A few short months ago the US military announced that it was working on building portable nuclear power plants, so that they could fly them to remote sites. There, they would power camps and stations in far flung places such as Iraq and Afganistan for up to three years.
An integral part of a nuclear power plant is, obviously, the rather critical uranium power source, which has the capability of going, well, critical.
What, asked the sceptics, could possibly go wrong?
‘Experts horrified’ was one reaction to the story, on Futurism.
Now, though, more horror awaits as the Energy Impact Center just uploaded a blueprint on how to build a nuclear power plant at home. And, you will be surprised to learn, they have a lot of interest from ‘developers’ and engineers from around the world.
This, if it is true (and the sources are certainly reliable), smacks of one of ‘those’ moments. The Manhattan Project gave us usable nuclear power for all the right reasons and intentions and then we used its power in ways that drove the creators mad.
AI is coming to the same tipping point. The intentions are good but we cannot progress AI work without unleashing the next phase – machines that learn. It is already happening and military agencies are already trying to define boundaries and implement codes of ethics. Which is all fine if you are a Government that gives a damn about that sort of thing and it ties in with your 10 year plan.
AI is still undefinable. It is out there, and in more and more devices and networks and it is hard to pin down and call it ‘bad’.
Nuclear power is – or should be – something that happens far away from people and is somebody else’s problem and is great when you flick a switch and light comes on.
Surely it should not be in your shed, office or warehouse.
Are we overreacting (if you’ll pardon the pun) or is this just another sign of the times? The intent behind making the blueprint for a nuclear power plant open source is because the Energy Impact Centre wants to help the world become carbon neutral faster.
In the wrong hands, it might do a lot more than that.
Nuclear power plants in individual, even community, hands just seems more than a ‘what could possibly go wrong’ moment. It seems plain wrong.
And when the spokesman for the company is called Bret Kugelmass, you can almost hear the James Bond soundtrack.