Re: Dreams of Autarky

Robin Hanson (
Fri, 17 Sep 1999 12:19:10 -0400

At 09:58 AM 9/17/1999 -0500, you wrote:
> > The fear is usually more of a small lab or county taking over, instead
> > of a few countries. I find it hard to take seriously as a concern,
> > but others on this list most clearly do.
>I would also expect that the minimum size for a sudden takeover would be
>a small country, a very large lab (major corporation), or more likely a
>large country.

Fair enough. I have incorporated this and other feeback in:

> > Yes, that is my intuition. But the question I was facing was why
> > others have such dramatically different intuitions.
>I think it's because of our visualization of the technology. For
>example, no matter how crude nanotechnology is, once you can infiltrate
>NBC security and cause small explosions in a precisely defined
>locations, then that's enough to conquer most countries.

I think this vastly underestimates the difficulty of the problem Pinky & the Brain fail at in every episode. :-)

Robin Hanson Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323