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« Massive Manufacturing | Main | Nanotechnology Dangers »

February 07, 2006


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Phillip Huggan

I think your second and third mission statements are the same thing. #2 is only bad because current world leaders and CEOs generally have little incentive to pursue #3 unless self-interested behaviours are forcefully altered to encompass utilitarianism.

Mike Deering

"and that we adopt sensible global regulations on its use."

Global regulations, as opposed to national regulations, will not be practical. Firstly, in the absence of an all powerful single superpower they will be unenforceable. Economic sanctions would be useless and military intervention would quickly escalate out of control.

I don't know what you have against a monopoly when you readily admit that a nano arms race is a bad idea. MAD or other multi-party strategies are inherently unstable under continued technological development. The only hope for avoiding conflict is a unified administration of power.

With forces this powerful, there can be only one.

Phillip Huggan

How about no military administration? No AGI, just a really dumb AI agent carrying out the least invasive functions necessary to ensure no extinctions/tyrannies occur? Would anyone object to Sony's Aibo dog doing all the spying?

michael vassar

A dumb AI couldn't know what actions might lead to extinctions or tyrranies.

Phillip Huggan

The library of truly dangerous goods to sensor detect would need to be compiled beforehand. The AI sensors would only be good for limited functions; detecting chemical contraband or missing carbon mass. Then triggering an alarm. I think from here, existing military/police authorities could be trained to enforce the threat. The key improvement here is that it is not law enforcement that is doing the monitoring. No one is. There should be inherent limitations to the tools used by law enforcement too. What is needed are MM products that cannot be hacked. I think with quantum-encryption, this is possible.

Participatory panoptician goes the wrong way. Giving everyone the ability to infringe on privacy rights will not make us safer, giving NO ONE the ability to spy is the correct course of action.

Janessa Ravenwood

Said it before, I'll say it again Phillip. Grand ideas, no realistic plan for implementation in the real world. Your time would be better spent pondering solutions that could actually be implemented in reality.

Pace Arko

Looking at way things are going, I don't think monopolies, private or governmental, will last for long.

The major military powers in Europe, Asia and North America are all conducting intensive research in MEMS, biotech and nanoscale materials science. There is already concern that terrorist may use and even develop bioweapons.

Maybe the thing to do here, to avoid any tensions, is to get the major players to sign an agreement to share this research openly. The agreement can be pitched as way to stay ahead of and possibly police terrorist groups

I'm even more doubtful that a monopoly will last in the private sector. Despite very public trials and arrests, despite digital rights management, the content makers and the software industry only make a small dent in IP piracy every year. The rise of OSS, copyleft and alternative methods of compensation for creativity also casts a lot of doubt on this.

And on the matter of sousveillance (The participatory panopticon), a big change has happened over the last ten or so years--all of a sudden nearly everyone has a cheap digital video and audio recorder with network capabilities, the mobile phone. Mobile phone use is also spreading rapidly in the developing world too. With these, dissidents, journalists and activists can snap a few pictures of riots and unrest and send them to others or to web servers before having the phone taken away from them.

It's getting harder for governments or corporations to hide information. They may be spying on us but it's also getting easier for us to spy on them and hold them accountable.

Hopefully this encouraging trend will continue into a world of common nanotechology.

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