Potentially Runaway Technologies

03 Oct 1994 12:02

The crudest form of human control is pulling the plug, if necessary by nuking the machines. Are there any technologies which could go out of control in this sense? Are there ones which could runaway in a weaker sense, where the only sort of control left to us is pulling the plug? What are the unifying features of such technologies, if any? How are they regulated? How ought they be regulated?

Possible runaway technologies of the recent future: nanotechnology, directed evolution, artificial intelligence, nuclear power, Darwin machines, intelligence augmentation.