Re: Sysop and Population (was: "SIMULATIONS...")

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Oct 08 2001 - 02:48:00 MDT

Mitch Howe wrote:
Primary problem...
> [...] So that subsequent generations of citizens aren't comparatively
> screwed out of large resource blocks on the mere account of their having
> been created later. [...] I'm saying that a Friendly SI might feel
> just as obligated to protect and serve future generations as present ones.
> It's really not fair to be born into an MLS situation (where you can maybe
> only have one offspring at an unspecified future date) while your neighbor,
> who happened to be first generation Citizen sits on an unfathomable hoard of
> matter she decided not to share through having a trillion offspring.
Secondary problem...
> A recognized weakness in this concept of Friendly MLS allocation is the fact
> that people tend to have many more children when they know they will be
> provided for. An individual producing a trillion offspring who each produce
> a trillion offspring would probably break the system very quickly. This
> could be anticipated as part of the "growth trends" factor in the initial
> MLS calculation, but the end result might be suffocatingly small MLS --
> really SMLS (sub-minimal).

I agree with your statement of the primary problem and the secondary
problem. My thought that the solar system will be divvied up among
current citizens - even if this results in the creation of super-wealthy
hoarding Elders - is based on the projection that, in the long run, it
doesn't really matter; an individual created using only MLS will be able
to grow indefinitely at a normal rate (guaranteed) and will, even if
created with no desire to reproduce, probably still be able to reproduce
someday. So having super-wealthy Elders isn't really all that bad, and
I'm not just saying that because I expect to be an Elder myself. However,
if there's a good way to avoid people gaming the system - i.e., some
solution that is fair to those who want to reproduce, those who don't, the
newcomers, and the latecomers; and moreover, can't be gamed by cheaters -
then that alternate solution might be adopted.

The thing to remember is that ultrawealthy Elders is a very much smaller
problem than it would be in our own society. What are they (we) going to
do with those resources, bribe politicians? What's really being discussed
is the difference between ultra-wealthy and super-ultra-wealthy, and I
don't quite see that as a problem...

My previous thought was that an initial divvy of the solar system among
the Eldest, and subsequent divvy of new resources among all citizens
equally, should roughly balance the moral forces here. However, perhaps
your suggestion of a limiting reproductive rate would be relevant to
divvying up newly acquired resources, if not to the actual prevention of
hyper-reproduction. Suppose that the divvy of newly acquired resources
would involve a limiting reproduction rate of, say, one sentient per nine
months, again to prevent gaming the system. If you reproduce faster than
that, i.e. two sentients per nine months, those two sentients only get
half the usual share of newly acquired resources until enough time passes
to validate them as full citizens, first-come first-served. This, in
turn, may naturally increase the MLS requirement when you spawn lots of
new citizens simultaneously. And it ensures that the disadvantage applied
to rapid-reproduced citizens is only temporary... in the long run, that

> So in the end we may wind up back with distasteful-but-equitable enforced
> limits on reproduction. Its really outside the realm of average human
> experience to produce hundreds of children anyway, so a limit of 10 or 20
> might be perfectly acceptable to most. It's not high enough to satisfy the
> dreams of any King Solomon wanna-be, but it is already established that not
> every wish can possibly be granted in Sysop space (unless some of the
> wildest theoretical possibilities for, say, tapping into other universes
> prove tenable).

Not every wish can be granted in Sysop space, definitely, regardless of
physics. Example: "I wish to conquer Old Earth and make all the
inhabitants my slaves." You may be able to get an indetectably good
illusion of this, but you can never have the actuality.

> To quote some Native American philosophy:
> "Look behind you. See your sons and your daughters. They are your future.
> Look farther, and see your sons' and your daughters' children and their
> children's children even unto the seventh generation. That's the way we were
> taught."
> --Tadodaho Leon Shenandoah
> Speaker of the House
> Grand Council of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy

Careful with wise-sounding conservationist quotes attributed to Native
Indians... some of them were simply made up by later authors and adopted
by the environmentalist movement as history. E.g.:

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

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