Re: [Re: Uploaded memories]

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 09 Dec 1999 10:27:52 -0500

Billy Brown apparently comments on :
>I notice that your paper does not explicitly deal with the possibility of a
>single entity doing more than one job at once. This seems significant,
>because I would expect that upload-level technology would make it possible to
>create a wide spectrum of sentient and semi-sentient software entities. An
>upload (or an artificial AI, for that matter) might be able to handle one job
>or thousands, depending on its internal architecture and hardware resources.
>The very simplest jobs could be done entirely by non-sentient AI, and the
>boundary where sentience becomes necessary is likely to shift over time.

I'm not sure capable people and uploads are of doing more than one job at once, but even if they could I don't see how that would change the situation much. I agree that as we get better at making AI, we will give more and more jobs to them. I even modeled this at .

>My intuition says that an entity that upgrades its abilities agressively
>enjoy an increasing standard of living in such an environment, especially if
>the amount of non-sentient AI is large and grows rapidly. What do you think?

I have no idea why your intuition is telling you this, but mine doesn't say that.
I'm assuming wages are given by intersecting supply and demand for labor, and am
postulating a very low and flat supply curve (i.e. it is fast and cheap to make
more computers, and the costs don't go up as you make more of them). I think you are focusing on the demand curve, which is irrelevant if the supply curve is flat.

>One other detail that I noticed: Aren't you implicitly assuming that economic
>growth remains constrained by our current physical limits? If most of the
>economy consists of services and/or information, wouldn't it be capable of
>growing on the same time scale as upload reproduction?

However fast the economy grows, it would seem we could devote a large enough fraction of the economy to building computer factories to keep up with the demand for computers. If so, then a more service oriented economy doesn't change things.

Robin Hanson Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323