Re: Goo prophylaxis:consensus

The Low Golden Willow (
Thu, 4 Sep 1997 12:43:43 -0700 (PDT)

On Sep 4, 2:01pm, "Nicholas Bostrom" wrote:

} 1. Provided that technological research continues, it is likely that
} ab initio molecular nanotechnology, including general assemblers,
} will eventually be developed.

I wouldn't agree or disagree. It's worth researching, obviously, but I
don't know what "likely" means here. It's a complex subject we don't
know much about; making statements of probability seems silly.

} 2. Hostile attack goo cannot be allowed to gain a sizable foothold;
} therefore there must not be any sizable global area unprotected by an
} immune system.

"Sizable" is vague. One city fighting off a planet of goo might lose.
One half of a planet could fight off another half, particularly since in
all the scenarios I've seen most of the brains are on the defense.
And there's still the possibility that most of the biosphere is already
protected by adequate immune systems.

} Given an island vs. sea battle, and a certain minimum technology
} level on both sides, the sea will win, whether the "island" is a
} malevolent spore or a city.

"Certain minimum technology level" is completely vague. You can shift
the levels on either side to force whatever result you want. And I
think I disagree with the claim in general anyway: the natures of the
"island" and "sea" do matter. A spore surrounded by white blood cells
and a city surrounded by whatnot are not the same thing. A city can
defeat a first wave and then cannibalize the remains, becoming stronger.
The spread of civilization, except here the wild comes to the city
rather than vice versa.

} 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.
} [Hal agrees with this, but several people said they don't. In at
} least one of the cases, the disagreement crept in outside the claim
} that is made in 4. 4 does not say that the first nanotech power
} *will* eliminate the competition (altough I happen to believe that
} that is rather likely). Only that in the absence of ethical motives
} it would be rational for it to do so. But ethical motievs need not be

} I don't see how anybody could disagree with it, in the light of the
} cost-benefit analysis I posted a few days ago.

I raise the possibility of disagreement precisely because our ethical
systems militate against it so strongly. Our evolved morality may know
more than you do.

} The lost-information objection I find completely unconvincing.

Ah, well I can say that about many of your arguments.

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

"The kiss originated when the first male reptile licked the first female
reptile, implying in a subtle, complimentary way that she was as succulent
as the small reptile he had for dinner the night before."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald