Re: SCI and ECON Nanotech

Dan Clemmensen (
Sun, 29 Sep 1996 19:30:16 -0400

Lyle Burkhead wrote:
> Peter C. McCluskey asks:
> > What will keep AI salaries noticeably greater than zero?
> > The supply of AI's will be, for most purposes, nearly unlimited.
> > If I can create a million copies of myself...
> If you made one copy of yourself, would the copy work for free? If you
> were a copy, would you work for free? What will keep AI salaries
> greater than zero is the fact that they will be (by hypothesis) our equals,
> and they will demand the same things we demand.

The generic AI is not a copy of myself. If I were to make a million
of myself, I'd be in competition with each of them, and by the law of
supply and demand, while I may demand whatever I wish, I'm not going to
actually get that much. because one of those copies will undercut me.
In economic terms, the "clearing cost" will drop to the amount each AI
need to sustain itself, since the supply iseffectively infinite. This
subsistence cost will depend on the technology that sustains the AI. I'm
assuming that this ilower than the cost to sustain a human.
> If you could make a million copies of yourself, how would that differ
> from our present situation? The human race already makes a copy of
> itself, every generation. Millions of new humans enter the work force
> every year. The supply of entry-level workers is, for most purposes,
> nearly unlimited. Why don't they work for free? Why do they demand
> more compensation, as they move into jobs with more responsiblity?
They start at minimum wage because of the law. We have unemployed
because there are not enough minimum-wage jobs that are cost-effective
the employer at minimum wage.

Workers demand more pay for more responsible jobs because there are
jobs than workers of this type. Supply and demand.

> > If I can create a million copies of myself, how hard would it be
> > to create my own Exxon?
> As hard as it is now. You would still have to (1) conceive the project,
> (2) write a detailed business plan, (3) raise capital, (4) hire the copies,
> specify their jobs, train them, organize them into an efficient work
> force... Everything you have to do now to create an Exxon
> would still have to be done if you were dealing with copies of yourself.
> In other words, the situations are isomorphic.
> Lyle

If I had the hardware to support a million copies of myself, I would
organize it to support one of me that's a million times more capable,
if possible.

It's a truism in computer science that multiprocessing is a lot harder
single-processing. depending on the problem, the marginal utility of
additional processors can go negative after only a few processors, or
many. This is also true of personnel on a project. A big company does
projects. It does not generally do projects faster.