Re: POL: Extropianism and Politics

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 22 Mar 1999 01:07:14 -0500 wrote:

> Mike,
> I suppose it is possible that uploads would have an initial period of
> adjustment, but I suspect that once the technology is mature, this would not
> be a long period (just think how subjective time would be for the upload).
> Also, I think for either uploads and/or duplicates the situation is not
> amenable to child labor laws or anything similar. These "new" beings would
> have the same initial experiences and personality of the original, and thus
> would not be some "babe in the woods". As far as means to lower the rate of
> upload production, especially in those of "lesser" performance and "lower"
> intelligence - I wonder what criteria you would use to determine who falls in
> which category, and who will judge....I note that you say make it expensive,
> which I suppose would limit it based on finances, if not necessarily financial
> success (some people, after all, got rich the old-fashioned way; they
> inherited it). But if this barrier were an artificially high one, there is
> still the matter of what level to set the bar. Personally, I'd say let
> whoever can afford to do it (based on the market) with the desire to do so
> copy themselves. Time will tell who the "elite" are.

That seems to be the bugaboo, though. It will certainly be expensive at first, so those that can afford it will do it, and will reap the economic rewards of being uploaded. The money an uploaded personality earns can be given by the personality to its flesh relatives, friends, and others deemed 'worthy', so that they can afford to upload. Thus, the current elite will be the new elite. There will be those in lower classes who will pool resources, like main asian immigrant families do with start up businesses here in the US (you get one to several dozen interrelated families all pooling money to start a business for one couple, who are deemed the brightest business people, who in turn employ relatives, and feed money back to the families so that others in the family can start businesses). However lower class groups which do not have strong extended family structures will not see this sort of phenomenon. You may see the rare crime lord who jacks up, but that will be about it unless some of the elites found some sort of non-profit upload organization.

> I suspect from our discussion about voting and borganisms that you might be
> of the opinion that there is some definite breakpoint in the development of
> borganisms, where the borganism becomes rapidly unitary in outlook. If this
> is not so, I appologize for my misapprehension. But going on that theory, I
> would guess that those existing in a quasi-borganism would count as
> individuals, while those who are encompassed in a full borganism would be
> counted as one. If the division between the two turns out to be crisp, then
> this would, I believe, be a valid vote allocation. However, I am not sure
> that there will be such a clear dividing line between borganism and non-
> borganism, in which case I see the issue becoming complex.

I think that there definitely is a break point. Once a borganism actually creates a self aware corporate intelligence (not something which will happen over a single shift of work, mind you), it will require that all of its members remain connected to the network and subservient to the borg personality in order to maintain that personality. Members will not be able to be independent personalities for 8-12 hours a day while away from work at the corporate borganism. Even if it is possible to swap out individual members on a shift by shift basis, a borganism which keeps 100 members in constant link will operate more efficiently than one which employs 300 but only operates on 100 at a time, so full time borgs will succeed in the competetive evolution of borganisms over part timers.

Of course, if a borg personality is not dependent on the specific members, if it can swap one out for another quite easily, then you may find borgs coexisting quite well as a sort of paramilitary type commitment, where the borg will keep you in constant operation for a year, but will pay you twice the pay rate that a mere 40 hour a week member makes. After the year, your hitch is up and you walk away with a nice chunk of cash to go start your own independent operation.

This is all economic speculation. I still say that when a person's personality has been totally subsumed by the borganism's personality, that person no longer has an independent vote, any more than a slave had one prior to the civil war. They may regain it if their indenturement has a set expiration date.

> As for the scenario where the Borganism is granted a vote for each member,
> then gains a majority and imposes borganization on the individuals still in
> the community, why not the opposite? The borganism is allowed to have people
> join if they do so of their own free will, but then everyone in the borganism
> only have one vote between them. Perhaps if the borganism is successful in
> growing, there is a conservative backlash amonst the individuals sharing the
> community. They vote to have the borganism forcibly disassembled, its
> networking severed. Since you have assigned the borganism one vote, it can
> easily be voted down on any issue. What is to stop either scenario? First,
> constitutional safeguards for the rights of citizens, regardless of the will
> of the majority. Second, understanding amongst all citizens, borganism or
> individual, that if you take away your neighbor's rights today, it may be your
> rights which are stripped tomorrow. You might argue that the borganism would
> no longer have neighbors if it force assimilates everyone, but this would only
> be if it succeeded in doing so literally, as in the entire world (or known
> civilizations). I suspect before it got that far someone would start fighting
> back, and if the borganism can successfully assimilate everyone against their
> will, then likely they wouldn't have needed to vote in the first place.

