Our basic concept of “death” is binary, so that one is either dead or not. But we often metaphorically extend the concept to a continuum. For example, people who have more strength, energy, passion, and awareness are said to be “more alive,” and those who have more power, prestige, influence, or wealth are also said to be “more” in many ways, including more central and alive. Since sleepers have less of all of these things, sleep is often seen as a partial death.
I read it when it first appeared, and upon rereading it recently was disappointed in how little it dealt with.
I don't know if you have red Permutaion City by Greg Egan published around 1993, but it basically deals with this problem about ems being unemployable and much more.
Pretty much actually.
Test: "is this information, given the margin of error, useful for doing anything further with it?"
Another way of putting it... guesstimates with a margin of error of a million are closer to philosophy than to science, engineering, or (what lots of us think of as) economics. Nothing wrong with philosophy though.
So you think there is only high accuracy (low error) or zero accuracy (infinite error), and nothing between?
Unless they are individual automatons, it seems more likely processor speed would be a common utility and improvements would benefit all though some would be more productive with it, though speed would be less important than currency and usefulness, older, less useful ones moving into storage, archived for history and study. If they had their 20 year old selves saved, maybe they would even choose reversion followed by current updates. The relationship between selves could become complex.
It makes me feel skeptical when I read something that the leading experts can't estimate within an accuracy range of less than one million.
Guessing about the number of powers of ten makes all of this sound more like "counting the number of angels that can dance on the head of a hard drive."
Wow! I got a couple of story ideas just from this brief summary. Now I can't wait for the book.
Your graph looks at RAM instead of disk memory, and seems to show the ratio as pretty constant for sixty years. During the twenty years before that processing got cheap faster than memory, so during that period the base speed was rising at least in terms of RAM. That doesn't threaten the idea of a future base speed, it just makes it harder for us to estimate that future speed.
And yet historically the ratio of processing to memory in real machines has been steadily dropping (not constant).
See the second graph here (one of my blogs): http://nerdfever.com/?p=2885
If that continues, does your thesis hold up?
It's a good question. Humans often choose to "unplug" and go on vacation without access to modern communication infrastructure. We also like to appreciate animals, e.g. at a zoo or aquarium. An em would have to slow down immensely to do so (or else it would be like the way we appreciate statuary or glaciers). But I doubt many would make this choice. If we found some cool animals in the Tau Ceti system, and couldn't bring them back to Earth, the only way to see them would be to go on a "safari", but by the time you returned the world and all your friends and family would be totally different. Hard to imagine that being a particularly popular form of tourism. The situation for ems choosing to slow down to hang out with ghosts, humans, or animals would be even more extreme.
OK, I added a clause about that to the post.
I wonder if some ems would choose to slow down, perhaps to wait for something they want or just to see what the "world" will be like in the future... Would there be mechanisms that can reliable protect an ems assets and investments while "hibernating" like that?
On the other end of the spectrum some slow or average ems might save up for a temporary speedup, say to get extra time to study for an exam.
I shall remain happily beholden to my bacterial overlords in the physical realm.
Another theme of ghosts is fixation and hangups about their previous existence, grudges, misery and anguish. I hope slow ems can mostly chill out and enjoy a high-pleasure afterlife.