What should you ask a wish machine to do for you?

Mitchell Porter (mitch@thehub.com.au)
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 15:36:43 +1000 (EST)

Something that may be a likely development is
a "genie machine" or "wish-granting machine".
Every machine that does what you want it to
is already a machine for granting a (narrow)
range of wishes; what I mean is a sort of
general-purpose wish-granting machine.
Imagine a machine with superintelligence
and maximal abilities to construct physical
systems (whether that be nanotech or something
more advanced, such as the creation of designer
universes), but no volition to speak of.
What should one ask of such a machine?
What *shouldn't* one ask for?