[ExI] Is a copy of you really you?

Robin D Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Sun May 31 14:43:20 UTC 2020

On May 30, 2020, at 6:17 PM, Keith Henson via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org<mailto:extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>> wrote:
Robin D Hanson <rhanson at gmu.edu<mailto:rhanson at gmu.edu>> wrote:

(re my objection to copies)

I disagree; I wrote a whole book describing a reasonable world where many copies are made:

And you might be right, nobody has a lock on what the future will turn
out to be, certainly not me.

However, I have two objections.  My work in evolutionary psychology
leads me to feel very uncomfortable about using humans as a model for
building minds.  Humans have traits like capture-bonding and those
which lead up to wars that were selected. Having one of those (or ones
we don't know about) activate in a powerful AI seems intolerably

That same argument would suggest trying to eliminate the human minds in meat brains, as well as those in artificial brains. But if you see human brains as holding most of the value in the world, you’ll want more of them.

The other objection is right out of economics.  If it is cheap to copy
something its value falls to the marginal cost.  I.e., one Michael
Jordan is valuable, at least to him.  10,000 of them would have an
interesting time finding teams to play with.

The fact of diminishing marginal value is not at all an economic argument against larger quantities of anything.

But, as I freely admit, you might be right and a vast number of copies
could be the path to utopia.

I’m not claiming utopia; I’m not sure the concept is even coherent.

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu<mailto:rhanson at gmu.edu>
Future of Humanity Inst., Oxford University
Assoc. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
See my books: http://ageofem.com http://elephantinthebrain.com

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