Re: Anticipatory backfire

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 09:07:14 MST

On Thu, Nov 08, 2001 at 10:22:18AM -0400, Nick Bostrom wrote:
> At 05:35 AM 11/8/2001, you wrote:
> >Is there a name for dangers or catastrophes which are brought about
> >as a result of an attempt to anticipate and defend against them?
> I don't know of a specific term for this. Self-fulfilling fears?

I have a kind of instance of this in my book. During the 70s scientists
tried to be responsible about genetic engineering, and took a lot of
precautions even when they didn't know or expect any dangers. This was
partially of course to decrease public fears. But the strategy didn't
work: people instead took the extreme precautions as signs that the
technology was very dangerous! The reasons for this are complex: a lack
of communication ('risk' means different things to laymen and
scientists), associations with the late 40's attempts to control
nuclear power creating an image of genetics = nuclear, growing
scepticism against authorities making people distrust the motivations
of scientists and their level of precautions, and so on.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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