[extropy-chat] Space: The Final Constraint

Lee Corbin lcorbin at tsoft.com
Tue Jun 13 18:50:27 UTC 2006

Damien writes

> On Tue, Jun 13, 2006 at 04:08:02AM -0700, Lee Corbin wrote:
> > Hell, if you so badly *want* to receive photons and phonons that 
> > depict birds chirping happily in a green woodland, then please do
> > so. But do not demand that untold trillions of people don't get
> > to live because you need so damned much matter to reflect those
> > photons! There are less expensive ways for you to get your fix.
> Actually, what are those less expensive ways?

Of course, as you know, we are talking here of our ideals, not
our current political courses of action. :-) We don't, indeed,
have any such ways today.

> It seems like an appeal to just simulate it all in VR.

That's right.

> But how?  If someone wants the experience of deep exploration of
> a complex system, vs. 3-D wallpaper of generic trees and birdsong
> sources, then that'll take a lot of computation, it's not just a
> matter of cheaply calculating some neurons. The best computer of
> reality might be reality.

Hmm?  I don't think so, but perhaps I've not understood.

In *theory* emulating neurons is indeed all you need to do.
You can't know---as I'm sure you have often acknowledged---
whether or not your brain is in a vat. Or whether you are
being emulated on some computer.

A very, very important point missed by some extraordinarily 
gifted and smart SF writers: emulating you does *not* require
the emulation of everything that you see and hear. The 2D images
are infinitely less expensive than crudely emulating every
last molecule in a forest, say.

> And what if some of the newly created people find that they wanted that
> experience themselves, but can't have it because the needed resources are
> devoted to running their siblings?

Oh, yes! Eventually the AI that runs you has to be blunt: "Paddy, 
sorry, but you've only got just 10^100 (or some other enormous
number) of resource units for what *you* want. There are, after
all, all the other 7x10^9 people I already uploaded and the other
10^10 people I'm resurrecting here in the Solar System. There *are*
limits. But vastly more than any early 21st century person could
appreciate. So be happy with what you have!"

> > But can't we use space in the ways that---appearances to the
> > contrary---most deeply resonate with our true values?
> "Who's this 'our', white man?"

:-)  Yes. I know. An Earth-Firster want to get rid of people
altogether, or maybe just reduce the # of people to a few.

I claim that if people were not taken in by appearances, say, of
forest beauty, but instead understood that what was wonderful
was their own neuronal reaction, they'd become disenchanted with
what's really going on in nature. By most people's values, it's
not very nice!


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list