SI Comparative Advantage [was Re: Free Will]

Anders Sandberg (
17 Aug 1999 12:13:34 +0200

Brent Allsop <> writes:

> Anders Sandberg <> replied:
> > (Julian Assange) writes:
> > > Those SI's which have motivation to control the substrates on which
> > > SI's are built shall proliferate and others will become food.
> > > The idea that SI's will do anything else with humanity but grind it up
> > > for spare atoms and is nothing short of religious faith.
> > So what about the law of comparative advantage?

[See the excellent explanations posted by J. R. Molloy, Technotranscendence and Robert J. Bradbury; I knew I could count on the list to produce much better answers that me (since I'm not that good at economics yet). Thanks!]

Anyway, what has this to do with whether SIs like sauteed humans? As I see it, it shows that it makes economic sense to have even "lesser" creatures in your economic system.

Also, I'm not a big fan of the "instant god" scenario of posthuman development, which assumes that the first AI/upload/whatever self-improves so quickly it becomes a near-omnipotent entity able to determine the future of everybody and lacks any allegiances to the ants around it. I consider it much more likely that the ascent to transcendence will be a continous process of self-improvement where it is highly advantageous for the would-be-SIs to outsource much of the work to other economic entities ("I'm too busy designing my new cognitive core, I want you to write my new personality/user interface. I pay you with an old cognitive core"). This would favor specialisation rather than the SI being a jack-of-all-trades, and would in the end lead to a situation with a long gaussian with a long tail of interconnected economic entities and the SI(s) at the end of the tail. This also disfavours eating people, since there are competitors/partners of close to the same power level and economic ties even with the "ants".

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y