Implications of advanced technology

In theory automation, AI and especially full nanotech can bring an age of unprecedented abundance. This would be an age where the cost of production of all material goods drops precipitously. To put it another way, productive capacity explodes.

Why would it do this? Let us take machine phase nanotech alone. Machine phase nanotech enables the disassembly of any material object into component molecules and even atoms. And it enables building items molecule by molecule and even atom by atom. Thus it enables perfect copies of anything material and at a cost that is a function of the amounts of the raw elements involved, the energy cost of their assembly and knowledge of what the desired assembly is. Anything material, including food, produced as efficiently as possible with minimal inputs. Anything that has every been produced being endlessly reproducible. This is revolutionary.

It is also squarely against about much of our current notions of Intellectual Property. It is an exponential extension of what the printing press did for printed works. This provides perfect copying of all material things — drugs, devices, chemicals, even biological systems. Effectively it also means that humans cannot differentiate on the basis of physical possessions. Not even on the basis of physical characteristics such as beauty.

Yet humans have a strong evolved psychological need to differentiate, to be perceived as different than and hopefully in someway more desirable in some contexts than others. But machine phase nanotech in potential eliminates differentiation by material possessions or material characteristics.

How far does this extend? Might it extend even to one’s intelligence or even full brain state? Might a perfect copy of you or I be made? This may be a more doubtful proposition unless that copy can be revived to have the heart beat and so on. But in principle it is a path to something far beyond cloning — to a perfect copy up to the time the relationship of all the parts was obtained, memories, brain structures, synaptic connections and all.

Who are we in such a world? This body? This unique brain structure which with the ability to make such copies is no longer unique?

Combine this with AI, especially more general intelligence at human level or beyond AGI. Among other things this will provide increased understanding of how all the physically exact structure leads to various effects — say level of general intelligence. When combined with machine phase nanotech this knowledge in turn can be used to improve and enhance, augment and change, anything about a person that may be desired. Including their intelligence level and psychological parameters. Thus anyone can be as intelligent as they wish. They can have whatever hedonic setting and other psychological settings that they wish that can be coherently realized. Thus people are not necessarily different in general intelligence or psychological settings.

What of learning? There is a component of learning that is integration with other mental content. Even with brain state replication presumably not many would wish to have their brain be a duplicate of some smart person. They would after all like to stay themselves, that is preserve much of their own mental content, and somehow have the other’s knowledge in some desired area become seamlessly integrated with the to be preserved content. Most humans can not even thing of themselves in such assembly of parts fashion. They do not realize their own continuous construction of “self” or its modification by internal and external factors over time. Yet they will run smack into it when they seek to change various self parameters and obtain knowledge much more directly. This will be very challenging for many.

What of those that would improve or fix others, even if out of a sense of deepest compassion. With some of the tools above it would indeed be possible to fix many a physical and psychological malady. But how can it be done organic to the person themselves? There would be a real danger of just overwriting persons with people characteristics we like better while eliminating what made that person unique. Ideally we would need to find ways to grow people in wisdom and towards their fullest positive potential more efficiently without overriding their very self. Who is wise and compassionate enough to do this?

Consider the direction of communication technology. We are more and more connected to one another and to knowledge and computation. Today we carry in our pocket a handheld device capable of these wonders and much more. The device becomes smaller and more ubiquitous and more intimate. Over time it likely becomes internal, wired to our very brains and more and more transparent to our ways of thinking, association, memory. Over time our minds have more and more shared state and resources. And our one to one or one to many communications become more than words, more than words and pictures, more than words and videos. They become increasingly sharings and communication of brain state including emotions, aspirations, fears, hopes and dreams. We share deeply. Knowing, feeling, being washes brain to brain, group to group.

Who and what kind of being are we then? Where is the boundary between you and me, between self and other? Is this extinguishing of uniqueness or a kaleidoscopic appreciation of multidimensional uniqueness and diversity. What kind of being are we then?

How far are we from being able to incorporate and dance/be with such deep changes — individually, in our institutions, in our beliefs, in our core assumptions. I think we are quite far from it. I believe our core evolved psychology is not tuned for it. Thus I think we can only embrace the positive desirable aspects as we are willing and manage the difficult job of self knowing and self transcendence of our evolved nature within and as manifest in our institutions without.




I am a long term software fanatic and most of my career is in this area. I am very techno-optimist. I believe the future is unlimited.

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Samantha Atkins

Samantha Atkins

I am a long term software fanatic and most of my career is in this area. I am very techno-optimist. I believe the future is unlimited.

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