Steve3007 wrote:In getting specific here it sounds like you're talking about some kind of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks or Non-Proliferation Treaties. Sounds like an excellent idea, but it is something that has already been tried. So a good first step on this one might be to examine how these kinds of processes have been going so far and, if they're no longer progressing, why, and how we restart them.
I'm for such treaties obviously, but actually I was referring to a massive investment in science research aimed at finding and eliminating the fissile material necessary for any bomb. As example, a key threat now is terrorist use of nukes, which could possibly trigger a larger conflict between nation states. If all the fissile material is under that control of nation states then this risk is lessened.
Another example of a purely technical solution was Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars). If successful that would reduce or eliminate the threat from ballistic missiles, especially from small nuke powers such as the North Koreans.
I'm not arguing for or against any specific plan, only making the point that throwing money at the problem can have an impact.
I'm focusing on nukes for the moment not because I think success in eliminating nukes would solve the overall knowledge explosion problem, but rather to silence the line of reasoning which insists there's nothing we can do, that we have no choice but to retreat in to defeatism and gallows humor etc.
For example, would rapprochement between the Trump and Putin governments be a good thing?
If such a rapprochement led to a substantial arms control progress, yes. If it's just giving Russian aggression a free pass, no.
Sounds promising, but with a hell of a lot of devil in the detail. The fact that fissile material is a bi-product of ostensibly peaceful nuclear power generation is one example.
Massive new investment in research might uncover a way to consume and destroy that bi-product. For example, fusion offers great promise, but requires considerable more work to become a realistic solution. So we might make that investment and perfect fusion, which doesn't create these dangerous by-products, and then dump the current nuke plants. Point being, there is no shortage of things we could invest in if we were of a mind to.
However, to generate dramatic results we would likely have to abandon the outdated notion that science research should attempt to advance on all fronts at once. My argument is that without dramatic results (such as getting rid of nukes) then making progress on all fronts at once is probably pointless, as whatever gains are made by that process are likely to be erased in a coming collapse.
However, if one doesn't accept that theory then one can attempt to make the argument that ever increasing levels of power can be managed successfully indefinitely.
The fact that it could only ever be completely gathered up would be by one country forcefully taking it from another is another.
A detection system could alert the world if say, North Korea sells fissile material and ships it out of their country. We don't have to invade North Korea to take action against free lance groups who have purchased their product.
OK, so you're being a bit more specific about this 50% thing now.
You and I and other thread members are not going to be the one's to solve these problems, so demanding we provide specific solutions largely misses the point. What we can do, admittedly quite modestly, is try to elevate this topic on to larger stages, and join forces with any others already discussing it.
And I guess they're going to have to deal with the political problem of how to persuade various governments, such as the governments of Iran and North Korea, to abandon all such things.
Both these countries have nukes to protect themselves from our nukes. They are attempting to enter the "mutual assured destruction" system. It seems pointless to lecture others while we maintain large arsenals ourselves. Russia and the US have the vast majority of the nukes, so that is where the action is.
My argument is that if we were to take dramatic action on nukes and climate change and achieve success at turning back these knowledge driven threats, then it would be easier to make the argument that it's safe to proceed with more knowledge development. On the other hand, if we are unwilling or unable to clean up the messes we're already made, it's hard to see how continuing with the "more is better" status quo can lead to anything but disaster.
This raises the issue of time. How much time do we have to clean up our messes? How urgent is the problem? How radical do the remedies have to be? No one can know the answers to such questions so some confusion is understandable. All I'm saying is that the Cuban Missile Crisis has already shown how quickly normal life can become a moment of staring down the gun barrel of an existential crisis.
If the things we want to hear could take us where we want to go, we'd already be there.