[ExI] Fwd: Re: AI risks
spike66 at att.net
Wed Sep 9 14:40:01 UTC 2015
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf
Of Anders Sandberg
>.I have started tinkering with a review of people and groups who have tried
to destroy the world (both using real means and means they *thought* were
real). It would be interesting to hear if anybody has a list - the one I
have is so far very short. The GCR/xrisk threat seems to come more from side
effects of the pursuits of non-omnicidal people, like the MAD doctrine.
Anders, I would not include Edward Teller on your list, but he spent a lot
of time thinking about that topic. He gave a talk at Lockheed in 2000 when
he was already aged 92 years, but his mind was sharp.
While they were still in the process of developing the atomic bomb in 1945
and shortly thereafter, Teller led a team at Los Alamos which did a number
of calculations which showed there was a maximum potential yield for fission
weapons, because adding more uranium or plutonium wouldn't fission, it would
just be blasted away. But once a fission device detonated a fusion weapon,
that could be made arbitrarily large.
They showed that under the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, the
problem of transporting the device goes away (such was the MAD thinking of
the time, as explained by the MAD man himself.) A nation could
theoretically create a fusion weapon so enormous, it would nuke the entire
planet, slay everything. So, well. If the thing is going to nuke the whole
planet, there is no point in hauling it off somewhere else, no need for
missiles or planes, those wouldn't help anyway. Just set it up in your own
back yard. We could just stay home and nuke Russia from here. They
referred to the planet-nuker as the Back Yard Device.
Teller didn't come across as a mad scientist, but rather a sane scientist
thinking about a mad topic.
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