Re: Goo prophylaxis
Wed, 3 Sep 1997 12:21:47 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 9/3/97 7:39:56 AM, (Eliezer S.
Yudkowsky) wrote:

> wrote:
>> Nuclear weapons - or anything that produces ionizing radiation - will, in
>> general, greatly favor the city, provided it makes use of aqueous phase
>> thermodynamic nanotechnology (i.e., biology-style) and provided the nukes
>> lack the physical power to just obliterate the city. The proposals for
>> machine-phase nanotech so far are all hypersensitive to ionizing radiation
>> they have no way to put stray atoms back in to place or to replace
>> damaged parts. Biology-style nanotech benefits greatly from extreme
>> redundancy and positional independance. If even one element in a
>> computer malfunctions the whole thing is in a very bad situation. Current
>> living things can survive extensive hits on anything other than DNA, and
>> redundant genetic systems could take even that.
>Why can't the black goo use biology-style nanotech? In fact, the black goo
>has the best of both worlds; they can use sharp, efficient "tactical goo" to
>keep the city under pressure, backed by a sea of biological "strategic goo"
>bearing nuclear weapons. The city *must* surround itself with tactical
>goo or the tactical black goo will eat right through it... so each nuke
>off a layer of silver goo.

No real reason, actually; it's just that these discussions have been
predicated on the idea that the "war goo" (roll eyes here :-) would be solely
machine phase. If the "goo" consists of multiple radically different strains
with sophisticated interactions and strategic planning then we're no longer
talking about unintelligent glop eradicating intelligent life. Now we're
discussing a war between two different types of intelligence. If such a goo
wins it's not such a metaphysical tragedy, although it's obviously bad news
for the remaining human-types.

Frankly, I think if such a "war goo" is possible the hypothetical city will
already have turned into someting not so different.