Re: armed robots

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Mar 11 2001 - 11:16:35 MST

Spike Jones wrote:
> If the techno-advanced part of the world offers ever more
> expensive battlebots to the warrior chiefs, which are
> more effective fighters than *all* of that nation's young men,
> and then keep offering ever more expensive upgrades to
> keep up with the neighboring warrior chiefs, we will keep
> hammering and hammering the simple lesson that every
> private in every foxhole already knows: that all war is madness,
> that all war is a brutal crime against humanity.
> We thus reinforce the lesson that the less-advanced nations are
> in fact enslaved to the techno-haves, until they learn to put
> aside meaningless tribal conflicts, to extend the olive branch
> to their neighbors, to join together as entities which do not
> wage war on each other, a bit like the 50 united states.
> They join together, if for no other reason, to survive economically
> and escape abject slavery to those nations that build droids.
> And if that doesnt work, we simply raise the price until it does.

I think this won't work and will in fact backfire horribly as dictators
try to recoup their cost by conquering and exploiting other countries.
For your version to work, defensive droids need to cost much less than
attack droids, which would have to be the result of either (a) a policy
decision enforced by *all* arms manufacturers when one of them could make
huge profits by breaking the embargo, or (b) some reflection of a natural
technological differential, and I don't see a plausible one (usually it's
the reverse).

But the vanilla version ought to be a science-fiction story, if it isn't
already. Any takers?

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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