Re: No AI for Nano/No Nano for copyloads

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Thu Jul 13 2000 - 15:50:55 MDT

Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> > I think it likely that we will have the ability to create a single
> > expensive "upload" (for less than $1B) well before advanced nanotech,
> > and given the vast amounts of money to be made from one this is what
> > will happen.
> > Then its a matter of filling market niches and business
> > competition that I think leads to domination of the upload economy by
> > the first few thousand, and perhaps the first few ten, uploads.
> > By the time your "evoloads" show up, the game is basically over.
>If this strategy is followed before nanotech, then you still have
>the problems that the hardware is going to fill a room and will
>produce a very hefty annual electricity bill. You are likely to
>have 10-15 years before the hardware gets cheap enough that the cost
>of running an upload falls below the annual food budget of a real
>person. It may be an interesting research tool but I doubt it
>will quickly break out in a way that changes the general economy.

I think you've got unrealistic hopes (!) for "sudden transition".

If one day destructive uploading costs $100Bn, and the next day
non-destructive uploading ("evoload") costs $1000, then yes there is
more prospect for equity in terms of filling market niches (though
even then its far from clear there's enough niches for billions
of distinct uploads).

But if costs fall more gradually, then someday it will be profitable
to upload one person and make billions if not trillions of copies of
that one person. By the time it is cheap enough to upload millions
of people, copies of first few dozen uploads may have filled pretty
much all of the available market niches.

>If AI keeps getting more and more sophisticated
>(becoming non-AI in the process), then the economic advantages
>of the uploads may have been trumped by mass-produced hardware/
>software agents.

Yes of course it is possible that powerful enough AI could have
filled those niches before the first upload arrives.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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