Re: Goo prophylaxis:consensus

The Low Golden Willow (
Wed, 3 Sep 1997 23:07:48 -0700 (PDT)

On Sep 3, 2:33pm, "Nicholas Bostrom" wrote:

} 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.

I see no reason to assume Drextech (Drexler-Merkle nanotech) must be
developable. Using machine-phase chemistry to replace diffusion
transport is a big step, not to mention doing so robustly. Plus the
control and power requirements.

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

Like the global biological immune system against flesh-eating bacteria,
amoebae, and other yummies?

} 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.

Unproven. Even if the game theory arguments seem unassailable, I see
that as no guarantee that "the first nanopower" would obey it. People
follow their own emotional morality -- which may yet be right. Note the
current survival of the Third World, despite First World technological
superiority. Wouldn't it be beneficial to clear out the useless
populations, remove their ecological impact, get some more living space
for us?

I resist believing that game theory has fully recapitulated and
surpassed the sophistication of our evolved morality. (see Hayek and

And if the first nanopower is a human, they'll probably not want to wipe
out all possible companionship. Most of my friends would be appalled at
the genocide of the rest of humanity. Great life I'd have.

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

"It is a proud and lonely thing to be a prince of Amber, incapable of
trust. I wasn't real fond of it just then, but there I was."
-- Roger Zelazny, one of the Amber books, Corwin