[ExI] Fwd: Re: AI risks

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Sep 7 23:50:19 UTC 2015

On 2015-09-08 00:32, Adrian Tymes wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 7, 2015 at 4:24 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se 
> <mailto:anders at aleph.se>> wrote:
>     You cannot just set fire to the whole world.
> Actually, there's been quite a bit of thought on ways to do just 
> that.  Look up "atmospheric ignition".  If you put enough methane or 
> grain dust out there, for instance, it might be possible.

For what values of practical? Nukes will not do it, as a certain famous 
report pointed out.

The LFL for methane is 4% volume, so you need to add about 1.35e17 kg of 
methane to ignite it. This is about 2-3 times the total carbon stored in 
the oceans and several times the carbon content of the biosphere. Grain 
dust is even less effective, since we are talking about a LFL larger 
than 2 kg/m^3 -this is way bigger.

("Anders, what are you doing?"
"Calculating how to set the atmosphere on fire. There has to be a better 
way... maybe hydrogen?"
"Remember, we are supposed to *save* the world at this institute."
"Yes, boss.")

Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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