Re: Hanson antiproliferation method?
Wed, 20 Aug 1997 14:44:38 -0400 (EDT)

Nicholas Bostrom <> wrote:

> How do we best deal with the danger of nuclear proliferation and
> the spread of other weapons of mass destruction?
> It is conceivable, for example, that there will be some early stages
> of nanotechnology, before the onset of a singularity-like event,
> where nanotechnology could provide destructive powers sufficient to
> eliminate all intelligent life on earth. (And this might be before
> any significant space-colonization has taken place.)

It can also provide defensive capabilities to meet the destructive
capabilities. It's this balance that has kept us alive until now (internal
nanowar is happening all the time) and it's this balance that will keep some
of us (if not all) alive for a considerably longer time.

> One possible answer, of course, is a world government. Does anybody
> have what they think is a better idea, or an idea of how best to
> implement a world government?

If you make something illegal the only people who will have access to it are
those who want to commit mass-destruction. We need to leave it open to the
masses so they can defend themselves from any maniac who wants to kill them.
If one in a million is such a maniac, then we can have a million people
making sure their defence is more than capable of shielding them from that or
any other maniac.

Educating people about these things, rather than hiding them away so only the
most determined nut can find them is our best chance of survival.

> It seems clear to me that this problem needs to be addressed. I've
> heard people defending "each one's right to his or her own nuke", but
> that principle seems to me absurd. (Since each nuke could kill more
> than a million people, and there probably are more than one
> per million who would use his nuke, it would kill all of us.)

The alternative to "each one's right to his or her nuke" is giving a few
people defensive/offensive abilities and taking them away from the rest. If
you don't have a problem with that, then I wish you the best of luck when
your world governments leaders hide behind their active shields and you wish
you had been allowed the knowledge to make your own!