Re: poly: polymath digest for 21 Dec 97

From: d.brin <>
Date: Mon Dec 22 1997 - 17:46:18 PST

Hi. Enjoying lurking on the SETI questions. Good back and forth between
Metzger & May..

>>But then there was Suarez and Sussman, who described a very simple model
economy, with purely rational actors, which went into a persistent
boom-bust cycle, driven solely by the moral hazard incurred by the model
entrepreneurs borrowing money for investment. They also found that the
state could level things out, but the benefits could not be
redistributed in a Pareto-optimal fashion (i.e. no one loses) because
doing so would defeat the intervention somehow. To me all this seems
tohave sigificant macro-economic implications, but I don't know enough
context to know how important the result is.

I find this highly credible. For a much less analytical expression of the
same opinion, by a world-class expert at playing the capitalist game, see
the article by George Soros in the recent Atlantic. As Jaron Lanier puts
it, markets are artifices created by governments. Their optimization
depends on a lot of choices and learning hard pragmatic lessons about what
works, not on some mysticism of laissez faire teleology.

>>The problem of
recognition of malign replicators, etc. Ultimately, the problem may be
generalizable to a science -- and possibly what amounts to an objective ethics
-- of evolution dominated by mind:

For a discussion of many types of malign/benign and plain weird
replicators, see my story 'Lungfish' in the collection RIVER OF TIME. It
secribes just such an ever-evolving war among replicating probes as Greg
Burch alludes to.

Perry>>This reminds me of a side point. Some people have mentioned the
notion that only some humans might choose to transcend, go into deep
space, etc, and ask if the rest of the race will cease to exist. I
doubt that very much. Just because there are humans doesn't mean that
there aren't fish or gazelles.

Reminds me of Clifford Simak's CITY, in which humanity is seen branching in
dozens of directions, including offshoots for dogs and robots...
Received on Tue Dec 23 01:32:56 1997

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