Re: Re: Goo prophylaxis

Nicholas Bostrom (
Thu, 28 Aug 1997 19:50:59 +0000

EvMick wrote:

> In a message dated 97-08-28 04:51:03 EDT, you write:
> << or the stronger power would
> obliterate the weaker, and then immediately rebuild itself, and then
> expand spherically at a good fraction of the light speed. A Yes
> answer to (2) would presuppose that a negotiated merger isn't made,
> and that neither power can know with a great probability that it is
> strongest, or that the stronger power has some absolute ethical
> prohibition from attacking its weaker rival. >>

> Interesting...but I've got some problems with the whole argument.
> Why would a nanotech society be interested in conquest and expansion? All
> the traditional reasons for such are presently evaporating

Well, to begin with we have Malthus. Darwinian pressure to fill the
available ecological space, etc. Personally, I don't think that these
arguments are as strong as many think when they are applied to a
post-transition world, but they tend to persuade people. The way I
prefer to think about it is in terms of a superintelligence who
attempts to maximize what it thinks is physical value-structures;
i.e. it wants to organize as much matter as possible in the way that
it think has most value. Except for possible strategic or ethical
reasons, it makes no difference whether the matter is virgin
territory or some other computer is has already organized the matter
in a sub-optimal way.

Nicholas Bostrom