I know that by raising this issue, I am going to take a large
amount of flak. But that is the purpose of the Extropian
list -- to engage in rational discussion of ideas -- even
if those ideas may seem repulsive at first.
Those of us who believe in the extropian/transhumanist perspectives
expect that the world is likely to undergo a significant adjustment
of its perspective over the next 10-30 years. These will include
such developments as artificial intelligence, molecular nanotechnology,
the elimination of aging and death and the feasibility of uploading
our minds into much more robust hardware.
We also know, from calculations that I and Eliezer (independently)
have done, that the annual cost between where we are now and the
full manifestation of what we expect is feasible is of the order
of 50 million lives per year. That is approximately 10,000 times
the number of lives lost in the WTC attacks.
According to the CIA world fact book, the population of Afganistan
is ~25 million people. In contrast the population of the U.S.
is 280+ million people and the world is 6+ billion. It is highly
unlikely that the population of Afganistan will make a significant
contribution to the development of the advanced technological era
we expect. In fact their ongoing existence seems likely to be
directed towards negatively impacting that development. To the
extent that the activities of individuals in Afganistan, or the
support of such individuals by the leaders or population at large
delay the development of the era we anticipate, we can assign
a cost to it.
>From my perspective the analysis is relatively simple. If the
population of Afganistan, or the people supported by them
delay the onset of an era of advanced technological capabilities
by 6 months or more, the value of their lives is negative.
>From a rational position, *if* the case can be made that the
Afgani position & politics is likely to result in the diversion
of resources and delay the development of the technologies we anticipate
developing by more than 6 months, then a plan of genocide to
bury the country in rubble seems justified.
Is this feasible? It would appear to be the case. 100 Minutemann III
ICBMs could launch 300+ Ktons each at Afganistan. This roughly
translates to over 1 ton TNT/person. While this is unlikely to
kill everyone, it is likely to knock the population back to the
sub-cave-person level and make a large negative impact on the
feasibility of staging terrorist activities from that country.
Of course the downside will be in the likelyhood that it may have
in promoting individuals and countries in developing similar
capabilities. But of course once the line has been crossed, there
are relatively few barriers towards the use of nuclear weapons to
continue knocking down potential terrorists as needs require.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:49 MDT