Re: changing our agenda

From: Miriam English (
Date: Sat Sep 22 2001 - 21:08:13 MDT

At 09:43 AM 23/09/2001, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
>Spike Jones wrote:
> >
> > Recall that not all terrorists are foreign. How much did McVeigh
> > need to spend in order to knock down a tall building? Under the
> > current rules, the attacker has perhaps more than a six order of
> > magnitude leverage. If a Taliban robot or a McVeigh goes after
> > the power grid, then our troubles are just starting. spike
>Hm, I must have missed this. Is the Taliban now rumored to possess killer
>robot assassins, capable of masquerading for weeks as a close friend or
>coworker, but ready at any time to strike out with their deadly built-in
>steel tentacles?

I think Spike was just speaking disaragingly of the lack of mental
processes apparent in someone who will carry out another person's wishes
even at the expense of their own life.

On the subject of the power grid though, power stations are definitely a
danger point. I have never understood why so much preference was given to
centralised power sources instead of decentralised ones (e.g. solar cells).
The more decentralised something is, the safer and more secure it becomes.

Solar cells or wind power generators can feed back into the grid and help
support cloudy or becalmed areas. Of course night requires fairly hefty
storage capabilities, but if we had gone down the solar road we would have
concentrated more on lower energy, high efficiency appliances and more
effective battery technology anyway. There would be less combustion-related
pollution too, though possibly more battery-related pollution.

Concentrating on solar/wind/methane/heat-pump/geothermal/hydroelectric
technologies would have had another nice effect: the developed world might
not have felt the need to suck up to a small number of oil-rich countries,
so might not be facing the current crisis.

(20-20 hindsight is good, huh... but I bet it gets ignored anyway.)


         - Miriam

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

Q. What is the similarity between an elephant and a grape?
A. They are both purple... except for the elephant.
Virtual Reality Association

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:55 MDT