Re: When does it pay to play (lottery)?

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Wed Jan 26 2005 - 09:53:09 MST wrote:
>> 1. Usually the lab begins using strong protocols _after_ the organism
>> has already shown it is dangerous - but with an AGI this may be too late
>> to wait before applying the strongest safety protocols. Bio labs have
>> the luxury of fooling around with strange totally unknown things using
>> low safety protocols initially, because if something does go wrong it
>> won't be the end of the world. With an AGI, it's probably not as simple
>> as quarantining a lab or small geographic area when something bad
>> happens.
> Actually, this is incorrect. Bio-safety protocols start out strongest
> with new or untested organisms, and are reduced only after safety has
> been confirmed. The same is true with new medicines, bio-engineered
> plants and animals, and biological samples taken in the field. They are
> never assumed to be safe until proven dangerous. They are always
> assumed to be dangerous until proven safe.

I was thinking that at first when I wrote my post above, but then I
remembered all sorts of shows I've seen on PBS, etc. where you have
scientists roaming about in caves and other places looking for new forms
of life. And then they invariably seem to bring their samples back for
examination to some dinky looking lab which looks nothing like what I
imagine a high safety lab would look like. So there is some disconnect
here, or I'm missing something.

Brian Atkins
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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