Property rights (was Re: Can't afford to rescue cows)

From: Tim Freeman (
Date: Wed Apr 16 2008 - 20:11:14 MDT

From: "Lee Corbin" <>
>The two big large contributors to progress have been (i) Rule
>of Law (ii) Respect for Private Property. These clearly apply
>only to humans. Cows, for example, cannot understand either,
>and they have no private property.
>This thread started when the need for a line to be drawn was
>realized. I've drawn that line in my previous post, and here I
>defend it. Questions?

Okay, here's a question -- Do you know a way to do something like
Hutter's AIXI that has the concept of respect for private property
built in?

Actually, here's an easier question: can you express the concept of
private property formally? (This omits the part about respecting it,
and it lets you pick the formalism.)

There are weird property-like things, like water rights, stock
options, and patents. A correct solution will have some process for
deciding who owns various parts of the moon, by the time it makes a
practical difference. Partial solutions are welcome.

I think I've done this for human desire on my web site below. I would
really like to be able to say "rule of law" or "property rights" with
those primitives, but I don't know where to start. Thus I have a
theoretical AI that doesn't care about rule of law or respect for
private property, but it does care about giving people what they want.
I didn't expect to end up advocating communism. :-(.

Tim Freeman      

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