RE: Nanotech Restrictions (was: RE: Transparency Debate)

From: Billy Brown (
Date: Wed Apr 05 2000 - 09:32:34 MDT

Adrian Tymes wrote:
> Just a theory, but maybe...
> * In order to effectively use these technologies, one must acquire a
> lot of knowledge.
> * In the process of acquiring said knowledge, people typically learn of
> ways to solve problems better (cheaper/faster/more effective) than
> violence and mass slaughter.
> * By the time one amasses the facilities and knowledge to actually use
> these in a terrorist capacity, one has usually moved beyond terrorist
> tactics and onto tactics that actually accomplish whatever ends were
> desired. (Exception: if one is extremely devoted to a cause that
> acknolwedges no solution except death to one's enemies, for instance
> with the Iraqi weapons labs.)
> Does this seem plausible, or is there some major logic hole that I'm not
> seeing?

You may or may not have all the details right, but I think you're on the
right track. For some reason, the mindset of the terrorist (or the mad
bomber) seems to be incompatible with the mindset required to become an
expert in nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. AFAIK the rare
exceptions to this rule all involve chemical weapons, which are by far the
easiest of the three types to make.

All of which makes me a little less paranoid about abuse of nanotech than I
otherwise would be. Not happy, mind you - I'd much rather find real
defenses than rely on this kind of guesswork - but at least we have
something of a backup defense if we get unlucky enough to need it.

Billy Brown

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