[extropy-chat] How to be copied into the future?

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Tue Mar 20 12:36:16 UTC 2007

Emlyn wrote:
> Ok, Altruism as a bait, or originality as a bait, or extremes of
> personality/behaviour generally.

Hmm, let's play a little game. Assume we can resurrect people *today* from
the past for a certain sum of money. Who would you or your society want to
resurrect if the cost was one billion dollars per person? One million
dollars? A thousand dollars? One dollar? A thousand people per dollar? A
million? A billion?

For the most expensive cases my answer is of course that I would not
resurrect anybody because I can't afford it. On the other hand, to a
society spending a sizeable sum for a very important person might be worth
it. It might be hard for Turkey to resist resurrecting Ataturk. As the
price comes down to the million mark, it becomes cost-effective to
resurrect recent dead  since the actuarial value of a life is a few
million. Long before that astronauts and people willing to risk their
lives in important ventures might get it as a kind of insurance. By now
resurrecting organisational heroes becomes possible and attractive: why
not bring back Edison for the company luncheon? And various academic
projects can afford to bring back subjects for information. Historical
celebrieties would probably be worthwhile investments. Just imagine Oscar
Wilde on TV.

When the cost is down to thousands of dollars people would start
resurrecting family members, historians would sample populations etc. By
now we would see more ordinary people, resurrected just because remaining
social bonds or because they were typical. Assuming resurectees can get
jobs and join the normal economy they too would soon be bringing back
their dear departed. At some cost we would get a kind of percolation
effect where everybody resurects the previous generation, all the way back
to Grog the caveman (he didn't like his family, so it ends there).

This of course ignores reality (where to room all the Romans? how many
more sumerian-run pizza parlours do we need?) and the main problem, that
we likely cannot resurrect just one chosen person at a time, but need a
big simulation involving millions or billions of others - who could be
resurrected for no extra cost. But overall, the lession seems to be that
once the cost goes down enough resurrection becomes ubiqitious. If our
posthuman descendants are not too interested, some future resurectees
might be anyway. So if resurections happen, they are likely global. But it
might still be fun to end up on a posthuman talkshow.

"Yes Oprah^7i94, I was indeed on the extropians list when somebody
suggested the framistrang. Of course it was in the context of a flamewar
about religion, so nobody took it seriously. I was *amazed* by what you
have used it for! Just the food and spaceflight applications blows my
mind, but my contemporaries would have been... er, I mean, will be even
more amazed by its use in sleep engineering."

> (I think I blew it with that post. Maybe I'll be resurrected as "world's
> biggest damn fool")

OmegaAgent Green Camera: "Well, Emlyn-606, you are indeed the world's
biggest damn fool, but only of your own world. In world 607 it is Mikhail
Bakhta and world 608 Yue Chan Li. The current recordholder i Timothy W.
Blackspring Jr. from world 3438 (dropped a strangelet into the Earth's
core as part of a *bad* comic routine), but we do not believe there is any
supremum over the set of all worlds. So we are confident that we will find
fools transcendentally more stupid than you over time!"

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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