For discussion: Bush and Grey Goo

Russell Turpin
Wed, 30 Jan 2002 21:24:32 +0000

The strategy and rhetoric that Bush has developed as part
of the "War on Terrorism" makes explicit that the US and
its allies will move against nations that they view as
irresponsible, when such nations act to develop "weapons
of mass destruction." In the past, this has meant nuclear
weapons. The focus has shifted to biological and chemical
weapons, since these are cheaper to build. And getting
cheaper. Biological and chemical weapons are the precursors
to the ugly things imagined as the dark side of biochem and
nanotechnology: custom viruses, remote-controlled viruses,
and the dreaded grey goo.

It is the nature of practical politics, when new problems
arise, to look at the existing ideas and solutions that
have been implemented for anything similar. Are we seeing,
before our eyes, the development of international strategy
for the control of nanotechnology? When these technologies
seem a threat, will today's rhetoric serve as the basis for
tomorrow's decisions? In twenty years, will an international organization 
decide what nanotech devices and technologies
can be used, in what nations, and by which companies?

Just thinking out loud ..

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