[extropy-chat] [>Htech] Research question

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Sep 8 20:19:11 UTC 2006

On Thu, Sep 07, 2006 at 02:19:59PM -0400, pjmanney wrote:

>    What would theoretically destroy nanobots?  I guess the more specific

The question is rather: what would allow them to function?
The medical kind would have to be equipped with multiple
safeguards (think PAL), in order to be licensed. This is even more true
for anything which can live and multiply in the environment.
In fact, if you have the latter, your environment have to
be divided into compartments, each heavily instrumented with
diagnostic and enforcement gear. The real toner wars 
wouldn't be anything as benign as you read in once-trendy
science fiction novels.

>    question would be: what disassembles diamondoid nanostructures at an
>    atomic level and reverts them back to harmless carbon atoms?  Or

If you have a runaway self-rep nanoinfestation in the environment,
and have no nanocountermeasure, you're fucked. There's nothing you can
do. The ecology is a goner. If you have a bunch of nanomachines
under controlled conditions, there are many ways. Immobilize them
by foam. Wash them down from the air, if you can. Use complementary
designer nanowidgets to plug their intake and generally foul up
the works. Derive them of sunlight, if they're phototrophs. 
If they're driven by fuel oxidation, derive them of air. Derive 
them of fuel, if you can (not an option, if they've got fuel
vesicles). Roast them (but take care to not make them ride up on convection
streams -- this is the major reason why nuking is a bad idea). 
Attack them with corrosive chemicals (fuming nitric/hydrofluoric
acid is tough). Irradiate them with a massive dose of radiation.
Depending on their design, the things have many vulnerabilities.

You will notice that none of this is practical outside of controlled
(laboratory/cleanroom) conditions. Friendly fire is extremely severe.
This is why you need really aggressive yet very selective nanocavalry 
if you're not in control (the bad guys won't give you any favors, so
assume you're not in control). 

If this sounds bad, it's because it is. It's about the nastiest
form of warfare I can imagine, save of melting this planet's crust. 

>    simply screws with them enough to render them
>    neutral/inactive/harmless?  To give you some possibly
>    important detail, these are medicinal bots and would be used
>    internally in the brain.  They would need to pass the blood/brain

If they're inside, and won't listen to commands, and you don't
have nanocountermeasure to get in, and terminate them in situ,
you're fucked.

>    barrier after ingestion.  And there are a whole lot of them.  I don't
>    want to say anymore in a public posting, since all my postings seem to
>    be accessible on Google lately!  [What's that about???]  If you have

That's not a bug, it's a feetchur. The mailman archives are web-visible,
and indexed by web crawlers.

>    any questions that I can answer with more specifics, that will lead to
>    a better overall answer, please email me privately.
>    Crichton used the magnet gag in Prey.  Therefore, I'd like to avoid
>    that if I can.  Hell, I'm not even sure that made a whole lot of
>    sense!  But a lot in that book didn't make a whole lot of sense.
>    [Just so you all know upfront, I am not demonizing nanotech.  I am no
>    Crichtonesque technoscold.  I have good people and bad people and they
>    are both using nanotech.  Guns don't kill people.  People kill
>    people...]
>    Consider your assistance a step toward popularizing the H+ meme.
>    Anyone who nails it gets a big, wet, sloppy thank you in the
>    acknowledgements!  (There are a few of you in there already, BTW.)
>    Thanks for your help!

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.ativel.com
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
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