Re: Major Technologies

Forrest Bishop (
Sat, 16 Jan 1999 12:29:22 -0800

From: Anders Sandberg <>

> Date: 11 Jan 1999 13:25:31 +0100
> Subject: Re: Major Technologies
> "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <> writes:
> > Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > >
> > I explicitly said otherwise. I said that the naive people at Foresight

I would not presume to characterize the Foresight Institute and itsAssociates as "naive".

> > will publish their breakthroughs and that someone else will try to
> > monopolize the technology totally. Does the US embargo prevent Saddam
> > from visiting Foresight's Web site?

Well, maybe. Check out:(Hotwired)
People all over the world are turning to the Net for the latest info about what's going down in Iraq - everyone, that is, but the people of Iraq, who have no Internet systems or services whatsoever.

> > The term "naive" is strong. I began using this term when, during a
> > debate on red goo vs. blue goo, I pointed out nobody had proposed any
> > sort of active shield that would stand up to nuclear weapons,

I've put out a few scattered bits and pieces on this topic over the past few years. One defense is simply bulk: all the nukes in the world today would barely make a dent in Mt. Everest (a relatively tiny structure), nor are they of much effect against deep underground installations. Because a nuke has minimum size limitations, it's ammenable to early detection via 'Star Wars' (or 'Land Wars') sensing and response. As for an all-out strike, consider this- radionucleotides are scarce relative to Si, C, H, Pb, etc. Explosive construction can overwhelm. Of course the best defense of all is vacuum- lots of it.

> > Fact is,
> > offensive technology is running far enough ahead of defensive technology
> > to blast civilization right now, fair or unfair, and I think the problem
> > will only get worse.

I don't agree at all. The efficacy of offensive and defensive measures change place over time, historically. The current situation is temporary. Even a simple strategy like change of address (e.g. Mars) will tip the balance back.

> The important thing is to do a threat analysis, and try to see what
> countermeasures (including the 36th stratagem, running away)

Isn't this number 1 stategem? I've only lost one fight in my entire life, when I slipped going around a corner.


Forrest Bishop
Interworld Productions, LLC
Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering

Senior Associate
Foresight Institute