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Tech refs on MNT favoring offense/defense?

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  • c-yahoo@willdye.com
    (Crossposted on sci.nanotech and nsg-d. Apologies for any duplicates.) Nuts. Despite a three-hour consultation with Google (your friend and mine), I haven t
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
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      (Crossposted on sci.nanotech and nsg-d. Apologies for any duplicates.)

      Nuts. Despite a three-hour consultation with Google (your friend and
      mine), I haven't found a single technical paper on the relatively
      ancient issue of MNT favoring offense or defense. I tried variations
      on "nano/nanotech/nanotechnology/molecular nanotechnology/MNT", and
      "defence/defense/offence/offense", but still no joy. The closest
      technical match I noticed was the Freitas paper on ecophagy limits.
      Pickings were slim even for non-technical mentions of the issue, such
      as mailing list discussions, a brief mention of the subject by Ralph
      Merkle at the Stanford symposium, and a coupla general policy papers.

      Please tell me I'm just not using the right search words, and there's
      a passel of well-financed research out there on this important issue.
      Please? Sigh. Well, if anyone knows of a paper on the subject that
      goes beyond the more obvious stages of initial speculation, please
      point me to it. I'm cramming for the April Foresight conference,
      where I hope to get into some very specific discussions about the
      design specs of regulatory mechanisms. Yes, it's a scary topic.

      --Will

      William L. Dye -- Software Enginerd -- willdye.com
      --------------------------------------------------
      "You are old, Father William," the young man said,
      "And your hair has become very white;
      And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
      Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
    • Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
      ... A huge discussion on nanotech offense vs. defense occurred on the Extropians list during the summer of 97. Nick Bostrom has his own comments and some of
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
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        c-yahoo@... wrote:
        >
        > (Crossposted on sci.nanotech and nsg-d. Apologies for any duplicates.)
        >
        > Nuts. Despite a three-hour consultation with Google (your friend and
        > mine), I haven't found a single technical paper on the relatively
        > ancient issue of MNT favoring offense or defense. I tried variations
        > on "nano/nanotech/nanotechnology/molecular nanotechnology/MNT", and
        > "defence/defense/offence/offense", but still no joy. The closest
        > technical match I noticed was the Freitas paper on ecophagy limits.
        > Pickings were slim even for non-technical mentions of the issue, such
        > as mailing list discussions, a brief mention of the subject by Ralph
        > Merkle at the Stanford symposium, and a coupla general policy papers.

        A huge discussion on nanotech offense vs. defense occurred on the Extropians
        list during the summer of 97. Nick Bostrom has his own comments and some of
        the others' online at:

        http://www.nickbostrom.com/old/nanotechnology.html

        Not a technical paper, though; sorry.

        -- -- -- -- --
        Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
        Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
      • Mark Gubrud
        Read my paper Nanotechnology and International Security, posted at http://www.foresight.org/Conferences/MNT05/Papers/Gubrud.html if you haven t yet. Does MNT
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
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          Read my paper "Nanotechnology and International Security," posted at
          http://www.foresight.org/Conferences/MNT05/Papers/Gubrud.html
          if you haven't yet.

          Does MNT favor offense or defense? It does not repeal the basic axiom
          of the nuclear age, which is that technology is capable of unleashing so
          much destructive potential, relative to the fragility of what we would
          like to defend, i.e. ourselves and our civilization, that a defense by
          force is impossible.

          Hence we rely on deterrence, but that cannot be a long-term strategy,
          because it is constantly being undermined by new technology and new
          disputes between nations (deterrence does not solve the problem of who
          should be the one to back down).

          Nanotechnology will certainly provide new means of defense, but also new
          means of offense, including increase in numbers and possibly types of
          nuclear weapons. So there can be no doubt that a determined and
          undeterred attacker will be able to succeed in destroying you in an MNT
          environment.

          Furthermore, an unrestrained arms race between two or more MNT powers
          will almost certainly tend toward an explosively unstable confrontation,
          because of the possibility of preemption at many levels, the
          ever-shortening time line for attack and response, and the intractable
          complexity of the "correlation of forces."

          Sorry if this does not seem sufficiently technical to you, but it is
          really an open-and-shut case which does not require any detailed
          calculation. The idea that new technology is going to make a unilateral
          defense strategy workable is just plain stupid. In reality, the input
          of new technology into military confrontations is generally
          destabilizing (with some local exceptions).

          The more interesting question, which can benefit from detailed technical
          analysis, is what combination of arms control, deterrence, cooperation,
          policing and defensive capability against low-level threats can maintain
          stability as we move into the nanotechnic age. As long as it is
          understood that neither deterrence nor independent self-defense is
          sustainable, it should be possible to work out a stable transition to a
          cooperative international security regime that can prevent the breakout
          of arms races and war between major powers while suppressing terrorism
          and rogue aggression.

          Finally, and particularly in regard to the issue of terrorism and
          upstart powers, it must be understood that peace and justice are
          inseparable, and that neither can be imposed by one party on another.
          An unjust world order will never be peaceful, and perfect justice can
          never be attained, but must always be sought through dialogue,
          negotiation and good will.

          As M. L. King said, "Now the judgement of God is upon us, and we must
          learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as
          fools."


          c-yahoo@... wrote:
          >
          > (Crossposted on sci.nanotech and nsg-d. Apologies for any duplicates.)
          >
          > Nuts. Despite a three-hour consultation with Google (your friend and
          > mine), I haven't found a single technical paper on the relatively
          > ancient issue of MNT favoring offense or defense. I tried variations
          > on "nano/nanotech/nanotechnology/molecular nanotechnology/MNT", and
          > "defence/defense/offence/offense", but still no joy. The closest
          > technical match I noticed was the Freitas paper on ecophagy limits.
          > Pickings were slim even for non-technical mentions of the issue, such
          > as mailing list discussions, a brief mention of the subject by Ralph
          > Merkle at the Stanford symposium, and a coupla general policy papers.
          >
          > Please tell me I'm just not using the right search words, and there's
          > a passel of well-financed research out there on this important issue.
          > Please? Sigh. Well, if anyone knows of a paper on the subject that
          > goes beyond the more obvious stages of initial speculation, please
          > point me to it. I'm cramming for the April Foresight conference,
          > where I hope to get into some very specific discussions about the
          > design specs of regulatory mechanisms. Yes, it's a scary topic.
          >
          > --Will
        • Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
          ... I wouldn t call this case open-and-shut - it takes a lot of knowledge to see this for the totally lopsided issue it is - but I agree with Gubrud. And if
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
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            Mark Gubrud wrote:
            >
            > Sorry if this does not seem sufficiently technical to you, but it is
            > really an open-and-shut case which does not require any detailed
            > calculation. The idea that new technology is going to make a unilateral
            > defense strategy workable is just plain stupid. In reality, the input
            > of new technology into military confrontations is generally
            > destabilizing (with some local exceptions).

            I wouldn't call this case open-and-shut - it takes a lot of knowledge to see
            this for the totally lopsided issue it is - but I agree with Gubrud. And if
            Gubrud and I agree on something, you *know* it's true.

            -- -- -- -- --
            Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
            Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
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