Re: We're stuck with each other

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 11:10:19 MST

On Tue, 22 Jan 2002, Louis Newstrom wrote:

> I think most of you have missed the real problems with surviving. Money.

Not really. With sufficiently robust MNT money to "survive" is not a
problem. Humans are 100W machines (the brain itself only ~15W.
Typical solar insolation is ~200-400W per sq. m. Allowing for
conversion efficiency issues, a human can "survive" on only
a few sq. m of land.

I'll state this quite clearly and keep repeating it until people get it.
With robust MNT "survival" *IS NOT A PROBLEM*.

Now, it becomes more difficult if one begins to identify ones "survival"
with having a Mercedes, Carribean Vacation homes, etc. but probably not
*too* much more. This has been addressed in Nanomedicine. Everyone
on the planet can reasonably operate 10 kg of nano-replicators. So
you can build approximatly 10 kg of nano-stuff per hour. The nano-santas
don't come every day, but it is not unreasonable to expect some really
cool stuff for Christmas.

> The first uploads and maintained will probably be expensive.

Why? It will be expensive to develop the first upload. But once developed
making it available to large numbers of people should not take more than
a few years. I don't think you will see people screaming to get uploaded
provided Robin's uploaded hyperevolution scenario is constrained. Given
the other paths that are likely to be available -- remaining in a non-aging
body or becoming cyborgized, I think only some fraction of humanity may
opt for uploading.

One critical factor will be whether uploads are allowed exponentially
growing abilities. If they have a "hardwired" fundamental respect for
other sentience and/or external systems that constrain the resources
(power & matter) available to them, then the situation is manageable.
If they are autonomous agents allowed to run around the planet and
self-evolve, then they could be dangerous.

> The first problem will be with thieves who can't afford the technology.
Everyone will be able to afford it if you have an open source design.

> There will be cases of people stealing storage nodes so they can
> delete the previous occupant and upload themselves.

If the "node" weighs less than 10 kg, they you can make one in an hour.
Its worth noting here, a 1 cm^3 Drexlerian nanocomputer (weighing slightly
more than a sugar cube), consuming 100,000W (requiring a 50x50 m plot of
land for power) provides the computational capacity equivalent to 100K to
1 million human minds (using computational equivalence as a measure).
If you go down to a lower level and are doing a simulation of a human
mind at the neuron level (this is a differential equation simulation of
each individual neuron) then using current computer architectures
you might need 3 Drexlerian nanocomputers per "mind".

So I don't see any need to postulate a need to steal energy or hardware
from others unless it turns out that that to properly support a human
mind you have to drop down to the level of a full molecular dynamics
simulation at the atomic level.

> It will cost money to be stored.

Huh? You have your nanoreplicators build you a space ship and send
yourself into orbit around the sun. It doesn't cost anything other
than the materials required for the original investment in the
computronium and space ship. (Obviously space ships for 1 cm^3
nanocomputers can be pretty small...).

> Once you are stored, and cannot touch the real world, how many of you
> could still make money? I don't know if I could.

You make money in the virtual world. The real world is so slow and
behind the times that dealing with it will be pretty undesirable.
But since you are living off "free" energy, you don't need money
unless there is a market where you want to buy closed-source
designs for self-enhancement.

> Most of my money comes from programming on top-secret projects.
> Those projects do not allow data in or out.

Well this situation might develop between the uploaded virtual
reality and what is left of the "real" reality on Earth. But
so long as there is mutual respect for one another it isn't
really a problem.

> Anyone who touches the real world, like a doctor or athlete,
> will no longer be able to work at their profession.

I've given a Continuing Medical Education seminar to doctors about
Nanomedicine. One of them raised this question asking "what will
doctors do?" My answer was that they would become "managers" of the
nanomedical devices. As far as athletes go, they become irrelevant
(competition based on "natural" genetic abilities is *really* dumb)
or money will be spent on genetic enhancements instead of salaries or
they become cyborgized or lay claim to the all-"natural" sports or they
get "handicapped" just like horses or golfers do.

> You may find that once your body is destroyed, current laws will not
> grant you rights.

If you are an uploaded copy on a spaceship orbiting the sun you don't
really have to worry about whether the laws of some enclave "grant
you rights". You only have to worry whether some enclave will take
action to destroy you.

> You may not be able to stop the body-survivors from turning you off,
> merely for no other reason than they do not believe that you are
> really in the machine.

For "uploading" to really work people are going to have to accept the
fact that "you" are really in the machine. You would obviously pass
the Turing Test (as poor as it is).

> This is also another reason that many people will not choose survival.
> Not because they don't want to survive, but because they don't see it as
> survival at all.

I agree with this. Many people will consider themselves "humans"
and will not want to up-evolve.


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