Re: Uploaded memories

Robert J. Bradbury (
Wed, 8 Dec 1999 13:02:23 -0800 (PST)

On Wed, 8 Dec 1999, Robin Hanson wrote:

> I'm not sure I understand you, but it seems that you are saying that
> future economies will have less demand for intelligent labor, such as
> humans and uploads can provide. I think this is pretty unlikely.
Robin, this raises some very interesting questions. Have economists considered the parallels between "economies" and "ecosystems"? What are the similarities and differences between the two?

For example, it seems to me that one similarity is the principle of scarcity. A difference may be that ecosystems don't have a "currency" for exchange (unless it is perhaps the nutrients). Sure you get symbionts but I'm not sure they are essential and they seem to utilize a kind of barter exchange.

Perhaps the difference in perspectives is that some people look at the future from only an economic perspective while others look at it from only an ecosystem perspective. In fact, we exist in a world today that has *both*. An ecosystem seems to be a requirement for an economy, but the economy could be used to enhance or make the ecosystem more productive. The question regarding personal survival is one of whether you can find a niche to occupy in an ecosystem. Plenty of organisms survive quite well with absolutely no concept of what an economy is.

The interesting question is that if you have a ecosystem, then you put economics on top of that, is there something further that operates at a higher level still?