Re: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Eugen Leitl (
Date: Thu Jan 01 2004 - 14:55:54 MST

On Thu, Jan 01, 2004 at 12:41:33PM -0800, Robin Lee Powell wrote:

> By 'accidentally' I mean:
> "Oh, we've created these lovely nanorobots that will stay in
> your blood stream and eat cholesterol and occasionally replicate
> to keep their numbers up."

Medical nanotechnology capabilities as described are arbitrary improbable, by virtue
of their predecessor having precipitated a Singularity, which by itself is not
compatible with sustained persistance of humans of conventional bauplan.

It is also rather difficult to fab this by self-rep within an animal. Again:
such capabilities indicate a weapon, not a medical device. They're
fundamentally feasible; just lots harder than people seem to think.
> "Ummm, boss, there's an off-by-one error in the replication
> code. They're never going to stop replicating, and we just
> released the first batch into a live human who left the building
> about twenty minutes ago."
> Remember, the Internet Worm of 1988 was an accident (an error in the
> code that recognized that the current machine had already been
> infected). That doesn't mean it didn't make skill to create. The
> two are orthogonal issues.

I'm familiar with the Morris worm incident. You're silently implying that
self-replication is more or less trivial to achieve. Facility of
self-replication depends on how supportive the context is, and
self-replication of real physical machines in free environment counts for
being pretty hostile. Biological pathogens within an animal they're not.

-- Eugen* Leitl leitl
ICBM: 48.07078, 11.61144
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A 7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE

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