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Nanotechnology and Mass Destruction

from the regulate-or-relinquish dept.
schnippy writes "The latest issue of "Disarmament Diplomacy" from the Acronym Institute has a long piece on the need for a new 'Inner Space' treaty to prevent nanowarfare and "Grey Goo" scenarios. The author provides a model treaty, based on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and argues that inner space should be treated as a sanctuary similar to the idea of an outer space sanctuary."

Note that Sean Howard also includes a "plan B" draft treaty that would totally outlaw all research and technology development at the nanoscale, which, if it could be enforced, would essentially bring to a halt all scientific and technological advance.

One Response to “Nanotechnology and Mass Destruction”

  1. genomik Says:

    Nanotech war and peace

    Eventually we should do this. The question becomes WHEN it will be feasable to do it.

    It is argued that war helps evolve organisms and society to the next level. It happens in all of nature (ants, monkeys, fungi) as well as to societies ( romans, germans, christians), so therefore it is a natural law. This is relatively true.

    However, recent advances in technology are allowing humans to be our own gods. We are beginning to control our own destiny and adjust the laws of nature. This is something new, only about 4-20 years old at any scale( think genetic engineering).

    There are 2 consequences of this: 1) IF we are our own gods and can control nature, then natural laws are no longer laws. The natural law that war is the primary way that societies evolve fastest may no longer be true. 2) Taken to its ultimate end, a earth of 5 billion (or even only 500) gods might not be a good thing.

    Implicit in the term civilization is the advancement of culture, as opposed to being animals. As we progress, do we really need to keep the war baggage? Barbarians! Do we need it to help us move forward, if we will already be so advanced (in 50 years) that most humans might be very happy and advanced?

    So this trend towards nano war, which cannot be easily broken from biowarfare is indeed troubling. In the near term, war might even be sort of "cool" or even might help technological advancement, but at what price in the long run.

    Total relinquishment is absurd today, or even in the very near future, but might not be so crazy in 50 years.

    Since 911 the governement has been asking technology companies to to pursue these technologies for "defense" and NOBODY is saying a thing! Most people do not understand these technologies, they are so small and dual use that no one pays attention!

    Let me go to Hollywood briefly. To compare 2 different fictional accounts of the future, look at Terminator (war) vs Brave New World (relative relinquishment). These are not so absurd. They could be realistic visions of tomorrow. I doubt many would prefer Terminator!

    Erik Sayle

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