[ExI] [tt] Identity thread again

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Thu Mar 26 04:07:38 UTC 2015

On Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 2:07 PM, Tara Maya <tara at taramayastales.com> wrote:
> I also realized after I wrote that I was only thinking of copy-clans in
> terms of genetically created physical/biological clones; but in the context
> of the discussion, I should have included copies in virtual space. The
> question I have is whether copy-clans in virtual space would be different
> than biological cloned-clans. It seems to me they might. Humans have less
> evolved reactions to virtual space, since it is so new. It might evoke some
> of the same archaic instincts as physical space, or it might not, or it
> might not to the same degree.

### Yes, actually I was thinking almost exclusively about copy-clans of
uploads, some of which might be running bodies as a sideline business, but
most of them would be concerned with activities in the important world
(i.e. the computational substrate). And yes, evolution in the substrate
will be ferociously fast and unforgiving, since uploads will have a good
ability to manipulate their own structure and very strong incentives to
adapt to the environment.

> If everyone could exist in a virtual space with easy access to multiple
> copies and immortal virtuality, this might draw the sting from wars and
> disputes in physical space. I do not think it would stop jockeying for
> power, or eliminate the problem of trying to prove oneself is “better” than
> others through competition, but maybe that competition would be seen by
> more and more people as a non-zero sum game ...

### Here I am not so optimistic - the ease of making copies means the
substrate is likely to be crowded. Also, there will be a trade off between
spawning independently goal-oriented processes (copies) and running
non-sentient optimization and search processes. A single conscious mind
could elect to use available resources for e.g. exhaustive searches of
solution spaces to different problems. Or it could choose to make many
copies of itself. Which strategy would spread would depend on the fitness
payoffs: If non-sentient processes (=supercomputing) produce valuable
excludable goods (i.e. intellectual property or new physical resources)
that you can protect from thieves and sell for more energy/matter than can
be bought from the labor of copies, then the supercomputing strategy would
predominate. Otherwise, breeders would swamp the substrate.

I am really curious how it will all turn out: Few minds commanding huge
swathes of substrate to achieve potentially large goals, or multitudes of
hardscrabble peasants eking out an existence on a day to day basis.
Notwithstanding my desire to copy myself, I am partial to the former
scenario. Malthusian growth is most likely to end in a dissipative stasis,
running and burning energy as fast as you can to just barely stay in the
game. Long-term capital investment that is possible when thieves are
suppressed opens new worlds of possibilities and knowledge.

One interesting parallel to the farming-industrial transition will probably
obtain: During the transition to industry, the relative economic importance
of activities shifted from farming to industrial activities, which was
paralleled by a drop in the fraction of farmers and a rise in the fraction
of industry/service related jobs. This shift will play out again as we
transfer to the post-human world. There will be still physical, industrial
labor to be done but the relative amount of computational resources
directly employed to move limbs and tentacles will be minuscule compared to
the resources spent in simulation and exploration of mathematical realms.
Most minds will be proving theorems, producing insights capable of greatly
increasing the efficiency of physical acts, and there will be just a few
minds left who will use these insights to move robot bodies - just as today
the few remaining farmers use industrial products (tractors, pesticides) to
make more food than was ever possible when almost everybody was a farmer.

It will be a glorious world.

Unless, of course, it is physically easier to attack computational
substrate than to defend it. "The Invincible" could fail.

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