Re: POL: Extropianism and Politics
Sat, 20 Mar 1999 11:18:27 EST


Some interesting ideas you've brought up here....

Balkanization - I agree that some level of having people be able to opt for competing service providers and societies could exist in the same geographical region. This shifts the majority of functions of big government to small and/or distributed government, which I think might be quite useful. However, there would still be a need to have some overall social system/organization/government to deal with interactions between these quasigovernments and between those who subscribe to different systems. It would not have to be a huge government, but it would have to be effective, otherwise you would likely end up with the usual situation in a Balkanized area, The Balkans Wars.

Ballot option for neither? Okay, but what then do you do if neither wins? Not that this is an unsurmountable problem, I'm just interested as to which solution/solutions you would suggest.

Uploads with unique encryption keys? This would provide an artificial difference where one may not (initially) exist. And while I agree that they are separate individuals at the first aware movement, they are still likely to think a heck of a lot alike on broad issues for a long time to come. In fact, the one big political difference that I see might develop between copies and originals in using this system could be voting rights for copies. And what do you do with destructive uploading? If only one upload is made, with all the same memories, experiences, and opinions as the original, does this person lose voting rights until they have established their residency post-upload? If you do say they get to keep pre-upload voting rights, then how is this equitable to uploads from non destructive techniques. And what of creation of multiple uploads at the same instant from a destructive upload? I'm not saying that you're wrong in your approach....honestly I don't know what the best way to answer these questions are yet, and I'm trying to work my way through it. In that respect, your comments on the issue are really helpful, and I thank you for them.

I agree that division into multiple copies solely for the purpose of voting amounts to voter fraud, but the sticky part is figuring out if the division occurred for that purpose. This is where the residency requirement will be most useful, since the longer you have to have existed in that area, the less likely someone did it just to influence a vote. I suppose my main concern is that people do not lose their vote simply because for unrelated reasons it is best for them to divide (or just upload) near the time of a vote. Maybe the best way to deal with this would be to combine the residency restriction with the following rule: Anyone multiplying their mind after the residency deadline still gets one vote, but who gets to vote in that election must be determined before the actual multiplication (If only a single mind will exist as in a destructive upload, then that entity gets the vote by default). For example, let's say that I won a free non-destructive upload in a promotional campaign, but it is only good for a month and there is an important vote coming up in a month and a half. I am still trying to make up my mind on some of the issues. What I might decide to do is cede my vote to my upload for this election, since he'll be able to process this stuff a lot faster than me, and I trust his inherited judgement. Or I could decide to keep it myself if I feel that my upload might develop an opinion that I would not support, given the difference in perspective. But there would only be one vote, and the premultiplication person (who definitely would have qualified to vote) can basically decide what to do with their proxy.

Borganisms with one vote....I suppose it depends on how closely integrated the Borganism is. I can envision a whole spectrum of Borganization. What if the Borganism is capable of having more than one opinion? It might have sixty percent of itself that leans toward one approach, and forty percent that lean toward another. Do those members of the Borganism lose their voices?

Of course, you could also make the argument that we are all, in a sense, Borganisms with the various sections of our brain working both independently
(subconsciously) and interlinked (consciously), and even consciously I can be
of two minds on a subject.
Often I would like to be able to instead of making an all or nothing choice on various candidates, be able to rank them as to their various desirability. That way if part of me likes one candidate, but most of me likes another, I can throw proportionate support to both, and then it will depend on how many other people's parts agree with my various parts. Of course, I can envision doing this right now since we can roughly quantify every single voter as making up 100% of a Borganism, and each voter having aproximately the same amount of processors in their Borganism, therefore we can simply have each voter weigh the various choices with a percentage, with all percentages equally 100% for that voter. Actually, I believe that this suggestion is akin to your suggestion that people be able to weigh their votes depending how passionately they feel on the subject if we throw in those other choices of either or neither. Example: Well, I think this position is right, but I'm don't feel strongly about it, so I'll give position 1 50%, position 2 0%, the either choice 50%, the neither choice 0%, and 0% for my write-in choice as I really don't have any alternatives to suggest at this time. This way I throw some support to position 1, but I help ensure that the issue is settled on this ballot, no matter what the outcome. Not sure that I would vote this way, but some people might on an issue. Also, we could say that people get a certain amount of weighing that they can attach to their votes each year, but that it is finite. For example, say you get an extra 100 percentage point pool that can be added to any vote in any percentage, but once used up it is gone until you get more the next year. These points could disappear if they are not used year by year, or they could be accumulated
(although I can see this accumulation leading to an advantage for one issue
special interests as they could save up points to use only on the issue they care about). I guess the real question should be, how do you calculate how many points a Borganism should have?

Also, since a Borganism could conceivably make up a large proportion of your society's cognitive resources, if we go on the theory that voting is the best way to make decisions because it brings a large amount of parallel processing to the problem being voted on, then wouldn't you be weighing the contribution of the Borganism (which would likely be massively parallel, just better interconnected) way too little? And as far as effect goes, if a Borganism in your voting district comprises most of the population (for example, those twelve thousand people who merged into our Borganism are still semiautonomous, and distinct physically), then wouldn't the Borganism be disproportionately effected by any ballot initiative? Say that ninety percent of the population are linked in the Borganism, but it only has one vote. The Borganism votes for one candidate, but fifty-one percent of the remaining ten percent of the population votes for the other candidate. Now this Borganism is (or should I say, members of the Borganism are) being represented by someone that only about five percent of the bodies in the district supported.

The problem with Borganisms having more than one vote is that since they have a certain unity of experience and outlook, errors in the Borganism's assumptions and approach would tend to propagate throughout the Borganism. So in the end, though it would have more parallel processing power, it would be processing in the end fairly homogenized information, which might dilute the utility of its processing. Again, a LOT of what a Borganism is going to depend on how it is structured, and at what level perception and processing are integrated and to what degree.

Funding mandates, I like this fact, go check out my post on Flat Taxes and check out the section on Philanthropic expenditures. I suppose we could extend the concept to include Infrastructure expenditures as well. I guess my question on the idea of a lottery would be why have a random element. Why not simply say we have the following options which take equivelent funds, you can vote with your funds for which one you want, with a direct contribution to vote ratio. As soon as the vote reaches the amount needed to fund one of these options, the one which received the most money gets it all. You could set this up as a cascade, so that the losing propositions could then be paired against each other and have the process continue until either no one is willing to pay for any of them or they all get paid. Of course, this in no way guarantees that smart decisions will be made, only ones that people are willing to pay for. But ain't that always the case?

Glen Finney