Goo prophylaxis
Tue, 26 Aug 1997 14:58:28 -0400 (EDT)

Nicholas Bostrom <> wrote:

> No, nuclear war and especially plagues of nanites belong to the
> truly big disasters.
> 1. Small, common disaster: car accident
> 2. "huge" disaster: Tjernobyl, major earthquakes
> 3. enormous disasters: grey goo, all-out nuclear war
> There is more difference between 2 and 3 than between 1 and 2.
> I think people would do well to pay more attention to the dangers of
> killer asteroids and vacuum decay, if it weren't for the fact that
> there are much more probable disasters in category 3 that they should
> concentrate on instead.

An asteroid could hit in a matter of seconds, we wouldn't have much chance of
survival. The influx of nanotechnology will be a slow and controlled
process, new technologies are always looked upon with caution. If
destructive nanites were released today that would be an 'enormous disaster'.
But nanotech will slowly find its way into everyday life, the ability to
create and protect will increase with the ability to destroy. It's likely
that destructive nanotech could be nothing more than a cold when up against
our advanced immune systems. These immune systems could have far more
computing power than any nanite, and will be able to outwit even the most
advanced destructive force. And why keep the immune system within the body?
It could do survailence work, tell you if any nukes are being built in your
area and launch a preemptive strike!

Before we start uploading ourselves and only communicating with the outside
world via democratic robots, think of nanotech's ability to update us. If
only 1 in a million people are crazy enough and clever enough to 'goo' us,
then network the million sane minds to create a defensive system. Putting
the power in the hands of one person or one organisation is a great way to
get yourself killed. Distributing that power through the masses may seem
like suicide, but it's the only route to survival.