X-Message-Number: 10920
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 05:48:10 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10896 - #10899

Hi everyone!

I have already discussed the ideas of Mr. Smith on money. He can believe
what he wants. We'll all (I hope, and we all hope) see just how things
really develop. 

However, for Bob Ettinger, I feel a bit surprised that he's taking the line
he's taking. There is a difference between reality and any kind of 
virtual version, and always will be, if only because the universe is
far larger and more complex than anything we could program on a computer.
But more than that, a virtual world won't give me anything that could
not have been foreseen --- not necessarily by my unaided brain, but 
by any kind of computation, no matter how powerful. While it is the nature
of reality to surprise us with changes we could not have foreseen no 
matter how hard and with how large a computer.

There is, of course, no metaphysical reason why we could not invent
machines capable of managing everything for us, and then gone off into
our virtual worlds. However in effect we would by doing so become no
more than pets of those machines, and eventually such a situation is
bound to hurt us. The Eloi, remember, no matter how apparently 
beautiful they seemed, were basically being raised as a source of meat.
Nor is it the power of our machines which is important here; the 
issue is that of control, not power. We are not now Eloi, even though
we have increasingly powerful computers. That is so not because we
can compute (or even think) faster than these computers, but because
those computers have no independence at all from us. They are aids to
our own thinking, with no independent ability to do a thing.

Yes, such a situation, at least in some places, may well happen to
some people. They will no more need money than cows need money: their
owners happily give them food and living space, for reasons the cows
do not question. Nor, for that matter, do they want anything other than
food and living space. (It is human beings who seem never to be satisfied,
and always want more --- such as the REAL possession of land, or enough
resources to build one's own planet). I sincerely hope that no such 
situation ever happens to me or anyone I know. Nor do I see it as inevitable.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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