Re: FWD: Jaron on 9/11

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Mon Oct 08 2001 - 08:38:08 MDT

>From: Anders Sandberg <>

>I find it interesting that he views the immune system as
>inherently xenophobic. I know he bases this on how the actual
>immune system works (anything not belonging to the self must be
>destroyed or expelled), but to me the immune system conjures up
>the concept of something distributed, pervasive and adaptive
>rather than xenophobic. One can protect a society without being
>xenophobic, and the ideal way of dealing with small groups of
>enemies is to be good at detecting them on the individual level
>rather than look at overbroad classes.

Indeed this is a mischaracterization of the immune system.

Our bodies are swarming with non-us entities, from individual cells
to the mites that inhabit every hair/skin pore on our bodies.

What the immiune system does is try to recognize things dangerous
to the body, it tolerates a wide variety of non-dangerous others.

>Transparency is a first order such system: there are sensors for
>mischief everywhere. In order to retain an open society these have
>to be aimed not just as potential terrorists but at everybody,
>especially the powers that be. It is no coincidence that David
>Brin talked about the immune system of democracy when he discussed
>the people keeping checks on the powerful (for good and bad
>reasons); what could be needed is to extend this system into an
>overall system of mischief detection, both external, internal and

While valuable, transparency isn't essential. What is essential is
the the immune systems elements can detect characteristics of the
intruder. Sometimes the systems fails at this and attacks non-
threatening elements in which case the immune system itself
performs the damage. As anyone who has suffered an auto-immune
disease can tell you.

>Of course, that won't stop people from communicating by strong
>crypto. But it is not the evil thoughts that matter, it is the
>evil deeds. If everything done in cyberspace remains secret but
>everything done in the real world can be monitored, we still have
>a pretty good defense.

Agreed, but of course everything in cyberspace is not secret, in
fact most is transparent.

People in this country have a history of trading freedom for
convenience/security for example. I could easily see the emergence
from this for say an "Air Travel I.D. card"

For being willing to submit to say a background check and
fingerprinting one could obtain this I.D. which would allow one to
bypass long security procedures at airports. A simple Instacheck at
the airport would confirm your "currently ok" status.

For those who find this outrageous, this is exactly what every gun
owner goes through everyday (although currently minus the

>I found it ironic that the US has asked Quatar to rein in the
>arabic satelite channel based there, on the grounds that it could
>supply information to Afghanistan. I sincerely hope they do not
>bend to that pressure. That satelite channel has caused the ire of
>most governmentsin the area, since it actually sends its own news
>that doesn't follow any party line (except not criticizing the
>government of Quatar - that was part of the deal they made;
>everything else is fair game) and does some serious journalism on
>its own (it has correspondents in Afghanistan right now and has in
>the past uncovered quite a few embarrasing truths elsewhere in the
>arab world). So far Quatar has not done anything, and I hope they
>will be even less persuaded by the US than Saudi Arabia.

The military is not a democratic entity, so it is a normal function
of the military to try and supress information channels that are
against it's best interests.

>The point is, all the other mass media in the region are state
>controlled. You can figure out what that means. Open societies
>need free media, and the US seems to be making a grave mistake if
>they try to limit the only existing free media in the region.

As I said the U.S. is in "military mode" at the moment.

Does freedom of information mean freedom of instantaneous

>Lanier is a critic of transhumanism, but in many ways a good
>critic. He points out weak points in our program or in how it is
>presented (which is just as important), and it is up to us to show
>him that he is wrong or adjust our actions to make him wrong. He
>is on the enlightenment side like us, unlike Leon Kass and Jeremy
>Rifkin, and he appreciates the benefits of technology and freedom
>far more than Bill Joy.

Any references to comments by Lanier on Transhumanism or


Extropy Institute,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
SBC/Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:12 MDT