[ExI] Total Surveillance may be necessary to save humanity

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 22 21:10:18 UTC 2019

> On Apr 22, 2019, at 1:37 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
> How to Protect Humanity From the Invention That Inadvertently Kills Us All
> What happens if we keep opening Pandora's box?
> By Mike Brown on April 18, 2019
> <https://www.inverse.com/article/55024-nick-bostrom-how-to-protect-humans-from-the-invention-that-will-kill-us>
> Quotes:
> 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
> heavy-handed response.
> ------------
> Another reason for the Great Silence?
> BillK

To save humanity, one has to imprison it? Sounds like a recipe for turn-key despotism. And one imagines this would quickly evolve into the tyranny of the majority. Think of how careers are wrecked now with social media. Then think what would’ve happened to, say, sexually unconventional people of this surveillance regime were in place circa 1950.

By the way, on a related note:


TL; DR: it seems that keeping a low profile makes for progress in civil rights and basic respect. How that applied here: total surveillance would make reaction to such progress more swift and likely to have much more momentum.

Wouldn’t a much better approach be to seed humans (or posthumans) around the solar system and beyond? Then there’s no integrated biosphere that might be compromised that would lead to civilization collapse or an extinction event... Also, humans (or posthumans) off Earth might be able to carry out a rescue or reset if Earth has a catastrophe. (Haven’t yet read Bostrom’s paper, so if he covers all this, my apologies.)


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