Peace via Mutually Assured Destruction

Reminiscent of Dark Forest Theory, Yuval Noah Harari spoke with Sam Harris about mutually assured destruction. Humanity faces various existential threats now (nuclear war) and in the future (AI), with some threats coming from human enemies (cyber warfare) and some from a common enemy/ourselves/no enemy (climate change). Yuval pointed out how the common enemy of mutually assured destruction itself may be our salvation. When two parties recognize that it is in their best interest to avoid any potential catastrophies with nuclear war, because of the mutually assured destruction that can come with such a path, they step back from that precipice. The same applies for future potential catastrophies both parties might pursue or affect, like AI or even climate change. ‘The only way to assure I am not destroyed is to work together with them to ensure none of us get destroyed.’  By recognizing the potential for mutually assured destruction, we can work together to overcome existential risks.

Dark Forest theory is from Chinese Sci-Fi series In Remembrance of Earth’s Past, also known as Three Body Problem. It focuses on various existential threats at a bewildering set of scales, from neighboring alien civilizations’ mutually assured destruction, to the mutually assured destruction of All in the Universe.

What do you think?