Re: Fears of nanotech

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Fri, 10 Sep 1999 10:34:47 -0500 wrote:
> What technologies can be used without hindering nanotech development and
> retaining the level of freedom, privacy, and liberty extropians desire? Do
> we develop James L. Halperin's _Truth Machine_ fool-proof lie detector first
> or concurrently?

I posted about that once. I concluded that truth machines were probably in the same "threat" category as nanotech; they would increase the strength of all social authority, both of a government over its citizens, and, in Western democracy *only*, it would *maybe* allow us to better control our government *if* we could interrogate politicians. What's the chance that Congress won't immediately outlaw all non-governmental use, even voluntary private use, because they know damn well they'd all be out of a job? Virtually zero. So truth machines have virtually no positive effects, unless you think you can cause major social disruption to knock Congress out of office (without truth machines, or by broadcasting veridicated statements made overseas).

If you could successfully use truth machines as a weapon against self-serving authority, that would cause *tremendous* social disruption as 95% of Congresspersons, high-level bureaucrats, and corporate executives went out the window. I'm inclined to think they would band together and use the truth machine to enforce a dictatorship.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way