If a borganism, or if the total number of bodies controlled by borganisms exceeds the number needed for a supermajority to enact amendments to the constitution, then you have a problem. You also have a problem if in addition to the current number of bodies under control, you also include all those who have had prior service with a borg, who may have been memetically programmed by the borg to prefer or sympatize with borg voting positions.

A good bit of fiction to read over regarding this sort of scenario is the novel Kaleidoscope Century, specifically the parts about the Meme Wars, and how in the end, one Meme, Resuna, controlls the entire earth population as a single borganism.

> In regard to opposing viewpoints and subjective vs objective truth - First,
> sometimes your voting issues involve more than two options. For example,
> there could be several candidates running for the same position, among whom
> you might feel two or three could do adequate jobs, but less so the rest. You
> may want to give support to two candidates, and be happy if either wins. In
> regards to the truth, I believe that for every specific situation there is one
> objective truth, but I am not usually chosing between an objective truth and
> subjective truth; usually it is between two or more subjective truths, I only
> have a rough indication of what the objective truth might be, and I have to
> try to figure out which of the possible subjective truths might be the closest
> fit to the objective truth. In this case, more than one viewpoint might have
> elements reflective of what I believe to be the objective truth, and thus both
> might have partial validity, though in differing fashions.

Yes, some people who see the middle of the road as an objective point might take it that way. Since I see objective political truth to start at one end of the scale, not in the middle, I am not hobbled by such uncertainty. I say the objective truth is Unlimited Individual Freedom. Everything anyone can do either approaches or retreats from that goal. Now, you do have a point that Democrats tend to be pro freedom socially, while Republicans tend to be pro freedom economically, so you need to decide which axis needs your suppport more at a given moment, provided of course that you don't have the option of voting for a libertarian candidate in your district.

> Also, in regard to
> sympathizing with and supporting a side, whether it acknowledges what I
> consider the objective truth may not be as terrible as it first appears, if
> you believe there is something of value in that side, you may want to support
> and foster it, while at the same time suggesting that there are some flaws in
> that side's position. As for doing this based solely on a "feeling", I
> suppose it depends on what type of feeling we're talking this an
> intuition, an emotion, a guess? I personally pay very close attention to my
> "feelings", all the different types of them. Often, they are indicating
> things that my conscious mind has missed, or not yet considered. Usually,
> though, I do not allow them to rule my decisions, but instead explore why I
> have these feelings using my logical faculties. However, sometimes there is
> no time for rational contemplation, and you have to make a split second
> decision. In these cases, I occasionally do act on my "feelings" especially
> if I'm not getting any good choices from my rational side. Luckily, I rarely
> have to make split second decisions on voting issues<g>.

I have found that my feelings tend to be ruled more by the memes that infect me, than anything else, except maybe positions which I have long since personally analysed to excess and am pretty positive about my knowing the objective truth (or have gotten as close to the objective truth as I can get). Such positions that I am rather sure about I will defend (as most people here can attest), and I will occasionally get rather excessively annoyed with what I perceive to be excessive stupidity on the part of others. You could say that these positions I have taken as my own are rather deep memes themselves. you may be right, but they are ones which I have freely chosen. The remainder that I am still infected with that may conflict with my deeply held positions I tend to slowly root out over time.

> As for the lottery incentive, I concede that it might indeed help prime the
> pump of voluntary funding....but then why even have it be one item vs another,
> why not hold separate lotteries for them all, with the winner in each getting
> a percentage. Hey, play all the funding lotteries, and increase your chances
> of winning....if you don't play, you can't win<G>.

Yeah, that is true. Being able to vary the payback incentive levels will create a market for what 'government' type programs people really want to support. The ones that people will want to support anyways will be able to afford lower payoff percentages, while the less popular ones will need higher ones to attract the capital. Those programs that cannot attract funding even at a 40% payoff level will not be funded fully or the program directors for those lotteries must make do with the funds they can raise.

   Michael Lorrey, President
                        Lorrey Systems
"A society which trades freedom for some measure of security
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