Re: poly: The singleton hypothesis

From: Peter C. McCluskey <>
Date: Thu May 28 1998 - 09:26:48 PDT ("Nick Bostrom") writes:
>Powers competing to win the race of developing SI and nanotech first
>would have very strong incentives to keep their progress secret and
>prevent the spread of the information they acquire. If it is possible

 Those who are trying to develop them for military purposes would be
motivated to keep it secret, but those who are developing them for
other purposes might well want to adopt a policy of complete openness
as a means of convincing others that they weren't working on weapons
(possibly the only way to convince governments not to try outlawing
the research). Open research would probably proceed faster than secret
military research, because of things like more peer review.
>> >If the region that the singleton controls grows at lear the speed of
>> >light, as I think it will, then I don't see how this would lead to
>> >substantial restrictions on travel.
>> It's control grows at the speed of light during the time when it is
>> establishing its monopoly?
>People can travel in space as much as they want before the dangerous
>technologies become available. After that, the singleton will very
>quickly establish its monopoly (instantaneously in the sense that it
>will be first to develop the dangerous technologies and it will see
>to that nobody else, with destructive motives, ever develops them.)

 And shortly after it has established this monopoly, what is it going to
happen if I set up a research lab on an asteroid, and start moving that
asteroid further away from earth? Is your singleton going to assume it
can keep enough of a technological edge to reconquer me whenever it wants,
or is it going to use whatever force is needed to stop me from doing
research it can't control?

>> I thought one of the main advantages of the singleton was avoiding
>> the wastefull "burning the cosmos" strategy. It's hard for me to
>> imagine that near-lightspeed travel would ever be as efficient as,
>> say, 0.5c. What would motivate the singleton to expand at maximum speed?
>If it (it's members) has some discount rate for future benefits, then
>it would prefer to control more resources sooner rather than later.

 And it would be insensitive to the costs of those benefits? Or are
you trying to pretend those costs don't matter?

Peter McCluskey          | Critmail ( | Accept nothing less to archive your mailing list
Received on Thu May 28 16:29:34 1998

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