Re: No AI for Nano/No Nano for copyloads

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 20:36:52 MDT wrote:

> > While it can see how it might take some time to learn how local things work,
> > I think it takes much less time to compile that more abstractly.
> Why would you think that?

I don't think nature is very well compiled as it is. Nature happened uponneurons
as a computational mechanism and used it, even though most of
what happens in a neuron is irrelevant to the computation.

> > And since I tend to think of nanotech as more of a gradual increase in
> > manufacturing abilities, I don't think specifics of nanotech progress matter
> > that much here.
> Nanotech also offers qualitiatively new abilities that can significantly
> affect the development of other technologies. Without nanotech you aren't
> going to see cheap uploads in this century - the computers will be too slow,
> and it will take too long to do the optimization research.
> with nanotech, ... The relative rates of progress of these different
> technologies all change significantly, which gives you a very different world
> ...

I'm not sure we know much about how nanotech changes the relative rates of

> > I don't think neural interfaces will be very useful,
> Neural interfaces would make truly immersive VR and ER environments possible,
> ... the fact that an upload has no physical body would no longer constitute a
> significant limit on its ability to interact with normal humans.

OK, but these are relatively minor issues compared to the others we are talking

> > and don't think substantial intelligence enhancement is that relevant -
> > whatever enhancements humans have uploads can use too.
> ... Does an upload that does a hundred jobs at the same time, some virtual and
> some via teleoperated drones, have any particular competitive advantage over an
> enhanced 'human' who can do the same things? I would say, only if you don't have
> to pay the upload - and at that point it
> will be obvious to everyone that you are practicing slavery.

I don't think you understand the economic argument here. Even ignoring speed
advantages of uploads, since it is cheap to create uploads, the supply increases
quickly, which lowers the market wage. I did try to explain this stuff at

> > Sentient AI seems very unlikely to me to happen before uploads, being a vastly
> harder problem.
> On what basis do you assume that it is 'vastly harder'? ... Acheiving
> animal-level intelligence seems to be a much more tractible problem, and it
> would enable us to build robots good enough to automate almost all physical
> labor.

Nine years of AI research left me with definite impressions. And we already have
very cheap animal intelligence - real animals are cheap, and they come with bodies
too. But very few organizations manage to replace much human labor with animal

> 1) Slave labor is generally not profitable, because of the size of the
> investment required to ensure that the slaves don't revolt

I didn't advocate or postulate slave labor. There are lots of possiblearrangments
that lead the the same result. The key point is a vastly
increased supply of labor lowering wages.

> 2) Creating an upload doesn't just increase the labor supply. It also
> increases demand, since the upload will want to spend his wages on something.
> Upload copying is thus exactly analogous to ordinary population growth - it is
> just a faster, potentially less costly way of doing the same thing.

Fast population growth is what makes all the difference. Really.

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