Re: The Upload Economy

Anders Sandberg (
05 Oct 1997 21:12:23 +0200 writes:

> 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?

I assume you haven't yet read Robin Hanson's essay (If Uploads Come First, about upload
economy? He seems to reach the same conclusion as you.

However, there are a lot of other things that can be traded: virtual
environments of differing complexity and uniqueness, access to the physical
world, knowledge and experiences.

> 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.

This is where you diverge from Hanson; he assumes uploads are essentially
indivisible since they are complex, interconnected structures with no
clear modularity - my sense of humour exists as an emergent property
of my whole neural net, which makes it hard to copy. I would say this is
the likely state in the beginning, but as soon as we begin to learn how
to reverse-engineer our minds, then things can get interesting.

> 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.

Now you know why I want to become an open standard for information
gathering and organisation... :-)

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