Re: Goo prophylaxis

Nicholas Bostrom (
Sun, 31 Aug 1997 15:31:03 +0000

Eric Watt Forste wrote:

> I wrote:
> > > In order for
> > > molecular nanotechnology to present a serious military threat to
> > > existing soldiery, highly optimized designs would have to be
> > > developed.
> Nicholas Bostrom asks:
> > Why?

> I'm starting to suspect that (at the nano level, not at the
> macroscopic mechanical level) life is highly optimized for survival
> under hostile conditions (where the source of the hostility is
> mostly competing life forms).

Yes, but competing *biological* life forms. It hasn't evolved to
compete with nanites.

> > And even if that is the case, don't forget that the step from rather
> > optimized designs to highly optimized designs might be fairly quick,
> > and if that's the step that creates the big military potential,
> > then...
> This speculation usually rests on the idea that we will, in
> parallel, have developed AIs or easily replicable uploads that
> will be able to do good engineering work far more rapidly than
> present-day human beings can.

What about the step from highly optimized designs to very highly
optimized designs? By then we should have AI. And very highly
optimised attack will almost certainly win over merely highly
optimised defense.

Nicholas Bostrom