Re: Goo prophylaxis

Mark Grant (
Tue, 26 Aug 1997 19:48:10 +0000

On 26 Aug 1997, Anders Sandberg wrote:

> Exactly. So the major question is: is it possible to create a nanite
> infection that is deadly (or subtle) enough to wipe out all competition?

And without wiping itself out in the process; somehow the 'gray goo' has
to determine whether that object it's dismantling is another 'gray goo'
nanite, and once we find out how it's doing that we can fake it. Suddenly
we're immune... (computer viruses have precisely the same problem).

> So, what are the obvious holes?

The only obvious one is that an attacker could duplicate the markings of a
valid cell and would then be safe from the immune system. If we all use
different markings then this would require an lot of work on the part of
the attacker.

Of course the simplest way to avoid these kind of attacks is simply to not
be there. All the current discussions seem to imply that we'll stay here
on Earth just waiting for some maniac to wipe us out (and there are plenty
of ways to do that *without* nanotech). There are certainly disadvantages
to zooming off into the cosmos with a group of people you trust, but it
will be a damn sight safer than staying down here.

As far as I can see there are really only two solutions if such a
'nanotech catastrophe' is possible; either the Borg or the Armadillos --
one sentient entity takes over the universe and eliminates or absorbs any
competitors who might harm it, or we live in deep space in small,
heavily-armed groups and treat anyone we meet with great distrust.
Nicholas seems to be on the side of the Borg, whereas personally I'm for
the Armadillos; I can think of few things worse than being the only entity
in the universe.


|Mark Grant M.A., U.L.C. EMAIL: |