August 20, 2009

Towards the futurological congress

8 of Information: Trillicom Arms Inc.Practical Ethics: Non-lethal, yet dangerous: neuroactive agents - I blog about the recent Nature articles about the militarization of neuroactive compounds. Basically, I think they have enough problems (safety, likelihood of misuse, impairment of autonomy) that we should be very careful about limiting their development.

Even a perfectly safe "peace gas" that just prevented aggressive behaviour can be dangerous, since it both would make people unable to defend themselves against enemy groups or repressive governments - there is no reason to assume such agents would be reserved for the nicest nations.

Maybe enhancing agents would be more useful? Imagine a substance that made people temporarily more rational or calm without impairing their range of action. In some violent situations having people realize what they are doing might reduce the violence. But I suppose the risks of enhancing ideologically driven people in a bad situation might also be serious: if you fully understand certain game-theoretical situations you might recognize that there is no nice way out. The enhancement should probably be done far ahead, when people consider what to do and what to believe in, not when they have their backs against the wall.

Posted by Anders3 at August 20, 2009 05:15 PM