Re: spears versus shields

Anders Sandberg (
28 Feb 1998 12:23:25 +0100

Wei Dai <> writes:

> A targeted disease would only work if the attacker has your genome, so
> that should be carefully protected.

Of course. But this might be tricky, especially if your enemy is
willing to kill off a few people similar to you. But in general,
anonymity makes it easier to survive *direct* attacks, but it doesn't
help against weapons of mass destruction.

> I can imagine some nanodefenses that would be effective against
> macroweapons. How about an exoskeleton made of cooperating nanomachines?
> It would block attacks when possible and move you out of harm's way when
> not.

To some extent they might act as a "smart bulletproof west", but as
anybody who had been shot while wearing a west knows, that is just
partial protection. With nanotech one could always come up with
nastier bullets and attacks the smart west doesn't expect.

> Such armor can reduce the kill radius of a nuclear bomb by protecting
> the occupant against thermal radiation and blast effects, and repairing
> damages from ionizing radiation.

Yes, it would *reduce* it slightly, but nukes are still bad. Even if
you survive the blast, you might get a building on top of you. And too
close, not even nanotech is going to save you.

> Nanotechnology can also help detect nuclear weapons by making sensors
> cheaper. Eventually every city will probably have a nuclear detector on
> every street corner.

I wonder if this is feasible. If you wrap the nuke in a lot of lead,
the radiation can probably be made so faint the detectors won't react
to it. It is a bit like hiding the smell of plastic explosives for
bomb dogs, it is very hard but doable.

The best way of protecting oneself in a world where many people can
unlesh destruction seems to be avoiding being there, and if you are
there, you should have some form of backup or distribution.

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