Re: NANO: Institutional Safety

Thu, 18 Nov 1999 04:50:47 -0800 (PST)

> OK, check me if I'm wrong, but isn't this a bit like
> asking why any
> group of people or any society would tend to expand
> based on accessible
> resources? For one thing, there is a reproductive,
> or evolutionary
> selection pressure in favor of those who both want
> to, and are
> successful at, expanding.

Do you mean expand geographically or reproductively? Are you claiming that natural selection operates at the group or societal level on human beings? Do you have any data to support this assertion (whichever one you are making)?

It appears to me that recent examples of highly expansionist human groups or societies [expansionist in the terms discussed, that is- capturing/controlling resources] have fared quite badly. The examples I can think of are Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, Soviet Union.

> > The two main motivating forces I see for
> colonialism were:
> > a) a desire for freedom -- but in a personal VR,
> you have the
> > "ultimate" freedom.
> > b) the quest for "rare" natural resources (e.g.
> gold, silver,
> > spices, etc.) -- these aren't "rare" in a
> nanotech environment.
> To this you should add
> c) the desire for power, whether over other people
> or over the material
> world in general

In the scenario proposed [i.e. a nanotech society advanced enough to be capable of providing reality-level VR and an end to scarcity] an individual motivated strongly by the desire for power over others or "the material world" who could not sublimate that desire in a VR simulation would be extremely dangerous to all other members of that society. They will have vast powers to deal with that threat, and probably would.

> d) the desire to become influential in the sense of
> adding to the
> success of the ideas, thoughts, or lifestyles that
> one values the most

And this is assisted by colonialism [intense competition over disputed resources] how? In a society where resources are abundant the control of resources conveys no influence. On would become influential by maintaining a reputation for reason, creativity, rationality, helpfulness, etc.

> e) the inadvertent, or preconscious tendency that
> humans share with
> other living things, to create a certain "influence
> on history" for
> those who happen to be evolutionarily successful

What? Fungi have a preconscious tendency to create an influence on history?

> Note that "colonial" is often used to refer to the
> 19th century West's
> empire building and global resource mining. IMO, the
> term could also be
> appropriately used for any particularly intense
> modern competition over
> disputed resources, especially if the resources are
> newly accessed, like
> space resources or ocean resources.

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