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« State of the Future | Main | Mind-Boggling Implications »

June 29, 2005

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michael vassar

As I pointed out at the WTA meeting, modeling terrorists as simply evil will fail to predict their actual actions. A look at historical data shows that anti-utilitarians don't actually exist, yet many transhumanists, policy makers, and scientists continue to evaluate the dangers of technological possibilies as if they did. No-one is trying to maximize fatalities. People are playing silly little games based on primate politics shaped by the media. Big explosions! Not little germs.
A look at the ineptitude with which a few groups have attempted to use germs should highlight this.
So should a consideration of the actual motivations that might lead to terrorism (especially suicide terrorism). 70 virgins whether you take out 1 evildoer or 1,000,000. Same feeling of self-rightous anger and group membership too.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Well, there are several kinds of terrorists. Terrorists are people who kill random civilians outside of the rules of war. But it's not always only fueled by the motivations you list (anger, membership, virgins). If someone wanted to seriously hurt the U.S., poisoning a few hundred thousand people with a warm-and-cuddly food like milk would certainly do the job.

Hm... though it would also lead to a severe crackdown on illegal immigration and undocumented farm workers, which would make it harder to sneak in thousands of hostile people as is currently happening. It's nice to think that terrorists don't really want to hurt us, but ask yourself: what do they need 10,000 hostiles for that they couldn't do with 1,000? Is it only to spread their ideology to the grass roots in the US? Or are they planning something really big and really nasty?

Chris

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