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ad2 comments on Total Nano Domination - Less Wrong

11 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 November 2008 09:54AM

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Comment author: ad2 27 November 2008 08:35:37PM 1 point [-]

There was never a Manhattan moment when a computing advantage temporarily gave one country a supreme military advantage, like the US and its atomic bombs for that brief instant at the end of WW2.

Did atomic bombs give the US "a supreme military advantage" at the end of WW2?

If Japan had got the bomb in late 1945 instead of the US, could it have conquered the world? Or Panama, if it were the sole nuclear power in 1945?

If not, then did possession of the bomb give "a supreme military advantage"?

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 27 November 2012 10:02:36PM 2 points [-]

If Japan had had the bomb when we did, and we were where they were in terms of research, and in the numbers we did, they could have easily done a number on our navy, thus converting certain imminent overwhelming defeat into... uncertain, non-immediate overwhelming defeat. Simply on account of our wiping out everything on mainland Japan - we already had them in checkmate.

If they'd gotten this in 1943, though, things would have been... rather different. It's difficult to say what they couldn't have done.

Panama... well, they'd certainly have a local supreme military advantage. No one at all would go after them. There were probably too few Panamanians with too little delivery capability to take over the whole world.

The very limitations of these analogies amplify Eliezer's points - swallowing your supply chain makes you care less about the annihilation of your industrial infrastructure. Gray goo doesn't need occupation troops, and it can deliver itself.