From: Russell Wallace (
Date: Wed Sep 20 2006 - 17:41:45 MDT

On 9/20/06, maru dubshinki <> wrote:
[various things snipped and agreed with]

I'm not following how game theory would help here. If anything, I'd
> think that multiple uploads would be even worse - the pressures for
> preemptive strikes/defections would be overpowering: suppose one were
> an upload and decided to go slow since there is no need to rush to get
> in the capabilities to take out all the other uploads. Isn't it
> obvious that such a strategy would play right into the hands of the
> few bad apples, who could so rush and then obliterate the others? So
> even the Friendly ones would be forced to rush into transcendence or
> whatever just to thwart the possible unFriendly ones.

It's worth bearing in mind that the idea of uploads having or quickly
acquiring vast power isn't based on evidence, only on our own psychology;
our Cro-Magnon brains are programmed to jump up and down at the hint of
special powers for person A relative to person B - this includes me of
course, I think it's a cool idea. But consider the following scenarios:

The ratio of speed to memory for digital computers is much slower than for a
human brain (which it is at present, and always has been). Therefore early
uploads have much slower thought processes than humans.

An upload requires somewhere from a roomful to a buildingful of computers;
it can't run over a wide area cluster, the bandwidth is far too slow.
Therefore it's sessile and highly dependent on the biological humans
maintaining the equipment; it can't so much as sneeze without permission.

Uploads don't gain intelligence at a substantial rate, other than the way
biological humans do, because in addition to the enormous difficulty of
gaining intelligence in general, the human brain even digitized contains no
user serviceable parts.

Uploads don't gain intelligence at all, other than the way biological humans
do; they're legally forbidden write access to their substrate in the same
way humans are forbidden mind-altering drugs (and unlike drugs, upload
hardware isn't a vest pocket commodity).

I'm not proposing to argue about whether the above _will_ happen, since the
technology still doesn't exist outside our imaginations, so it's really just
a case of which stories one finds more plausible. I am simply pointing out
that there is no evidence for the "upload to ascension" idea, and indeed
history shows that new technologies always have limitations and
disadvantages that prevent them from being as dominant as their more
optimistic advocates had hoped.

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