Sure, that's true. It's hard to say for sure, but like I said, if overall research on how to treat viruses and diseases gets more resources then bioweapons research, it should be able to pull ahead, I would think. I think we are likely eventually get to a point where new diseases just aren't that much of an issue because they get picked up and dealt with quickly, or because we have special engineered defenses against them built into our bodies, ect, and then it wouldn't matter if they're natural mutations or genetic engineered diseases.

I think there's a bigger threat of someone recreating smallpox or Spanish influenza or something in their basement before we get to that point, and that could be catastrophic if we don't have the tools to deal with it yet, but that's not actually an existential threat, although it could kill millions. Creating a truly novel disease that would be both contagious and fatal enough to actually be an existential threat, it seems to me, would be a much more difficult challenge; not that it's impossible, but I don't see someone doing it with a "CRISPR at home" set in his basement anytime soon.

I think that the real existential threat is something which could be described by one word: multipandemic.

That is many simultaneous deadly pandemics, may be organised artificially or because of quick growth of the number of bioterrorists and availability of synthetic biology. I wrote an article about it, but it needs major revision.

Could the Maxipok rule have catastrophic consequences? (I argue yes.)

by philosophytorres 1 min read25th Aug 201732 comments


Here I argue that following the Maxipok rule could have truly catastrophic consequences.

Here I provide a comprehensive list of actual humans who expressed, often with great intensity, omnicidal urges. I also discuss the worrisome phenomenon of "latent agential risks."

And finally, here I argue that a superintelligence singleton constitutes the only mechanism that could neutralize the "threat of universal unilateralism" and the consequent breakdown of the social contract, resulting in a Hobbesian state of constant war among Earthians.

I would genuinely welcome feedback on any of these papers! The first one seems especially relevant to the good denizens of this website. :-)