Re: poly: Re: the destruction problem (was: singleton)

From: Anders Sandberg <>
Date: Sat May 02 1998 - 17:04:10 PDT

"Nick Bostrom" <> writes:

> Anders Sandberg writes:
> > I think the best solution is nature's way: maximum diversity
> I could also be argued that if there is a way to "blow up the world",
> then with maximum diversity chances are that somebody will find it.

True. So the cruicial (as in "Great Filter") questions seem to be: are
there such a way to blow up the world (be it a planet, solar system or
a galaxy) that nobody is left? And is it likely that it will be used
by any agent?

The Teller-Ulam mechanism would work on a terrestrial planet, but at
the present technological level it doesn't seem likely that anybody
could implement it without everybody else taking notice and preventing
it. Even with advanced nanotech it would be noticeable that somebody
is stockpiling deuterium, and at that point space colonisation would
be simple, so this appears to be a survivable threat.

There might be other threats that are much more likely at a certain
technological level and have no remedy at the same tech level. Maybe
some form of goo danger that appears very early in nanotechnological
development (before we have the sapphire rocket engines and diamondoid
hull habitats). Being planetary seems to be the bottleneck, once we
are interplanetaary the threats must become very broad to be
likely. The only such danger I can imagine right now would be
supernova weapons that could be used at a distance, but I'm not sure
about their likeliehood.

> >, and as strong defenses as possible locally.
> ...though it's important to be clear about what local defenses can
> and cannot accomplish. One conclusion that at least I drew from the
> classic goo profylaxis thread on the extropians list last summer is
> that an "island" cannot defend itself from a "sea", if both have
> advanced nanotechnology. (I.e. active shields would have to be
> permeating).

I hope to get back to this problem when I get more time (right after
the Singularity or so :-), I have been reading up on immunology and
been thinking about it.

But your point is good, defenses are always limited. But it might turn
out that in some regimes the shields can outlast the spears.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
Received on Sun May 3 00:08:11 1998

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