Re: [sl4] Gray goo risks

From: Robin Lee Powell (rlpowell@digitalkingdom.org)
Date: Mon Aug 02 2010 - 11:19:22 MDT


On Mon, Aug 02, 2010 at 08:42:15AM -0700, Matt Mahoney wrote:
> In http://www.foresight.org/nano/Ecophagy.html Freitas quantifies
> the risks of gray goo. In particular, self replicating robots
> cannot be much smaller or faster than living cells due to the
> limits of physics and chemistry and available energy.

We seem to not be reading the same paper. The paper I'm reading, in
the Conclusions section, has:

  The smallest plausible biovorous nanoreplicator has a molecular
  weight of ~1 gigadalton and a minimum replication time of perhaps
  ~100 seconds, in theory permitting global ecophagy to be completed
  in as few as ~10^4 seconds

And:
  
  Ecophagy that proceeds near the current threshold for immediate
  climatological detection, adding perhaps ~4C to global warming,
  may require ~20 months to run to completion, which is plenty of
  advance warning to mount an effective defense.

Both of which are *far* faster and more effective than any plague;
we're talking about *total destruction of all life*, not just
infection of some cells of some life as with every plague ever.

-Robin

-- 
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