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« They are ill discoverers... | Main | C-R-Newsletter #34 »

October 17, 2005


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Phillip Huggan

Publishing pandemic virus blueprints is silly. But unless the MNT default scenario is sanguine, or unless there is no time to change the world in some small way which might cause MM to be utilized more responsibly, I say speak out.

Tom Craver

I'm surprised Homeland Security didn't suppress it. Er, no, I guess I'm not - they're too busy confiscating scissors, keeping aid out of disaster areas, and keeping "free speech" zones away from politicians, to worry much about things that might kill off as much as 1% of our population.

At a very minimum, a vaccine should be developed and proven effective prior to releasing such information.
I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
And in-flu-enza.

Tom Craver

For MNT, the correct analogy would be distributing an inherently dangerous design - one that could easily get out of control.

Proposal - establish a list of "risky properties". A preliminary risks list:

- Replication: capable of producing a copy of itself
- Perception: hard for a human to perceive
- Containment: un-attached / free-roving
- Interaction: significant effects on complex systems (biological, ecological, technological)
- Extraction: resource gathering (energy, raw materials)
- Control: no easy "off switch" or (short) time limit on function

Any design with only one risky proprety is probably ok - common devices. Only intentional misuse would be criminal.

Any design with 2 risky properties should come with stringent warnings - medicines, etc. Irresponsible misuse would be criminal.

Any design with three or more might be limited to controlled production and use, illegal to distribute without authorization. E.g. medical implants.

What other "risk factors" are there?

Can someone point to a useful product, that they feel people should be allowed to freely produce, that can't be made under the above limitations? (There would certainly need to be a process for making exceptions on a case-by-case basis.)

Tom Craver

I'd also offer two derived principles:

There shall be no national restrictions on designs and products with less than 2 risk factors (based on the above list).

There shall be no international agreements establishing limits on products with less than 3 risk factors.

This is not meant to imply that there should or must be such controls - I'm suggesting upper bounds, not lower limits.



well, i guess there goes that predominant threat.

As for no simple solution, seems to me that crn's solution is sweeping one to avoid dealing with the insoluble social problems which nobody has ever figured out since time began. No 'religious' solution has ever stopped a social problem from coming about, so I guess crn and others have decided the best solution is to just keep mnt out humanities hands. I'll admit that I don't have mathematical proofs of my thoughts about social problems, but I think I've found plenty of better insights than many throughout human history. And, I still don't think we need to 'risk' putting power in the hands of the irrationalists by making a worldwide government out of fear or a few people that can and do decide to do harm with mnt. The historical precedent had been set almost ten thousand years ago with the first wars over agricultural civilization.

The Russian/American 'hotlines' show the way towards all the international agreements needed. We don't need to take out the non-linearities that make life tick to make mnt safe.

Mike Treder, CRN


If true, this is a significant development. But first, I'd like to hear it from a source other than Free Market News Network...

Tom Craver

Ingesting lots of silver can be very bad for you. Google "argyria" and look at the toxic effect potential.

Brett Bellmore

"Can someone point to a useful product, that they feel people should be allowed to freely produce, that can't be made under the above limitations? (There would certainly need to be a process for making exceptions on a case-by-case basis.)"

People? That's a hit on five out of six, and six if you count blending into the crowd as "hard to percieve". LOL

Tom Craver

Brett: Good point - using MNT to make copies of people would probably be a bad idea...

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