[ExI] simulation as an improvement over reality

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Dec 30 00:52:05 UTC 2010

On 2010-12-28 21:25, spike wrote:
>> ...5a) Cackle maniacally.  Mandatory, if you believe Hollywood.  ;)...
> There are two schools of thought on this.  There is the old standard
> Muwaaa{ha}^5 crowd, and those who insist on the more guttural  and evil
> sounding mirthful interjection starting with Buuwaa.

I am firmly in the Muwaaa{ha}^5 group. My colleagues at FHI have learned 
to fear when my laughter echoes down the hall...

(Nick: "Anders, have you come up with *another* WMD?! We are supposed to 
*save* mankind.")

>> ...7) At some point, teleoperation just won't cut it, and you'll want to
> have an on-site crew... Adrian
> I must disagree on this, or perhaps modify it thus: teleoperation will
> continue to work, ever improving in fact, but we may argue the whole point
> of the entire exercise is to move meat to the remote site.  It isn't
> *necessary* so much as it is the *goal*, an end point, even if technically
> pointless, like sporting events and so much human activity.  We just do it
> because... well, we don't know why, but we still do it anyway.

But can teleoperation become so good that it reduces the instrumental 
interest in moving a mind to the moon?

The obvious problem is lag. But if the teleoperation is more about 
directing fairly autonomous systems, then that might be fine. Many 
human-computer interaction tricks also seem to be able to hide lags, 
getting the full human perceptual-motor abilities without too much 

Given the transport problems over the last year (due to an overstretched 
infrastructure and too much institutional risk aversion) I have made the 
following "probable surprise": more transport system crashes will occur 
due to fairly normal fluctuations, and together with expanding IT 
infrastructure more and more people will be fine with at least social 
telepresence. Whether that can be carried over to useful telework 
remains to be seen.

Maybe the future belongs to crowdsourcing things: the moonbase gets 
built by a Farmville-clone where millions of Facebook users play a game 
of construction for fabulous badges! (This is in fact the current plot 
in my Eclipse Phase rpg campaign)

Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford University

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