Re: poly: The singleton hypothesis

From: Nick Bostrom <>
Date: Thu Jun 25 1998 - 14:38:32 PDT

Peter C. McCluskey writes:

> >They could have two modes, one where they eat and multiply (they
> >could eat some organic stuff for example), and one mode where they
> >use their energy reserves to destroy glass.
> Now you added enough complexity that it won't be one of the earliest
> possible military uses of nanotech, so you need to do a good deal of
> analysis of how defenses against nanomachines will have evolved by the
> time in question.

First, I think that the complexity of the two-mode nanite is only
slightly greater than the sum of the complexity of its two
componants, which I think were assuming were already at hand. Given
component A and B, you only need to glue them together, add a control
module which can swith them on and off (and perhaps add some extra
cilia if that's what they use to propel themselves).

Second, we are talking about destroying enemy glass. But don't you
think that once their metal and plastic and rubber (and a range of
other materials) are destroyed, their infrastructure will be so
weakened that it will be hard to keep up in the race to develop more
advanced nanotechnology?

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics
Received on Thu Jun 25 21:01:24 1998

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