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

Date: Sun Apr 09 2000 - 08:17:02 MDT

In a message dated 4/5/00 6:25:25 AM Central Daylight Time,

> Overally, I think your model explains part of why we do not see hordes
> of well educated terrorists. But I still see enough engineers with
> good knowledge of engineering and an apalling lack of sociology to
> make me suspect there are other reasons too.

At a Foresight-sponsored meeting on security and safety issues last year, I
had occasion to speak at length with a very senior US defense establishment
figure about this question of why we haven't seen more technology-based
terrorist attacks against large population groups. Apparently, it is
considered somewhat of a mystery in these circles and various competing
theories have been offered to explain it (but it's universally recognized as
a fact: Biological and chemical technologies have existed for years with
which a "crazed terrorist group" could kill thousands to millions of people,
but this hasn't happened). The best-accepted theory is that any group well
enough organized and possessing the requisite technical skills is lead by
people who realize that such a move would be counterproductive to any goals
the group may have. This must be so, it is argued, despite the fact that the
skill and organization level to do such a thing is not THAT great.

I think studying this question in greater depth should be one of the highest
priorities for advocates of "GNR" technologies. I believe that an empirical
study should be undertaken in which members of likely groups that have been
captured and imprisoned should be interviewed about the subject.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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