Re: [sl4] Comparative Advantage Doesn't Ensure Survival

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Mon Nov 24 2008 - 07:50:02 MST

--- On Sun, 11/23/08, Tim Freeman <> wrote:

> I came across a section in "Beyond AI" by J. Storrs Hall saying that
> the economic law of comparative advantage implies that we can't be
> out-competed by AI's. I have also seen other people making the same
> claim. The argument seems invalid to me, and I wrote a rebuttal at:
> I'd like to be wrong here. If anyone sees a counter to the rebuttal,
> please let me know.

I haven't read the book so I can't criticize it. However I agree with your conclusion. If AI gains property and legal rights, it will be to their advantage to replace humans with robot slaves that do more work and require fewer resources. Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage doesn't model resource usage, and therefore doesn't explain genocide.

Of course, the idea is for humans to build robot slaves that serve us and have no legal rights. Near term, we are doing exactly that. I believe the risk of AI is that once we have the capability to replicate the minds of specific people, that those AIs will inherit the rights of the originals after they die. Those AIs can reproduce and evolve much faster than we can.

You can view this either as human extinction, or as our evolution into a non DNA based life form. It is not something we should or shouldn't do. It is a consequence of our evolutionarily programmed fear of death and quest for immortality.

-- Matt Mahoney,

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