Re: The End of Privacy ?

Anders Sandberg (
01 Jul 1998 23:50:54 +0200

"Bryan Moss" <> writes:

> Also, it might be an idea to find out who the
> "crazies" actually are. Contrary to popular
> belief (to my knowledge) there is no mental
> illness that makes people want to destroy the
> world. Most potential threats will have very real
> reasons for wanting us all dead.

Yes, outside B-movies few people are really out to destroy the world. Psychologically speaking, one should maybe look at people with persecution/revenge complex combined with severe megalomania, but that usually tends to result in mailbombs rather than anthrax epidemics. However, the group dynamics and memetics of the Japanese doomsday sect should instill some caution - it would make a perfect study object of the kind of crazies to look out for.

Otherwise I would study terrorist groups. They usually aren't that technical themselves, but there are underground engineers for hire. According to a friend a few years back one of the experts at making bombs in Israel accidentally blew himself up, which resulted in a marked decrease in the number of bombings - this suggests that such underground engineers are relatively few and technological diffusion to terrorism is limited in the post-cold war era.

Not even terrorists go for wholesale destruction, it doesn't work as useful terrorism. But they might want to have it as an option/defense in the case things go badly: "If you touch us, all will go to hell!". That is worth worrying about, since it seems to fit better with the terrorist martyr mindset.

Overall, I think the number of crazies that would and could use weapons of mass destruction is quite low. But they exist, and that poses a problem. Personally I think we do not need to worry too much yet, the available weaponry is limited, and we have plenty of time to figure out how to deal with more technology. But we should take the problem seriously.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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