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January 17, 2010

Economics of nanotech and AI

Robin Hanson forecasting the next mode of growth.

Mode     Doubling   Date Began   Doubles  Doubles
Grows     Time (DT)  To Dominate  of DT    of WP
----------  ---------  -----------  ------   -------
Brain size   34M yrs    550M B.C.     ?       "~16"
Hunters     230K yrs   2000K B.C.    7.2       8.7
Farmers      860 yrs    4700 B.C.    8.1       7.5
??            58 yrs    1730         3.9       3.2
Industry      15 yrs    1903         1.9      >6.3   

What if was like the industrial transition.

2067-2120 timing estimate

first adopter gains

New mode   Initial %        Final %
Brains       less than 1%        20
Humans        5                 100
Farming      10                  40 
Industry     20                  50
?             ?                   ?
Knowledge was always key



Five steps to Radical Production

1. Atomic Precision
2. General Plants - like PCs beat signal processor. Scale economy to make, easier design, efficient enough. More differentiation faster evolution of products
3. Local Production
4. Usuallky idle
5. Self reproduction

Lower marginal costs goes then Costco model may be better. Buy into a club to get lower price on a collection of items

Factor Shares of Income
Labor, human capital, other non-human capital, natural resources, stock dividends

My Views on Singularity

Yes General machine intelligence will make huge difference
Not soon - roughly 20 to 200 years
Not Trend - econ growth has been steady
not Local - an integrated economy grows together, not basement takes over world
Not hand coded - probably brain emulation
Not Horizon - we can see past if fuzzier
-new economy doubles weekly to monthly
- natural wages fall below

Economics of Robots

Staple of fiction
if have more of X, do not want Y more (complement) or less (substitute)?
Machine as substitute to human labor
-ricardo 1821, most science fiction
-wages fall to machine cost

Automation as complement to human labor
-wicksell 1923, modern econmomics consensus
-wages have risen as automation cost have fallen

So are robots a substitute or complement?

Robots substitute on task but tasks are complements

complement tasks - if certain tasks become nearly free or lower value then the remaining tasks become more valuable.

The effect of a rising tide. the importance of the shape of the curve of tasks versus human advantage.

A simple robot growth model

complex growth model - many things shrinking or growing

Hanson has worked on AI before and thinks it was hard and is still hard.
Thinks whole brain emulation is hard but doable.

Pivotal : What Ready Last
1. computing
- other techs fast or fine brain detail key
- broad smooth anticipated transition

2. Scanning (least likely)
- large coalitions, first dominates, diversify
- most in future descend from one human

3. Modeling
- may be big surprise so disruptive change.

Cheap for robots

* Immortal (even so most can't afford)
* travel - transmit to new body (but security)
* Nature - don't need ecosystems
* Labor - work less tool intensive
* copies
- malthusian population explosion, rapid growth
- Wages may fall to fast falling hardware cost
+ depends on mental task landscape shape
+ happens if they slave or if free
+ only draconian population wage

Emulations feel human
*They remember a human life
*retain human tendencies
-love, gossip, argue, sing, violate,play, work, innovate
*more alientated worlds - as were farms, factories
- office work in VR

Humans Eclipsed

* Wages well below human subsistence
- some humans may find servant jobs
* but rich if held non-age assets

More implications
*copies rent bodies or own on loan
- evicted if can't pay
* to recoup trainin invetment copy cabal limits copy wage
- security to prevent bootleg copies
* fast growth discourages transport encourages local prodution
<1 cm robots seem feasible one skyscraper holds billions is megacity


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