Re: "SIMULATIONS: A Singularitarian Primer"

From: Mitch Howe (
Date: Sun Oct 07 2001 - 12:10:03 MDT

Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:

> Not every singleton superintelligence ("singleton": one to Human Space)
> constitutes a Sysop. I think the phrase "Sysop" implies partitioning of
> resources among citizens, individual volition, and so on. A benevolent
> dictatorship seems to me like a different scenario. A Sysop, in other
> words, is a root process that manages the way in which other processes
> interact; a benevolent dictator is a root process that tampers with other
> processes for their own good. The Sysop Scenario is supposed to suggest
> the former. (Note that I am not suggesting the latter is impossible -
> just that we need different terminology.)

Ah. This is the kind of problem I was worried about, and I believe it is
the root cause of the other disagreements you specifically mentioned. There
is a
definite and immediate need for a generic term that refers to "A singleton
superintelligence who has the last word on how resources are allocated and
who intervenes to prevent or restrict certain activities." Is there a
leading candidate? Should I just try and coin one to see if it sticks?
Overmind? Supermind? Big Cheese?

I liked Sysop because it did not ring of doomsday Sci-Fi and carried no
inherent negative connotation. For the minority of general readers who have
the computer background to already know what Sysop means the term should
carry an even more neutral connotation.

I'm a bit unclear as to the boundaries of what you define as the Sysop
scenario. Is it a single, narrowly described possibility or just a smaller
subset of the set of possible SI/Simulation scenarios?

My article was intended to be an overview of simulation scenarios in
general, and while the narrower concept of the Sysop scenario definitely
needs air-time there, a separate article is needed that focuses solely on
Sysop. You may need to write this one yourself unless you can provide more
direction on where in your writings one can find all the key concepts. The
post to which I am responding seemed to be a good start but probably not the
whole enchilada.

[As for narrower questions of population in simulation, I will respond in a
separate post devoted to the topic.]

--Mitch Howe

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