SI: Reasons for growth

Jason Spencer (
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 14:04:40 -0600

Have we explored the reasons why an SI would want to become an SSI; an SSI an SSSI and so on?

The major reason I am so focussed on growth at the moment is that I want to be on the same ontological level as all of my information. I want to be able to understand and manipulate my own architecture. I want to remove all these kludgy interfaces. Typing and talking are so inefficient (not to mention the RSIs such as carpal tunnel syndrome). I want a less volatile memory. I want morphological freedom. I want to be able to travel in space. I want to find out if there's anyone else out there to talk to.

This is the major boundary most of us would like to cross. Once we do this, we need new reasons to grow. I'm not entirely convinced that I would not want to stop at some point. I probably would keep on expanding, but I'm not sure. (I know it doesn't matter. Worry about that when I'm more intelligent. But it's fun.)

So, what reasons can we come up with. I can think of a few offhand:

(1) Need more room for accumulated memories.
I can see the utility of "forgetting" for sanity/efficiency reasons. We won't be able nor want to remember *everything*. Storage space for memories would probably not require *exponential* growth.

(2) Competitive advantage. [the most convincing reason to me]
There may be no one to compete *with* however.

(3) Figure out what to do about the "death" of the universe.
So do we stop growing once we figure this out? :-)

(4) It's simply fun to become more and more intelligent.
Not entirely convincing.

While I think that it may be diffucult to secure one's immortality without continual growth, I am looking for more support for this idea.

The characters of Greg Egan's _Diaspora_ for example, had long since learned the perils of exponential growth. Does anyone see this as a plausible scenario, or merely an artificial constraint needed to make the novel intelligible?


Jason Spencer