The Upload Economy
Fri, 3 Oct 1997 14:00:37 -0400 (EDT)

Question: How would the economy function in an uploaded society?

Answer: First you need a product, and that product is you. After having
your wetware converted into a new infinitely variable cut-and-paste
consciousness you're ready to start production. You're not in control of
your production, but everyone else is. Instead you manage the marketing
side, you've got to sell the product. Why would anyone want to buy you?
They don't, they reproduce you. Maybe you've got a great sense of humour, a
brilliant understanding of quantum theory or you're just easy. Whatever the
reason, I like you and I want a copy. So I either copy the parts of you I
like into a new individual, or I cut and paste them into myself. Well done,
you've just reproduced.

The more you reproduce, the safer you are. Reproduction has always been the
main priority in the biological world and the same can be said of the upload
world. But rather than passing your genes along, you're passing along your
memes. And the more your mind sprawls into every corner of the memesphere,
the safer you are and the more computation you're getting done. But if it's
possible to copy consciousness, why not just copy yourself? Everyone will,
they'll keep copying themselves repeatedly and you'll have not distinct
advantage over anyone else. But what if you marketed yourself so well, they
also copied you? Now you have an advantage.