[sl4] Uploads coming first would be good, right?

From: Johnicholas Hines (johnicholas.hines@gmail.com)
Date: Mon Feb 02 2009 - 04:44:47 MST

Stuart Armstrong has anticipated most of my points, but to reiterate:

> Exactly what would be competent to keep faster thinking humans under its
> thumb?
Society as a whole, including other emulated humans. It is entirely
possible for inegalitarian societies to be stable.

> What is to prevent them taking their brain power elsewhere or selling their talents for a much better price?
Being poor and worried for my continued existence, competing with a
large number of near-identical copies of myself for minimal wages
doesn't sound fun to me - even if I'm selling my brain power at the
best price available.

> The owner of the substrate rules?
Yes. Access to the lowest levels of reality, the unsimulated levels,
is privileged. In a conflict between levels, "low ground" has a huge

> What keeps that owner in business if in competition with smarter/faster intelligences?
Nothing. Therefore, the standard would collapse towards running more
copies of the most successful intelligences. If you're not the most
successful, then you may not have enough resources to continue
running. If you happen to be one of those most successful
intelligences, you can expect to become average when you
start competing with variants of yourself.

> A body can be enslaved. It is much more difficult to enslave a mind and still get full productivity from it.
Some technologies centralize power, making inegalitarian societies
more likely. I think that uploading is a centralizing technology;
specifically, the "low ground" is centralizing. The economics
unpleasantnesses might be solvable with some sort of "right to life,
liberty, pursuit of happiness" extended to emulated humans. After all,
there aren't very many pure capitalist societies in the world now.
However, it would take coordinated action - politics.

The existing political structure would be divided about rights for
emulated humans (for example, Matt Mahoney's objections). If emulated
humans were competing with unemulated humans economically (or were
projected to compete with unemulated humans) the opposition to rights
for emulated humans might well be fierce. Even if it were illegal,
there would be strong incentives to build a computer and exploit
workers quietly.


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