[ExI] Fwd: Re: AI risks

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Sep 8 01:25:51 UTC 2015


On 2015-09-08 00:32, Adrian Tymes 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.



Eh, in that contest, I am betting on the atmosphere not catching fire,
regardless of what we attempt.


Both examples you suggested are carbon-containing compounds, so they are
similar.  It is worth estimating what happens to our atmosphere if all our
efforts to transition to sustainable energy fail, and we end up grubbing out
every drop of oil and every lump of coal, and burn it all.  What does the
atmosphere look like then?

If I just go by the Wiki page estimate of all the coal, oil, natural gas and
peat in the ground, and assume we burn it all, the atmospheric carbon goes
up by a factor of about 10, or 11 if you trust the numbers to 2 significant
digits.  If we assume away the problems that occur if we no longer have any
of that stuff and just look at the climate conditions if the atmosphere goes
from about 400 ppm to about 4000 ppm.  


>From those numbers I would conclude that if we could scavenge all the
available carbon and convert it all to either grain dust or methane (or any
other carbon compound) we would still be nowhere near supporting sustained
ignition in any significant portion of the atmosphere, not even close.
Can't get there from here.  This is a good thing.  The whole notion sounds a
little too Simon bar Sinister-y.




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