Re: Domain Protection

From: Russell Wallace (
Date: Mon May 09 2005 - 12:00:37 MDT

On 5/9/05, Sebastian Hagen <> wrote:
> Who decides what "old enough" means? And why is biological age the
> critical metric, as opposed to, for example, a certain measure of
> intelligence?

*shrug* If I were dictator of Earth, I wouldn't make biological age
the sole metric. I'm not, and the fact is that biological age has been
made the critical metric for most things, including when you're
allowed leave your parents. Don't blame me, wasn't my decision.

> What domains with what rules are actually created?

That's something that needs to be decided; I offered merely a few suggestions.

> How are the available
> ressources divided between them?

My suggestion would be: find out at the start who wants to live in
which domain, then whatever percentage of humanity picked a particular
domain, it gets allocated that percentage of the available resources.
(Should be plenty to go around, we're looking at galaxies per person
(plus descendents).)

> How is interdomain communication
> regulated?

Some would allow it, some wouldn't. (The Amish domain isn't going to
want TV broadcasts from the Transcend, for example.)

> Do 'sentient beings' only get to choose their domain once,
> are they free to move between them at any time, or are parameters of the
> individual domains responsible for deciding who is allowed to enter or
> leave?

The latter. I'd advocate giving every domain an exit that in principle
anyone is allowed to use at any time, but in practice there are going
to be issues like:

- In the distant future, the domain you want to emigrate to may not
have the resources left to take more immigrants.
- If you're from the Transcend, for example, you're not going to be
allowed into the Amish domain anyway.
- Someone in a domain where lots of computing power is available to
individuals could simulate a bunch of sentient beings and not allow
them access to the exit.

> If you allow unupgraded humans to make final decisions about these
> matters

If I allow...? Supposing I wanted to prevent them, how do you propose
I go about it, and who or what should make the decisions instead?

> suboptimal to catastrophic results are likely.

Suboptimal, sure. That's a good sign; trying for optimality in human
affairs never works, if domain protection relied on such that would
strongly contraindicate using it.

Catastrophic? There's no guaranteed way to avoid that, but I think
domain protection offers the best hope that it will be restricted to
individual domains rather than wiping out _all_ sentient life.

> Keeping all of these settings adjustable into the indefinite future, on
> the other hand, would provide possibilities for attacking individual
> domains.

Yes, that's why they have to be nailed down forever, pretty early on,
otherwise the whole purpose is defeated.

> Do you have a better method of determining these parameters?

The rules for individual domains? Get a bunch of intelligent,
responsible humans who are representative of humanity's various
cultures and acceptable to the political process to draw them up. Use
Friendly AI for error checking (i.e. have it try to point out where
the humans' decisions would have unintended consequences, though the
final decision has to be made by humans).

- Russell

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