RE: [SL4] Entropy is easier than Extropy. Or is it?

From: Dale Johnstone (
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 04:53:11 MDT

>------Original Message------
>From: Marc Forrester <>
>Watching Jean-Michel Jarre's 'Egypt 2000' Millenium Concert last
>night, I was struck by a spark of hope. Here was a guy with some
>obviously transhuman sensibilities staging a show filled with

Yeah, I've been a big Jarre fan since childhood - his music definitely inspires me into transhumanistic directions. Go get the new Metamorphoses album if you haven't already.

>flames, explosions, and coherent radiation beams, classical weapons
>technology, but used purely for fun and profit. Which is nice, but
>more interestingly, the most recent of the three, the laser, is
>actually very difficult to use as a weapon, and has seen much
>earlier adoption as an engine of communication, computing, healing,
>and more recently, creation.
>Is this a trend? As we focus more on sophisticated short range,
>low energy applications of our ideas in favour of the robustness,
>range, and brute power required to destroy our perceived enemies,
>will bio and nano technologies and the ultratechnologies they
>enable have their earliest impact on computers and the internet,
>then medicine and industry, with dangerously destructive options
>arriving later, when defensive techniques are already established?

I don't think you should assume that just because lasers didn't really take off as weapons, nanotech won't either. There's a massive difference between them. Lasers need huge amount of energy to do any damage and don't immediately avail themselves to destructive applications. Self-replicating machines on the other hand could be massively destructive from day 1.

>Not to be relied on, obviously, but it seems at least feasible
>that as we investigate ever smaller and more fundamental universal
>forces it actually becomes ever easier to create than to destroy..

That's too much of a generalisation. A random arrangement of atoms is more likely than a non-random arrangement. Specific arrangements will always require more effort. (However arrangements that protect themselves from being disturbed, including making copies of themselves, may ultimately become more widespread, simply because those that don't, dont.)

Creation and destruction can be subjective terms. A developer who builds houses on open fields may think of the process as creative - an environmentalist may think of the process as destructive. It's just a different arrangement of matter, and of opinion.

Would you view a self-replicating nano-virus speading across the universe making more copies of itself as destructive or creative?

Perhaps the difference in sophistication of the before & after arrangement is what determines if the process was destructive or creative. I certainly feel the world right now is more interesting and sophisticated than a world of grey goo.

Does anyone on the list have any information (non-speculation) concerning the grey goo problem? It would be nice to find some evidence to show if this is going to be a real issue or not. Currently it scares the pants off me.

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