Re: Borg... sounds Swedish (Review, Rants, Spoilers and Spe

Dan Hook (
Sun, 1 Jun 1997 09:32:40 -0400

From: Patrick Wilken <>
> >Therefore, the individual would be just as inclined to sacrifice himself
> >anyone else. Of course, an individual with access to these resources
> >find himself gradually scrapping every part of him that was him before
> >assimilation because it is no longer useful. Bring on the borgs!
> Uggh! The Borg maybe interesting, but they certainly don't fit into my
> Extropian future. They seem alot more like old-fashioned communists
> up with techno bondage gear than any great leap forward into
> anarcho-capitalism.

Great leap forward? Coincidence, or genuine perversity? That phrase was
used to describe the cultural revolution in China.

Anyhow, the borg do sound somewhat communist because they are so integrated
as to possibly make communism work. I fully support anarcho-capatilism for
the time being but I do not think that in a post human world of high
bandwidth connections it will appear as it should appear now. The concept
of the individual could be drastically altered. A "person" might do some
things on their own and work together with others to accomplish a more
difficult task. In addition, the "person" could delegate a task to a
smaller part of themselves much as we delegate most of the computations of
learned skills such as typing or picking up a coffee mug to parts of the
brain not involving conscious thought.

I truly do not know how scarce resources would be divided up in such an
arrangement. It might be possible to model the economy of a shifting
individuality entity but I do not know where to begin.

As for the borgs goals, they are rather pure. In this harsh place we call
the universe with its multitude of dangers anything that wants immortality
must follow a simple commandment: replicate and mutate or die. Replication
can mean expansion as well as duplication. In an ant colony when new
workers are born replication has occurred but the colony has not
duplicated, it has expanded. The more spread out a system is, the better
chance it has of surviving. Humanity has a better chance of surviving than
does any individual culture and a culture has a better chance of surviving
than the individuals within it. Mutate is a command to
self-transformation. The benefits to this are obvious. It may also cause
the elimination of the original form. While this may not be good for one
dimensional things like genes, people are four dimensional and can thus
change and still be considered the same in some sense. The borg certainly
follow the replicate command. It seems that some times they follow the
mutate command but at others they seem stagnant.

The problem with the individual replicating is that it tends to take up
more space, thus forcing others out. Granted with nanotechnology we can
take up less space but this only slows down the problem. If instead of
displacing others they were absorbed we could solve this problem. Ignoring
the large problem of communication speeds, every former individual would be
directing their efforts towards expanding against the limits of nature
instead of expanding at the expense of other intelligences. The speed of
communication does impose some problems. Those designs best able to
spread, both against the limits of nature and against other intelligences,
would become dominant. It's the same scenario as a technosphere. On a
planet a dominant form could arise through the efforts of a small group and
spread throughout the universe at the speed of light. The entire planet
could work together to bring about the dominant form. A number of planets
could work together. At each stage more and more computing power becomes
available at the cost of speed. The most efficient balance could probably
be modeled and if not it would be selected.

Dan Hook