Re: Where's God?

Erik Möller (
Wed, 25 Jun 1997 14:32:19 +0200

Eric Watt Forste wrote:

> > When I say it is "the information processed that counts" I don't mean
> > its quantity but its quality. That's the difference.

> Very convenient to hinge everything on differences you cannot
> define.

So you say that computing power and high quality information are the
The computer is just a machine, the information is the raw material. The
final product is knowledge.

> > Communicating with others is not actually necessary in the sense that
> > THEY have to hear YOU. It's enough if you listen.

> I wasn't using the word "communication" in such a one-sided sense.
> I intended the word to cover both receptive and transmittive
> communication. Something you might have picked up on if you had
> your receivers pumped up as high as your transmitters are.

And why should any posthuman entity talk to non-posthuman entities?

> > Posthuman entities, if there are several ones and no collective (whereas
> > I consider the latter possibility as more likely) will need to talk to
> > each other to get results. But they will not demand money for them,
> > because whenever they give knowledge, they don't lose it.

> This would be very nice if it were possible to carry out computation
> without any energy and without any physical substrate. Unfortunately,
> it is not, so information is not the *only* scarce resource. I do
> understand that pretending it is simplifies your worldview vastly,
> but I try to keep my weltanschauung as simple as possible, and no
> simpler.

High-quality information is the only *scarce* resource. One planet, one
solar space station, provides enough energy for a posthuman think tank.
The sensors will need some more but it will never get into the area of
scarcity. This trend is visible even today. Look at the internet. OK, it
needs some energy with all those computers and telephone lines, but it's
a HUGE information storage, even without nanotechnology, and it doesn't
take any considerable part of this planet's total energy.

> When you give me an apple and I give you an orange, and this happens
> voluntarily, then you have an orange (which you prefer to an apple)
> and I have an apple (which I prefer to an orange). We both benefit,
> positive sum game, and furthermore because our act (a transaction)
> has infinitesimally affected the market price of apples and oranges,
> we have anonymously transmitted some information to the world about
> our relative preferences for apples and oranges. There's an
> information-communication feat very difficult to pull off reliably
> in an engineered system.

Problem number one is, as I already said, that I think posthumans will
only appear as collectives. If you assume that there is something like a
"meaning of life", then all posthumans will proabably search for it and
act like a collective.

Problem number two is that money is simply dispensable. If you assume
that there aren't collectives but individuals, you must also accept that
there is nothing like a "meaning of life" or that not everyone wants to
search for it. In this case, every posthuman has different interests. It
is likely, or "probably unavoidable", that those with the same interests
will form collectives _again_.

If you think a world with several posthuman individuals is likely,
similar to today's world just with cleverer inhabitants, you must
consider that other posthuman collectives might be worried about this.
For those high-powered individuals might destroy information sources the
collectives need. In this case, the individuals would be "assimilated".

If posthumans leave the collective for a while to gather information
separately, and they meet other posthumans, they will try to find out
their interests, and if they are equal again, they will probably join.

And for the exchange between several different collectives: that's the
same like exchange between individuals. Assimilation or ignorance. Only
in very few cases it will work like "I tell you this, you tell me that",
or "Give me 10$ (!!!) and I will tell you this, for with the 10 $ I can
buy that other information from the posthuman guy next door, positive
sum game, but consider inflation, too".

Nobody needs a money-based economy.

> As for the rest, it sounds like an argument against institutions
> of intellectual property such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks,
> and I've already expressed my doubts about such restrictions on
> information exchange in this forum previously. I can't think of
> any good way to refute Lee Daniel Crocker's arguments on this point.
> Right now, I think it's a bit theoretical, since gummints are still
> running around shooting, bombing, and kidnapping people for even
> more obviously innocent actions than giving someone a "free" copy
> of some Microsoft product.

And you bet that Microsoft would run around shooting and bombing
(kidnapping would be too expensive) people in a "UIF" world. OK, that's
exaggeration, but it is obvious that they would develop some nasty
tricks to stop illegal copying.

The government is not the evil player in our world's game. It's those
who are supporting it, the big industry and the banks, who are "evil" in
the sense that their actions endanger mankind.

> You claim that you have no interest whatsoever in making any use
> of knowledge?

> Don't you want to use your knowledge to help all the poor and
> suffering people on this planet?

I'm no posthuman. I have ethical interests, but any posthuman wouldn't
have such interests. If a posthuman had a "lifesaving ideology", wanting
to save as much life as possible, it would have to fill the entire
universe with life, and even more, it would even have to "turn off"
death in every single lifeform, thus gaining maximum lifespace.

In order to reach posthumanity [as soon as possible], we must avoid the
destruction of our home planet.

> I hope that the above two questions have made it clear that you
> have yet to adequately explain the difference between knowledge
> and power, and that you have yet to adequately defend yourself
> from the charge of using empty rhetoric. If you expect me to
> believe that you do not seek to ever use any of the knowledge
> you obtain (for instance, you will not use your knowledge in
> order to obtain more knowledge), I'll hope you'll pardon me in
> saying that I'm just not that gullible.

I'm not saying that I don't want to use knowledge. Using knowledge is
what I do every day. I say that any posthuman entity has no interest
whatsoever in using knowledge, except for obtaining more knowledge (so
the knowledge is just a BASIS [upon which new knowledge is placed] or a
TOOL [for instance to build special external sensors], but never [or
rarely] a CURRENCY).

> What you want is power to help the poor and suffering: stop
> pretending otherwise. You mean to rule wisely and well, but you
> mean to rule.

I don't want to rule. I want the rulers to rule better.

Erik Moeller