Re: Novas

Crosby_M (
Mon, 21 Oct 1996 12:22:00 -0400

On Thursday, October 17, 1996 7:15AM, Anders Sandberg wrote:
<Personally I think this kind of hyperweapons we discuss above are very
unlikely - they are too indiscriminate and require a lot of energy/work.
"Perversion attacks" a la Vinge are more likely - infiltrate the enemy
with nanites or AI viruses, and then destroy him subtly. One could
imagine tiny berzerkers (gremlins?) that move around a la von Neumann
probes, and when they find a civilization they study it, send out very
subtle agents, and then plans its downfall using SI.>

I fail to follow the reasoning behind that whole Hanson-Bishop
discussion that aliens would likely have a "kill them and eat them"
attitude rather than a "study them and trade with them" approach.

Perhaps the latest story to explore the scenario of Earth being invaded
by AI-driven nanites is Ian McDonald's 12/95 novel _Evolution's Shore_.
It starts with anomalies being observed in the outer solar system, soon
followed by probes which land on Earth and begin spreading a
cotton-candy-like nano-goo called 'Chaga', particularly in poorer parts
of the Earth like Africa. The story follows an intrepid reporter,
scientists and bureaucrats as they all try to find out what the Chaga is
up to and take advantage of it. In the end, all sides end up taking
advantage of each other (the Extropian approach?)

Mark Crosby