NANO: Initial utilities.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Wed, 03 Sep 1997 20:10:32 -0500

Whichever group first develops nanotech might be able to take certain
pre-emptive actions before *announcing* (not releasing) nanotechnology to the
population at large. I recommend that:

1) Most nuclear weapons be disabled, leaving a reserve for goo outbreaks.

2) Auto-healing nano be surreptitiously infiltrated into all human biological
organisms. These should heal most large-scale wounds, cure all diseases, and
reverse all aging over a certain level.

Certain utilities should also be made available immediately after public
announcement. These utilities might be activated by a pattern of muscle
tensions, hands making a particular sign, jaws clicked together, eyes blinked,
a "spell" recited, and so on. (Magic: It's baaaack!) They should also be
capable of being "preset" to be invoked by various bodily traumas and so on.

Since the announcement and help systems should be universal, they should be
announced by nano-speakers suddenly coalescing on every street corner.

1) A "Diamond Cocoon" utility should be disseminated. When invoked, the
person should be encased in an impermeable Cocoon, immune to attack, fire,
earthquake, or goo. The Cocoon might be capable of placing the person in
suspended animation or some other unaware state of dynamic balance with the
Cocoon system.
The Cocoon could be used by citizens to defend themselves from their
government, or by starving persons. It could also be used by the Nano Rulers.
China attacks? Okay, everyone in China gets put on "hold" for a couple of
days while we get our forces into position, blow up their tanks, dissolve
their weapons...

2) Utilities for cosmetic body modification and aging reversal should be
available. This should DEFINITELY include green skin color and neutral facial
features. Nano-liposuction is a plus; nano-musculature should be limited.

3) NanoNet. Some kind of computer that coalesces when you want it.

4) (Debatable:) Universal Nano Serial Numbers. Universal Digital
Signatures. With all that body modification, maybe we should have some way of
keeping track of each other.

5) Private Property. Some area belongs to you; then no other objects are
allowed inside without your approval. Likewise for objects tagged as being
owned by you; you can order them Cocooned. The problem is figuring out what
belongs to who.

6) Travel Utils. You pick a destination, and then get wrapped up in a Cocoon
and delivered. You can also use this on objects you own. A sub-util will be
BringMe, as in "BringMe 'Wallet'".

7) Copy and Paste. Although I don't think this will be possible.

8) Anesthesia. Persons should be capable of disabling their pain center.



What degree of control should parents have over their children? Who
determines who the parents are? Can older children sever the control?

What did I leave out?

Which of these could be easily acheived, given a major government? Given a
major company? A small company?

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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