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From: "Peter C. McCluskey" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 1997 19:28:09 -0700
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Goo prophylaxis:consensus
References: <>
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Reply-To: ("Nicholas Bostrom") writes:
>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.

Only under the unrealistic assumption that the outcome can be reliably
predicted in advance. If the attacker assumes some uncertainty about
whether the first strike will eliminate the other side(s), then that
attacker will realize that the first strike could leave powerfull
opponent(s) with increased motivation to wipe out the attacker.
Thus, the desirability of a first strike is sensitive to the uncertainties
about an opponent's hidden defences and his imagination about how to
construct new defences. Only omniscient powers should feel confident
about striking first. Remember Clauswitz's maxim that no battle plan
ever survived contact with the enemy.

Peter McCluskey          | caffeine   O   CH3            |            ||  |            |      H3C   C   N |         \ / \ / \     |          N   C   C
                                    |   ||  ||
                                    C   C---N
                                  // \ /
                                  O   N

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