Re: SI: Singleton and programming

Nick Bostrom (
Mon, 30 Nov 1998 00:59:16 +0000

Peter C. McCluskey wrote:

> ("Nick Bostrom") writes:
> >2. It has more to do with global efficiency. Robin Hanson's paper
> >about burning the cosmic commons in a Darwinian race to colonize
> >space depicts a scenario that is not compatible with the singleton
> >hypothesis since it would be globally wasteful.
> >
> >3. You may ask, efficient for what? On this the singleton hypothesis
> >is silent. One can imagine any of a large number of global goals
> >either of which could be adopted by a singleton (e.g. the goal to
> >allow humans and posthumans to freely persue their goals without
> >being coerced.)
> "Noncoercive world government" is an appropriate name for what you have
> described, and the fact that noncoercive and government sound odd together
> probably reflects the difficulty of satisfying all your desires.

Not being coerced does not mean having all your desires satisfied. For example, suppose that the people exist as uploads. One could then have the singleton arrange things in such a way that it would be physically impossible for the uploads to harm each other physically or to steal each other's property or for one groups of uploads to prevent through force other groups of uploads from voluntarily entering into special communities.

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