[ExI] Fukushima now officially an emergency

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Aug 5 22:19:22 UTC 2013

On 05/08/2013 22:50, BillK wrote:
> Well, yes, I think that's what I meant. Absorb, in the sense of 
> assimilating without causing damage.

But what is "without causing damage"? One of the problems with talking 
radioactivity risk is that the harms are rather subtle (unless you are 
getting acute radiation poisoning), and generally turn into statistical 
harms: probabilities of bad things go up, but there is no deterministic 
link between exposure and something happening.

This indeterminism and invisibility really messes with our ability to 
intuitively think about risk, and people fall back to innate heuristics 
of purity, contagious evil and taboo. Which are pretty lousy ways of 
trying to run a modern infrastructure. There is no way of judging 
whether a vague sense of unease with an option outweighs the practical 

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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