Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

The small and surprisingly dangerous detail the police track about you

Alan Watts by South Park creators (All in one in HD)

Prototype

The Singularity - feat. Ray Kurzweil & Alex Jones

Self Absorption

Wage Slavery and Sweatshops as Free Enterprise?


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

instamatic on 'Wage Slavery and Sweatshops as Free Enterprise?' (Dec 19, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 17, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 17, 2014)

Jessie Henshaw on 'Defining “Benevolence” in the context of Safe AI' (Dec 16, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Review of Michio Kaku’s, Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century
Dec 15, 2014
(9457) Hits
(0) Comments

What Will Life Be Like Inside A Computer?
Dec 7, 2014
(8321) Hits
(0) Comments

Bitcoin and Science: DNA is the Original Decentralized System
Nov 24, 2014
(7830) Hits
(0) Comments

Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality
Nov 21, 2014
(5434) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Security > Military > Fellows > Mike Treder

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2713) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Nukes and Nanotech


Mike Treder
By Mike Treder
Responsible Nanotechnology

Posted: Dec 14, 2006

At the “Future WMD” symposium I attended on Monday, I came across an interesting paper written by Peter Hayes, executive director of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development, which is described as “a non-governmental policy-oriented research and advocacy group.”

The paper, titled GLOBAL INSECURITY AND NUCLEAR NEXT-USE [PDF], is available on the web. In the introduction to Section 2.1, Hayes writes:

The impact of nanotechnology on state-centric security concerns in the short to medium term is speculative. A complete analysis of this impact would include the possibility that nanotechnology would change the distribution of physical resources, for example, by facilitating the shift to a solar or hydrogen economy and rendering oil valuable primarily for its materials hydrocarbon value.

Looked at with a narrower military frame of reference, in the long run, according to RAND experts, entire weapon and support systems will be built bottom-up with micro- and nano-scale parts that will be much cheaper than those made with today’s top-down macro-engineering production.

We’ve written before about the RAND report that Hayes refers to.

In Section 2.1.3 of the paper, he says:

[R]ealization of offensive nanotechnology weapons of mass destruction (WMD) would simply reinforce the existential deterrent effects of nuclear weapons unless one power managed to develop and deploy such weapons in complete secrecy. Given that only big powers are likely to mobilize the resources to make such an enormous technological breakthrough, let alone have the resources and military ability to deploy nanotechnology-WMD against other nuclear-armed states, this degree of secrecy seems unlikely—and the other great states allowing such an attempt to succeed once it became public is equally implausible.

In reality, more than one state would develop differing types of nanotechnology-WMD at the same time, the net effect of which would be to reinforce the overarching and still over-whelming general nuclear deterrence with a reinforcing threat. In short, far from destabilizing the nuclear balance of terror or neutralizing the power of nuclear weapons, the existence of generally available nanotechnology-WMD to states would be ballast on the keel.

This reasoning seems tenuous. True, it appears unlikely that nano-built weapons could have the effect of “neutralizing the power of nuclear weapons”—but for many reasons, not all of them military, it also appears that molecular manufacturing could exert a destabilizing impact on the general geopolitical balance of power. Increased fragility of relations, combined with decreased reasons to trust, may in fact produce a world more susceptible to nuclear war instead of less.

We should point out here that the overall point of Hayes’s paper is that certain notable trends, which he describes in some detail, will “converge to increase the probability that nuclear weapons will be used in war in the coming two decades.” [emphasis his] So, we don’t disagree on the dangers ahead, just (perhaps) on the potential negative impacts of molecular manufacturing development with regard to nuclear stability.

It may actually be the case that Hayes was writing this paper with the partial intent of convincing people that nanotechnology should not be viewed either as a panacea, nor as an antidote to Armageddon. He concludes his section on nanotech by saying:

[N]anotechnology does little to make us immune to the on-going effects of nuclear weapons, both positive and negative.

On that we agree.

 


Mike Treder is a former Managing Director of the IEET.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2714) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Re-Public prints Rushkoff on Open Source Culture

Previous entry: Vulnerable, But Not Doomed

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376