Re: Eugene's nuclear threat

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Mon Oct 02 2000 - 02:06:52 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky writes:

> Eugene Leitl thinks it's okay to murder
> scientists whose work he doesn't like.

Sigh. Let's try it again.

There must be lots of scientists I don't like personally (them and me
being only human, and all), but that hardly gives me mandate to snuff
them. Only those who *provably* engage into *Armageddon-class*
research (*not only according to my opinion* -- I would get second and
third and fourth opinions from independent experts in the area) and
*would not cease and desist* when confronted with what they do and
*given proper time to recant* would have to be prevented from what
they do, *preferably by locking them up*, or, failing that, by
*executing them*. I would expect this to be handled by a (state or
private) authority representing a substantial amount of people. Only
if this machinery is not there or fails to handle the problem (which I
must be 100% sure is for real), and I'm in the position of handling it
(fat chance) I will be compelled to terminate these people with
whatever means are at my disposal. Buck Rogers saving the world with a
toothpick, etc.

Now compare above passage with what you just said.

If you confuse that with what Ted Kaczynski did when he blew
Gelernter's hands off, then you ought to have your head examined.

According to you, people disposing sarine in Japanese subways should
be apparently allowed to proceed, in the name of freedom of
science. Or how about Dr. Mengele, surely he did some valuable
research on identical twins, the dream control group? Or those WWII
Japanese bioweapon researchers, who tested their weapons on POWs,
causing them to slowly die of gangrene? Or those French military
surgeons, who -- of course without asking them -- transplanted heads
of terminally wounded asian POWs in Indochina? Or these nameless
German engineers who calculated the size of crematorium ovens for
sustained criticality? Or the IG Farben producing HCN absorbed on
silica, for a rather radical concentration camp delousing? Or Chinese
medics extracting and selling organs of executed prisoners on the
transplantation market? Or these people who contaminated whole Utah
with nuke airbursts, resulting in hundreds of additional deaths due to
cancer? Freedom of science, my ass. If you condone any of this I
indeed would like to see you locked up for good.

Right now I'm aware of only three potential instances of Armageddon
class research: bioweapons of a certain design and modus of deployment
(your garden-variety anthrax and Ebola obviously don't qualify),
free-environment-capable molecular autoreplicators and positive-
autofeedback-capable superhuman AI. Possible future candidates would
be devices based on new physics, which can destroy this planet (say,
allowing you to create a stable singularity, and dropping it into
Earth's core, or something which dislodges our false vacuum, etc.).

>From what you said before, I assume you're not quite cool with grey
goo gobbling up the global biosphere, and I'm pretty sure you don't
like you and 95% of humanity dying painfully from some engineered
disease as well as a radically compacted Earth with lots of hard gamma
pyrotechnics. I presume -- freedom of science or no -- you would want
these people stopped, by whatever means possible, even if it involves
you personally stepping up and capping them from behind. I would
really like to hear your response to this one.

Now assuming you're mistaken about your superhuman AI, and, if you
indeed happen to produce a critical core, and it will indeed explode
right into your face into a positive autofeedback selfimprovement
runaway, and eat us all, starting with you first, would you allow you
to proceed?

But, of course, you can't be possibly mistaken. Never, ever. These
divine voices in my head telling me I'm right, etc.

Enough of this crap.

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