Will Gods be Lonely? [was Re: NANO: Custom molecules (gulp!)]

Robert J. Bradbury (bradbury@www.aeiveos.com)
Sun, 28 Nov 1999 07:15:06 -0800 (PST)

On Sat, 27 Nov 1999, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> "D.den Otter" wrote:
> >
> > And yes, there is a "better way", and it's called
> > synchronized uploading.
> I wouldn't trust den Otter on this one, Spike. Long before he started
> talking about "synchronized uploading" he believed that only one Power
> could survive, and he plans to be it. He'll take your money, and while
> you're waiting for your journey into the promised land, he'll jump into
> the "experimental prototype hardware" and leave you suckers to burn.

I've thought about this a fair amount, especially given some of Robin's comments on the importance of being first.

Ok, lets assume that one of us is *first*. So what?

I have had the opportunity over the last 12+ years, particularly the last 2 years, to spend much of my time by myself. I suspect this would contrast significantly to most list members unless they are living out in the woods someplace. Many years ago, I also spent some time in an isolation tank. These types of experiences are revealing (and almost required) for a proper discussion regarding the situation of "being the first". As a general comment on my experiences, I would say that I suspect humans have relatively strong drives for not being alone.

So, say the first person willing to risk it all, uploads, then monopolizes all the computronium. They are probably years away from striking up a productive conversation with any other SIs (if they even exist) [with the caveat of course, that they aren't already "here"].

So you are sitting there with 10^50+ Instructions Per Year doing *what*?

People such as Anders & Robin have commented on all of the interesting unsolved problems that you could devote your attention to, but what is the point if you don't get to show the solutions to anybody? Can pure intellectual exercises keep you sane and interested enough to solve them?

My feeling is that being a "sole-occupant" SI is going to get very boring very fast. Either you tip over the edge into insanity, or you rip out all the emotional drives and preprogrammed goals and become nothing but an automaton (about as interesting as a washing machine with a lot more capacity).

The only thing that seems to make sense (since you have the capacity) is to upload everyone (who wants to be uploaded). Then it least things are really interesting while everyone expands their capacity and the politics of SI management come into existence and sort themselves out.

I agree that this has the odor of being an altruistic "nice" idea. But, can anyone paint me a picture of themselves post-uploading with clear descriptions of what they intend to do (potentially by themselves) for the next trillion years?