Re: Corporate Uploads Take Over (was: upload only small part)

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 08:13:56 MDT

Robin wrote:

> The claim I most want to focus attention on is this "Corporate Uploads
> Take Over Premise":
> Hardware and upload compilation will become cheap enough to
> profitably run uploads for lower than then-current wages when
> human labor is still highly valued (i.e., before strong AI),
> and substantially before most individuals can afford to
> non-destructively upload themselves.
> Given this premise, most first uploads would be corporate projects,
> and such uploads would have a first-mover advantage in filling niches.

I think the hardware becoming cheap enough to compete with humans
will take a while. It seems that it is human sensory equivalence
that is driving the curve now (e.g. "Leaving Moore's Law in the Dust" by
Dori Jones Yang, Newsweek, July 10, 2000), esp. for things like 3D graphics.
Once parity is achieved there, it will be human augmentation (net-to-brain
links) that will be the drivers (because we will be constrained by
the slow bandwidth in our I/O devices). So any uploads will be competing
with augmented humans which is going to make their operating costs
and performance requirements even more difficult.

To get the hardware "cheap enough", you need a driver for the research
required to quickly advance the curve on what is likely to be highly
special purpose hardware. I'd guess you need a dozen university
and/or industry teams working on DeGaris like strategies. Given
the Blue Gene effort is budgeted at $100M and the quantities of
money floating around now-a-days, a $1B effort doesn't seem
too unreasonable. However that should be balanced against
things like the National Ignition Facility which in spite
of careful planning and relatively mature technologies looks
like it is going to cost several billion $ more than was expected.
Project management for results still seems to be more of an art
than a science.

I agree that uploads, especially if you can remove the consciousness,
would make an ideal "killer app". What corporate president wouldn't
want to just make copies of his best engineers? At the same time it
is going to be a very risky proposition until we have more fundamental
knowledge on how the brain works. Projects of the required size are
going to be hard to keep secret. That means you have to tell the
board, the board will float it by the investment community. The
investment community will go, "great idea" until someone realizes
what it means if the upload is an individual with their specific
skill base... As much as people like the idea of making millions
off of their investments, they don't like the idea of 10, 20, 30
years of education and experience being made obsolete next year.

It looks to me like this is a variant of the why don't we just
build a "factory factory" problem, only instead of factories it
is information management & creativity that you are cloning.

It does sounds like you need an idea future for this specific scenario.


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