The always thoughtful George Dvorsky just posted an interview with me on ems at io9. Dvorsky calls my scenario “Dystopian”: These days, people worry about robots stealing our jobs. But maybe we should be more concerned about massive populations of computerized human brains. … Disturbingly, Hanson predicts that human servants could become status symbols among the rich.
#15 has been corrected to "elementary school teachers"...1.5 million of them, with an average annual salary of $53,000. I think they're also vulnerable to artificial intelligence software that is well below ems-level. As I note in my updated blog post, perhaps the AI software will teach the children, while the cashiers who have lost jobs to AI software will come in to provide an adult in the room while the kids are learning from the AIs.
Note: Janitors are listed twice on your chart.
Hi,You think, "Most of the jobs humans do today" aren't doable by software until ems become possible? That's very surprising. I've just posted a table of the 15 most common jobs in the U.S. on my blog:
http://markbahner.typepad.c...It looks to me that almost all of them are vulnerable to software that's far below the level of ems. For example, do you think cashiers need ems-level AI? Tractor-trailer drivers? Janitors?Mark
Do you believe in abundant energy, so plentiful or efficient that it becomes truly cheap? That is the only way I can see that happening.
Most of the jobs humans do today.
What jobs do you see as not being doable by software at the time ems become possible?
Slavery in fact does exist in our world, and slave owners have forced their slaves to reproduce. The difference is that slave owners who force their slaves to breed have to go through a period of years in which the children consume resources and produce nothing. An Em slave owner would not. That dead-weight period is especially troubling for ilicit slavers, since it increases detection costs significantly. In Em world ilicit slavers could avoid that period.
There's every reason to think that the marginal cost of producinf a working "copy" would be substantially lower for slave owners who own Ems than those who own humans.
Children serve a clear purpose in real life because parents grow weak and die (sorry I had to write such a sentence so soon). Having children is also a costly process that takes a huge chunk of the parent's lifespans.
In an EM world all of that would change and the smart thing to do for the vast majority of EMs would be to enforce strict regulations against unsanctioned (not intended to replace losses) copying. This could very well become a societal norm (new EMs could even be created with this norm implanted on a subconscious level, like an instinct). The death penalty for unsanctioned creators would both scare off offenders and help resolve the population surplus problem caused by unsanctioned copying.
This all sounds horrible to us but the EM masses know unsanctioned copying is the biggest threat to their world. They won't give up their world just so a few narcissists can spam the universe with copies of themselves.
It is possible in our world for slave owners to force their slaves to have kids, who are then quickly separated from parents. It is also possible for ems to be slaves and forced to make copies against their will. But it is also possible to have worlds like ours where kids are only made when parents want them, and to have em worlds where em copies are only made when their originals want them. The possibility of bad thing happening conditional on slavery doesn't argue against a scenario unless you can argue that slavery is more likely in that scenario.
I agree. But I would quibble: when the economic doubling time is on the order of months what constitutes the "long run" becomes way shorter than what meatspace humans are currently used to.
Possibly true, but one person who does not love their ems can create billions more offspring than one person who does not love their children. Have you seen Moon?
I think if we only counted physical assets like computers, buildings, roads, etc, we'd still measure the economy to be doubling monthly or faster.
You know who people love even more than their children? THEMSELVES. A scenario were people spin off copies of themselves is a scenario in which those new creatures are very loved.
I have a lot of problem with investments doubling monthly. In the real world we can measure real returns in terms of real product and these will always be limited by real constraints on what we can do, so we will have a real world that grows not much faster than we do now. The virtual world not facing these constraints or facing them in limited ways such as computer hardware and power can grow much faster but growth in the virtual world translates to massive deflation relative to the real world. There will be some leakage across the interface as virtual goods are provided to the real world and help growth of it, reduce waste, and increase efficiency, allowing the real world to approach its physical barriers more closely, but massive growth in the virtual world translates to a falling significance in the real world, and faster growth there translates to faster obsolescence, diminishing returns. The greater the return, the more investment undertaken until it falls to something comparable to other returns. It does matter how much leakage there is, as we could make everyone a billionaire as long as we had the assurance none would spent it, and returns can be huge as long as there are very limited attempts at realizing them.
"In a world of subsistence wages, redistributing from the rich still leaves wages near subsistence."
That really depends on the inequality. Who says an elite of the fastest EMs won't receive half the total income or something like that? A doubling of income would surely be noticeable even if the original income was at subsistence level.
Passing the draconian population laws would necessitate a power grab by the masses (who suffer from ever the effects of an increasing population) from a rich elite (who apparently profit from an increasing population, otherwise they would have passed draconian population laws). If a power grab doesn't count as a revolution then nothing does.
If EMs are sentient beings (or appear to be sentient with the same certainty we have that other humans are sentient) then it doesn't matter what euphemism for forced, unpaid labor you use, it's still the same as human slavery.
I do not share Robin's certainty that EMs cannot possibly be replaced by non-sentient software, so slavery may be avoided after all.