Re: Nanotech Arms Race

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 21 Jan 1999 11:55:54 -0600

Billy Brown wrote:
> A seed nanite can't build a nuke. You have to import plutonium, tritium,
> and other exotic elements, and export a lot of useless matter (probably
> several hundred cubic yards for a mega-nuke). You also need an energy
> source, which means running a power line to the surface and putting a
> visible power station there. You also need to figure out how to build such
> a device in the first place, and find a source for the raw materials. The
> appropriate depth to place them is less than a mile down, so you also have
> to avoid notice from all the other construction projects - if you can do
> this, others will be digging underground freeways, factories, bomb shelters,
> and who knows what else.

Now _this_ is something I dealt with last time. If you take a lot of lasers, maybe (for nanotech) a solid sphere-surface of hyperefficient quantum-well lasers, all pointing inward, you can zap a pellet of deuterium ond it will fuse. The last time I suggested it on the group, someone else wrote back that I'd disclosed something he was going to patent.

As for power, there are all kinds of burnables in the Earth; or if not that, you can use geothermal, the energy differential between one mile down and ten miles down. As for getting geotherm set up, I'm sure that you can build some pretty efficient electrochemical batteries and charge 'em up beforehand. If you've got a large enough resource base you could give 'em a small supply of antiprotons. (Remember the antimatter leak at Fermilab? 10^12 antiprotons - almost bright enough to see, I think.)

And remember, the best place to find deuterium is in the unoccupied and already-pretty-noisy oceans.

--         Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.