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Anders_Sandberg comments on 9/26 is Petrov Day - Less Wrong

101 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 26 September 2007 04:14PM

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Comment author: Anders_Sandberg 29 September 2007 08:54:15PM 3 points [-]

In my opinion a full scale thermonuclear war would likely neither have wiped out humanity (I'm reading the original nuclear winter papers as well as their criticisms right now) nor wiped out civilization. It would have been terribly bad for both though. I did a small fictional writeup of such a scenario for a roleplaying game, http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/Game/Fukuyama/bigd.html based in turn on the information in "The Effects of Nuclear War" (OTA 1979). That scenario may have been too optimistic, but it is hard to tell. It seems that much would depend on exact timing and level of forewarning. But even in the most optimistic scenario the repercussions on human progress would have been severe since human capital is disproportionally concentrated in cities that are likely to be devastated. This can in turn make other threats to human flourishing more serious. For example, in my scenario AIDS is likely to become a far more devastating epidemic than in our world since the rate of research into it has been much reduced and the seriousness of the epidemic is overshadowed by war-related conditions.