> as in Vernor Vinge's _True Names_. They can't get you if they don't know
> where you are.

This assumes weapons that cannot seek you out (like a targeted
disease, which is benign for everybody but deadly for you) or weapons
of mass destruction that can strike in your general neighborhood and
wipe you out.

But the overall idea is sound: if it is not obvious where you can be
found, then most weapons have a hard time getting at you.

> The other possibility is nano-defense. (Too bad bobbles
> don't seem to be a physical possibility.)

Nanodefenses are good at nanoweapons, but not against
macroweapons. And vice versa.

> Which will be widely available first, personal nukes, or personal nuclear
> defense?

Quite probably the first. We are not that far from universal nuclear
proliferation (not entirely likely, but some bombs may already be
adrift), and it is very hard to defend yourself against a blast unless
you know it is coming. The kill radius is so much larger than the
detection radius if the bomb is hidden (say in a van).

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y