[extropy-chat] Mitchell Howe's Critique [Was RE: Recipe for Destruction - Joy/Kurzweil NYTimes Op-Ed]

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Wed Oct 19 19:33:47 UTC 2005


"So let me make a case not for high security or no security, but for low 
security.  It is said by those who understand physical security that 
most locks serve only to keep honest people honest. People who would 
never think of breaking and entering can be tempted by valuable goods 
left out in the open.  Low-security locks and their kin also serve as 
buffers against rash decision-making, and to keep hazards away from 
those untrained to handle them."

This is probably closest to my own intuitive ideal:  The data should be 
available to researchers but it should take a little paperwork to get 
ahold of it.

Unfortunately, this may be totally unrealistic.  Three can keep a secret 
if two are dead.  If thousands of people know the sequence, it *will* 
hit the Internet sooner or later.

A mixture of Low Security on the DNA sequences and on the Gene Printers 
might suffice to do the job - DNA printers only print signed files keyed 
to that printer, raise alarms if a forbidden sequence is entered, etc. 
And the DNA sequence takes an hour's work on Google to get ahold of; 
it's not a moment's thought.  And even with the DNA sequence, you can't 
just print it, unless you can get that particular DNA sequence signed 
for your particular lab's DNA printer.

We can't keep out determined, well-funded foes.  But it is a serious 
matter if an individual employee gone postal can wipe out a significant 
fraction of the human species with one day's work.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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