Re: List of Zone Barriers (Re: Vinge)

Nick Bostrom (
Wed, 9 Sep 1998 00:27:57 +0000

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> 1. Leakage:  (Moderate probability.)
> Our Universe is both inhospitable to PSEs and easily
> escapable.  Any SI immediately "leaks out", perhaps leaving a few
> Transcendent artifacts behind, but still leaving an untouched world
> to humanity.  Note that this incorporates Bostrum's noncompetitive
> ecology.

I presume you are referring to the singleton thesis? It could be misleading to say that it implies a noncompetitive ecology, since *internally* the singleton could choose to embody a tooth-and-claw ecology if it wanted to.

I defined a singleton as:

A singleton is a power which does not face any external competition; its behaviour is constrained only by physical nature and by self-imposed standards.


The singleton thesis is that a permanent singleton will form in the non-distant future.

(I have a bulky but very unfinished paper-in-progress at

Nick Bostrom Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method London School of Economics