Re: Opting out of the Sysop scenario?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Aug 04 2001 - 18:40:37 MDT

Dan Clemmensen wrote:
> The sysop controls and allocates all available resources. To opt
> out, the sysop will have to allocate some resources to you so that you
> can maintain a separate existence. What is the equitable way to decide
> which resources should be allocated to you?

The most obvious way of opting out of the Sysop Scenario is of course to
stay on Old Earth with all the rest of the Pedestrians. I don't see a
resource division problem in this scenario, unless the number of people
who want to stay on Old Earth is so small (say, less than a million) that
their share of the Solar System is not sufficient to cover Earth's mass.

What James Higgins is talking about, though, is something else entirely.
He wishes to leave Sysop Space not for religious reasons but because he
wishes to be outside the Sysop's control. Thus, presumably the Sysop
perceiving him remotely so as to prevent disaster scenarios still wouldn't
satisfy him. In the full sense of what I think James Higgins means by
"opting out", I don't see any good way to prevent James Higgins from, say,
creating a simulation of Old Earth using the computronium on his ship,
with several billion fully sentient citizens, and refusing to grant those
citizens their citizenship rights - ruling over them as a god. (For those
of you who don't think simulations are "real people", I got the impression
that James Higgins wanted ideally to leave Sysop Space and grab his own
planet, in which case he could easily duplicate and dominate Earth's
current biological civilization - given a few advanced tools, anyway.)

What is gained that justifies that kind of ethical disaster?

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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