Re: SI: Singleton and programming

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 08 Dec 1998 16:15:15 -0800

Nick replies to Peter replying to Nick:
>> >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.

It seems to me Nick is talking about what economists would call "Pareto optimality" or a lack of "market and government failures." Instead of being forced to acknowledge that the system should be described as a set of agents in conflict, one would be able to describe it as optimizing something.

Robin Hanson   
RWJF Health Policy Scholar             FAX: 510-643-8614 
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 510-643-1884