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

From: Charles Hixson (
Date: Sat Nov 29 2008 - 11:43:20 MST

Peter C. McCluskey wrote:
> There's a clearer explanation in A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic
> History of the World by Gregory Clark of why we shouldn't find comparative
> advantage very reassuring: horses were a clear example of laborers who
> suffered massive unemployment a century ago when the value of their labor
> dropped below the cost of their food.
You are assuming that an AGI will be modeled on human motivations, etc.
I find this highly suspect. My expectation is that it will model human
motivations only sufficiently to understand us, and to explain itself to
us in terms that we can accept. As for resources... the surface of a
planet is not an optimal location for machines. Not unless they are
designed to use liquid water as an essential component. Asteroids have
a lot to reccommend themselves, including constant access to sunlight
for power. Other moons without atmospheres also have potential.
Mercury has lots of power available, just not continually unless you
transfer it down from orbit. Etc. Luna isn't a very good choice, as it
doesn't have any real advantages except a lack of air, and the rocks are
rather low in mass, which indicates that metals will be hard to come
by. (People have come up with all sorts of schemes to extract them, but
mainly because Luna is close to Earth.)

My expectation is that an AGI will stick around Earth only if it really
likes being around people. (Of course, it might leave, and then return
after it had mined out the rest of the more easily accessible solar system.)

One could, of course, design an AGI to want to kill people, but I think
only a person would come up with that as a goal.

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