Re: Upload Economics (WAS: RE: No AI for Nano/No Nano for copyloads)

Date: Sat Jul 15 2000 - 18:25:18 MDT

Robin writes:
> 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

That URL is working now, and I recommend it to those interested in this
discussion, as Robin is able to go into much more detail there.

I am still concerned about the quality of life of the uploads in this
scenario. Robin writes in his paper:

   If level heads can be found, however, they should be told that if
   uploading and copying are allowed, it is possible to make almost
   everyone better off. While an upload transition might reduce the
   market value of ordinary people's human capital, their training and
   ability to earn wages, it should increase total wealth, the total
   market value of all capital, including human capital of uploads and
   others, real estate, company stock, etc. Thus it can potentially make
   each person better off.
   The per-capita wealth of highly-copied uploads might decline, but that
   would not be a bad thing from their point of view. Their choice would
   indicate that they prefer many poorer copies to a single richer copy,
   just as parents today prefer the expense of children to the rich life
   of leisure possible without them.

I'm not sure you can conclude that highly-copied uploads favor
the outcome to which their choices have led them. It seems to me
there are externalities in each upload's decision to reproduce itself
which can negatively effect the other uploads by driving wages down.

Each upload may prefer the situation where there are a thousand copies
making a million dollars each, to the one where there are a million
copies making a thousand dollars each. Yet each one is willing to
make one or two copies of itself (perhaps it gets compensated by third
parties for making those copies). The net result is an outcome which
is undesirable for the uploads, while each one of them made a rational
decision in terms of his own decision.

So it seems that uploads could find themselves trapped in a situation
where the incentives force them to sacrifice quality of life, while
non-uploads benefit (if proper distribution methods are in place).

What happens to this scenario if the welfare of uploads is weighted
equally with that of non-uploads, and the political system includes
uploads in the redistribution of wealth? Does the ease of copying
still make everyone rich? Or did the riches come from the fact that
each upload copy has value, and that value was being transferred from
the copied uploads to non-uploaded individuals?


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