[ExI] Slavery in the Future

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Apr 17 15:33:42 UTC 2008

Rafal wrote in "Subject: Re: [ExI] Slavery Now and in the Past (was: Health system, again)"

> ### Keeping a lot of people in wretched servitude by
> brute force is just not very productive.

I totally agree:  suppose you were a vastly superior AI
that had control of some limited amount of resources
(matter and energy), and suppose that you used sub-modules
and sub-programs for various things.  Why also include
circuits that caused your sub-programs to regret their

The only important differences between my car and a
slave is (a) the slave regrets its situation (b) the slave
is conscious. If I create sub-programs that don't 
regret my control and who are conscious, then they're
more like employees or collaborators. I will not call
that slavery, unless you can persuade me that my car
is properly speaking a slave.

> I am reasonably confident that outright slavery is not
> a common thing among our highly-developed
> galactic neighbors.

Yes!  For the simple reason that generating the regret
and pining-away typical of slaves is not efficient.

> On the other hand, other nastiness may be viable: Killing off most
> people after a group develops human-equivalent AI. Developing
> mind-control techniques to make willing slaves (see Vinge's "A
> Deepness in the Sky", an excellent book). The eternal world-spanning
> AI-assisted dictatorship.

I agree, just that the "Focused" in VV's Deepness were an advance,
but obviously hardly the pinnacle of advanced surveillance techniques
or advanced AI.

There is utterly no reason to worry about slavery in a high-tech future.


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