Re: Goo prophylaxis

Nicholas Bostrom (
Fri, 29 Aug 1997 15:52:30 +0000

The Low Golden Willow:

> On Aug 29, 1:45am, "Nicholas Bostrom" wrote:
> } >As soon as the world realizes that there is massive
> } > power to be had, everyone will work like crazy to catch up.
> } But the leading power will work like crazy to keep the lead. If they
> } all work equally hard, the one that starts out with an advantage
> } should get to the goal first. The main point we are discussing is
> You seem to be assuming a bunch of isolated powers or labs working
> toward nanotech, with one having and keeping a vital lead. Setting
> aside the probability that progress will be too gradual for a massive
> discontinuity to develop, the non-leading labs can collaborate, applying
> more brainpowe

So could the leading lab. And it would be more attractive to
collaborate with the leading lab.

> } to effectively defend themselves against the leading power. I think
> } the major military advantages could differ dramatically between some
> } of the pairs of adjacent generations, so that the first power to
> } develop the later version would have an easy match against the power
> } who has the earlier version. This means that even if the whole road
> } to advanced self-replicators is long and slow, there would still be
> } some point where a slight progression yielded huge military payoff
> You're changed scenarios again! First it was destructive gray goo
> launched by some nihilist fanatic. Now it's national warfare.

We are trying to discuss several scenarios at once on this thread,
that's why it seems like some suspect rethoric maneuver is taking
place. The nihilit fanatic is only dangerous if nanotech becomes
everyman's tool, as Ander's said he think it will. But before
that happens, we have to look at what the big, leading institutions
would do with it.

Nicholas Bostrom
London School of Economics
Department of Philosphy, Logic and Scientifc Method