[ExI] Total Surveillance may be necessary to save humanity
pharos at gmail.com
Mon Apr 22 20:37:58 UTC 2019
Nick Bostrom argues in a new paper that the world is not prepared for
the development of an easily-accessible creation that could cause the
destruction of modern civilization.
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By Mike Brown on April 18, 2019
Bostrom proposes two key systems.
The first would require stronger global governance which goes further
than the current international system. This would enable states to
agree to outlaw the use of the technology quickly enough to avert
total catastrophe, because the international community could move
faster than it has been able to in the past. Bostrom suggests in his
paper that such a government could also retain nuclear weapons to
protect against an outbreak or serious breach.
The second system is more dystopian, and would require significantly
more surveillance than humans are used to. Bostrom describes a kind of
“freedom tag,” fitted to everyone that transmits encrypted audio and
video that spots signs of undesirable behavior. This would be
necessary, he argues, future governance systems to preemptively
intervene before a potentially history-altering crime is committed.
The paper notes that if every tag cost $140, it would cost less than
one percent of global gross domestic product to fit everyone with the
tag and potentially avoid a species-ending event.
It is a chilling set of proposals, particularly in a post-Snowden
world. Perhaps the best response is to simply hope that humanity never
discovers an easily-accessible technology that would require such a
Another reason for the Great Silence?
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