Re: poly: Idea Futures, some questions

From: Nick Bostrom <>
Date: Mon May 25 1998 - 21:32:44 PDT

 Robin Hanson wrote:

> Nick B. writes:
> >Well, that is precisely the issue. Does idea theft (and the secrecy
> >it necessitates) create a big cost? Maybe it does not, but ideally I
> >would like to know of a reason for believing that.
> The patent system now covers many areas of research, and patents are
> subject to the same problem of idea theft. The cost of preventing
> theft doesn't seem very large for patents are the moment.

That's a totally different situation from the one to which I was
referring. In the case of patents, what is stolen is not just
one bit of information but a whole "story". One can detect a patent
violation by looking a the product, but one cannot in any
straightforward way detect the theft of one bit of information by
looking, say, at the thief's trading record. So enforcement costs
might be much higher in the case of Idea Futures.

Present regulations against insider trading would be a better
analogy. Insider trading, though a significant problem for the
stockmarket, is not out of control. One could hope that the same
would hold for IF. Yet, there could be a difference in degree.

Nicholas Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics
Received on Tue May 26 03:40:22 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:30 PST