Re: Goo prophylaxis:consensus

Mark Crosby (
Fri, 5 Sep 1997 11:00:06 -0700 (PDT)

Hal Finney wrote:
< Similarly, a nanotech power which is so paranoid and aggressive as
to take the step of eradicating everyone else on the planet may find
it difficult to survive on its own terms. [SNIP] The result would be a
nightmare Borgism, a nearly mindless plague whose only goal was
conquest, spreading throughout the universe. This would all flow from
that first step of destruction. >

Echoing Forrest, thanks Hal. That was the most focused argument I’ve
seen yet against some elements of the Hedonistic Imperative that I’ve
always found very disconcerting.

(The concerns I’m talking about were also briefly mentioned in )

But then Forrest Bishop wrote:
< I think an SI would at least have the brainpower to know that it
cannot know the consequences of its information destruction. (The
notion that it could reconstruct that information is garbage, IMO.) >

And Hal replied
< I seem to recall a proposal by Drexler for a "brute force" route to
AI via simulation. [SNIP] If this is really possible (I'm not sure the
numbers work) then it suggests to me that the loss of information
caused by the destruction of some portion of the human race is
insignificant compared to the amount which will be created and
manipulated routinely by a nanotech culture.>

If the time from now to ‘The Eschaton’ is longer than the time since
the beginning of the universe, or if the universe continues
indefinitely, then, sure, the loss of past ‘information’ will seem
"insignificant compared to" the future ‘information’ to be created.
But, as you also point out, look how much could flow from "that first
step of destruction". Life could probably recover but I can only echo
Forrest in thinking that it could never be the same. Brute-force
resurrection only seems possible within an Omega-Point situation of
infinite computational resources, if then.

Hal also asks:
< Well, that's my question. When would it [past knowledge] be useful?
How would it be useful? Give me some ideas of what you're thinking
of, here. My conception is that the Power is so, well, Powerful that
I can't see how the historical knowledge would matter. But most other
people seem to disagree, so I'd appreciate some examples.>

To me it's debatable just how much 'power' these future Powers can
have. But aside from that, it's not so much going back and
reaccessing past information, it's what would be lost in the future in
terms of diversity if certain elements of the past or present are
*expunged* from continuing into the future. (Not a very good
'example', hopefully someone else will be more clever - which is why I
hope for a diverse future and not some monistic Power calling all the
shots :-)

Mark Crosby

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