Re: Give a man a fish... Give a man a nuke...

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Wed, 03 Sep 1997 19:03:17 -0500 wrote:
> Am I the only person who thinks widespreed nanotech is a good thing?

I think widespread nanotech would be a wonderful thing, if we could do it.

> So, everyone has the means and the ability to make whatever they want in
> nanotech. Someone, somewhere is working away building their back goo.
> Meanwhile *everyone everywhere* are working towards ways to improve their
> defense in case this someone somewhere attacks (the people are aware of the
> danger, because nothing is hiden from them). Who's going to win - billions
> of people who want to live, or one that wants to kill?

The one that wants to kill.

Besides, it's not going to be one psychotic, it's going to be entire psychotic
governments, or even the entire Chinese government which, though sane, might
realize it couldn't dominate a population with access to nanotechnology. Give
the Chinese government nanotechnology and they will launch an all-out effort
to create a preemptive strike.

Add this to the advantage in relative development speeds ('mune is much more
complicated) and in strategy and tactics on the molecular level (as
discussed), and not only will there be a war, but the Chinese will win - that
is, if we confine ourselves to defense.

Now, the U.S. knows this as well as I do. So do all the other governments.
They will revert to the tried and true doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction.

The end result is that all the governments have nano-arsenals. None of them
trust each other. As with Anti-Ballistic-Missile systems, any proposed 'mune
will be treated as upsetting the balance of power. Any attempt to set up a
'mune system would probably provoke a first strike. Meanwhile, the Chinese
government is oppressing the living hell out of their populations. All the
governments are doing their damndest to prohibit all nanotechnology to their
citizens. And NOW these governments have the power to do WHATEVER THEY WANT...

Not that they'll be doing it for long. Soon there will be a very short war.

Giving nanotech to one person is taking a big chance.
Giving nanotech to all governments is simple suicide.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.