Re: SI Comparative Advantage [was Re: Free Will]

Anders Sandberg (
17 Aug 1999 12:50:11 +0200

"Robert J. Bradbury" <> writes:

> Depending on where you grow up and how old you are SIs will have
> different "comparative advantages". These will depend on such things as:
> (a) The size of your star [energy input]
> (b) How old your system is [the oldest systems generally have
> the lowest metal abundances == highest material costs]
> (c) How close you are to the galactic center (a high radiation
> environment); high radiation -> more radiation damage ->
> more investment in shielding or more energy devoted to
> reconstructing damaged nanoscale structures.
> (d) How long you have been "alive" (# billion years) and
> what your accumulated knowledge base is.
> (e) What your position is in the galactic communication net
> (think of the power held by a galactic "router").
> etc.

These are mainly material comparative advantages. There may also be "cultural" or "mental" comparative advantages depending on the physical architecture of the SIs, their software architecture, personality, skills etc.

> Since, once you have computed your trajectories, safety margins, etc.
> you don't have to stay "on", other than for routine maintenance tasks,
> the SIs could go into "sleep" mode. The best thing we could come
> up with at the Foresight Group Genius Weekend is that these entities
> are generally doing "nothing", but have a "wake me up when something
> interesting happens" alarm. If most of them are asleep, detecting
> them is going to be a real nightmare due to the low heat production.

Hmm, I wonder about this. Seems rather pointless to be a supermind and spend most of the time doing nothing (unless you are really saying they go into an "introspective" mode and spend their time in Infinite Fun Space). I think there are many other things to trade, such as Moravec's suggestion that finding new heuristics for solving useful but hairy problems like bush-robot hand coordination could form the basis for a SI economy.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y