From: Alexandre Owen Muniz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Nov 18 2000 - 15:14:23 MST
I've been seeing the term "individual" bandied about a lot here in
relation to TI's. I think this is dangerous, as our concepts of
individualism are very much colored by the human condition.
First, I should give a little background about the kind of singularity I
am expecting. My intuition is that whatever "magic" advances in physics
provide, the laws of thermodynamics and the speed of light will remain,
and that these will be sufficient to keep a true singularity from
occurring. (Regardless, the maximum rate of change on the S curve
that occurs will be pretty extreme, so it could be considered a
singularity in the colloquial sense.)
Individualism requires a very low bandwidth and very high latency
between "individuals", (compared to the state of affairs leading up to
the singularity.) Transhuman "identity" will instead be spread across
Here's where thermodynamics comes into play. As long as the universe has
a 3K thermal background, in order to create a node capable of harboring
a sufficiently advanced intelligence, the effect of thermal radiation on
whatever is used as the physical circuitry must be overcome by cooling.
High capacity nodes will require a great deal of energy to be put into
cooling. As this energy will be dissipated as waste heat, the space near
such a node will be poor for other nodes; even if nodes are located
there, they must either waste more energy on cooling themselves or
accept lower capacity. Therefore, high capacity nodes will experience
greater latency from the rest of the noosphere, and the intelligences
that inhabit them will likely be more individualistic.
Lower capacity nodes will be able to be placed in closer physical
proximity, which means that they will have lower latency, and will
harbor intelligences more on the "hive mind" model.
Given that there will be a range of possible tradeoffs between
intelligence and latency, what choice(s) will transhuman society make?
I think it most likely that the distribution of node capacities will be
logarithmic. Extremely high capacity nodes will be necessary for
conducting the most advanced thought, but their energy inefficiency will
make them few in number, compared to lower capacity nodes, and this rule
will apply over the entire spectrum of capacities.
The implications of this distribution on political arrangements should
be apparent. Likely society will be ruled by a despotism, (one hopes
benevolent,) of the Powers. Democracy is only possible in human society
because we lie on a fairly tight bell curve.
Of course the existence of such a distribution of nodes is not
sufficient to describe their arrangement. I like the idea of "fractal
intelligences" containing one fairly high capacity node, with a number
of lower capacity nodes associated with it.
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