Re: Nuclear war is not an existential threat

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Sep 27 2005 - 13:33:30 MDT

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> - The US has ~1500 MT of nuclear weapons. The Russians have a fair bit
> more. Most of these are airburst weapons, with the greatly reduced
> environmental impact implied. This is a relatively small aggregate yield in
> comparison to many things.

Do we trust the Russian estimates? I've heard that their nuclear
weapons are, perhaps, not quite as reliable as the US's - i.e. they may
have built them and certainly trumpeted that fact back in the Cold War
days, but they wouldn't necessarily launch successfully, or go off, or
go off with the estimated yield.

> Get off the nuclear weapons fixation already. It is a relatively minor
> threat to your survival -- you are far more likely to be killed by a nasty
> virus than a nuke.

How bad does a virus need to be to have the same effect on the world
economy as a nuclear exchange?

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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