Re: Goo prophylaxis:consensus

Eric Watt Forste (
Wed, 03 Sep 1997 09:56:30 -0700

Nicholas Bostrom writes:
> still disagreement on several issus. But perhaps we reached a near
> consensus on the following non-trivial points?

> 1. Provided that technological research continues, nanotechnology
> will eventually be developed.

> 2. An immune system wouldn't work unless it was global.

> 3. In the absence of a global immune system, if everybody could
> make their own nanotech machines then all life on earth would soon
> become extinct.

> 4. In the absence of ethical motives, the benefits would outweigh
> the costs for a nanotech power that chose to eliminate the competition
> or prevent it from arising, provided it had the ability to do so.

Just because you chose to label this a near consensus, I have to
register disagreement, especially with your points 3 and 4. Point
2 is somewhat vague, so I don't know whether I agree with it or

If everybody could make their own nanotech machines, then life on
Earth would change drastically, but I suspect it would do that
anyway. All life going extinct is a rather larger, and I suspect
unlikely, proposition. If you restricted your point 3 to the idea
that the chances of all sophont life on Earth going extinct would
be elevated by the presence of widely distributed nanotechnology,
I might agree.

Your point 4 seems to me to be directly contrary to the principle
of comparative advantage and my understanding of economic advantage
generally, so I think it's flat-out false.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception -pcd