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« The Four-Stage Sequence | Main | What Really Happened »

November 23, 2005


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Brian Wang

Try to create meritocracy and constant experimentation to improve efficiency. Create a system for efficiently allocating resources to projects. Based mostly on business project funding models...however allow for certain projects (say health related to be measured by other metrics than cash saved/cash generated. Also, calculate in social costs. All projects would have to prove success as they go for next allocation (zero based budgeting each cycle...no automatic percentage increase).

5% of budget for competitions for people to manage smaller budgets with measured returns and results. Starting from no-money mock budgets. Those who are successful get to move up to manage bigger budgets or get demoted. The most highly ranked managers get to move up to advise for 2 years renewing terms on the main budget.

5% of budget towards prize based incentives. Allow for public participation via internet based prize proposals...plus charity tax deductions for money donated for prizes.

5-10% for long term projects. Grand challenges. Like life extension, tapping solar system resources etc...

5% to measure and adjust metrics to ensure that the system is not being negatively gamed and that metrics are correct.

Overall probably a flat tax either on income or on purchases. Possibly experiment with different regions to determine best approach and tax levels.

Rest on various aspects of civil defence, healthcare, education etc...

Tom Craver

I would get some advice, but mainly on how to set up a system that doesn't NEED my constant intervention. Markets and voluntary assocations and personal responsibility for the most part.

Of course, I wouldn't be able to resist using funding and prizes to encourage accomplishment of my own pet priorities.

Phillip Huggan

My first instinctive reaction is the same as Tom's. I would divest myself of the power by means of an investment trust dispursing annual purchasing power parity adjusted grants to citizens with modern banking systems, and held in trust for jurisdictions where this is not possible. More realistically, $2 million for a derivatives account would fund most of my interests. $25 to $30 million would saturate the world's most efficient microfinance institutions. I doubt there is anyone on earth qualified to manage a nine figure networth, let alone the position of Permanent Global Emperor.

Mike Treder, CRN

After divesting yourself of the power, Phillip, how can you be sure that another person won't (1) decide s/he is qualified to manage a nine-figure net worth and (2) seek enough power, through MM, to acquire the status of PGE? Before stepping down, can you prevent that?

Phillip Huggan

No, not with any assured degree of certainty. I didn't realize this was in the context of MM. My suggested solution here is to disarm the world of the capability of independantly reaching MM, while transfering proto-assembler administration to a hand-picked/trained group of buddha-ish administrators. In the absence of custom administrators, I would rank all potential national, private and NGO MNT players, and lends my alliance to the administrators who have historically demonstrated the highest degree of foresight and benevolence in their actions (and yet still had a reasonable chance to achieve MNT first).

Mike Deering

"...through MM..."...in the context of MM."

I'm glad you clarified that.

Priority one would be ensuring the continuation of my power into the future.

Priority two would be establishing the greatest welfare and freedoms for each individual.

With regard to broad policy decisions I wouldn't need much advice. I've been around long enough that I have a very developed idea of what is right and wrong.

In matters of detailed implementation I would need a lot of help and advice. I do value established education so a PhD. would be an advantage to getting on one of my advisory boards or in the bureaucracy of implementation. But I also recognize the risk of attitude ossification so I would tend to pick people who have a history of thinking outside the box. And I believe in the value of considering a diversity of opinion so O would have more than one adviser for each specialty. Advisory positions would be frequently changed or strictly term limited.

I'm not sure about the value of public opinion. Once you average out all of the diversity over a population in the billions you are left with only the lowest common denominator of whatever message prevails in the mass media, whether it is true or not. I would ensure the universal right of free speech and encourage criticism of my government. You can learn a lot from your opponents.

If you take the long view of human history I think you can see a steady trend of increasing technology and increasing the scope of centralized government. Government started out with tribal leaders to larger city states to larger near continental governments and soon world government. I think the development of the Singularity technologies of nanotechnology, artificial general intelligence, and molecular biotechnology will inevitably lead to a one world government, probably not democratic. I don't see this as a bad thing. I think most governments and even tyrants want to do good for the people but their resources are strained by having to maintain priority one, staying in power.

Governments rule based on three factors: their available resources, their threats, and their values. With MM a government could quickly establish a world environment with virtually unlimited resources, and no significant threats. Which just leaves the factor of values. The worst situation would be if some group with very bad values were to come to power, such as a religious organization. Given our current established power and technology state I think this is very unlikely. If a non-religious government were to take over such as China or the USA I don't think it would be too bad. I think they both want good things for their people. Their faults can mostly be traced back to limited resources and reactions to threats to their power. They both allow freedoms up to the point where they are not threatening the government. The USA appears more free at the moment because our form of government is not as threatened by free speech but that doesn't mean that our governments core values are better than the Chinese government's.

Phillip Huggan

Looking at human psychology, about 1/2 of a population measure their perceived standard-of-living by looking at their neighbour's grass, a status based approached. The other 1/2 look for objective indicators. It is the former that ruins any MM product distribution system based on current economic formats, relying on a trickle-down approach.
I wasn't previously aware of a key 2/3 threshold in the basic strategy of a Prisoner's Dilemna situation. That is, players in a positive sum system will react to naturally maximize the greater good if they perceive a greater than 2/3 chance they will meet up again.
One "altruism/trust" study indicates that even if individuals are grouped by altruistic tendencies, the most altruistic group members will act only marginally more benevolently for their own grouop's welfare than do the members of the more selfish group. It appears the rules of the system are more important than are individual personalities.
One MM strategy often suggested is to modify individuals and/or track individuals. I think this poses a high risk of tyranny, but at least the species survives in the short-term. Another is to modify the environment, and modify the rules of the system. Umm, at the moment I don't have an administrative system that ensures a potential MM tyrant faces a greater than 2/3 chance of meeting up again with the player to be conquered...

Tom Craver

A fun idea - name a board of advisors consisting of real people representing your views, along with a short reason why you picked them. (Keep it short - people can google them if they want to know more.)

My list so far:

Aubrey de Grey (to drive my life-extension R&D program)

Eric Drexler and Ralph Merkle (to drive my MNT R&D program)

Jerry Pournelle - (to manage my space X-programs and X-prizes, as well as provide a historical/conservative perspective)

Fred Reed - ("Fred on Everything" - no politically correct self-deception for my administration!)

Harry Browne and Jim Babka - (in charge of the massive job of downsizing current governments, and reminding me that government doesn't work.)

George Bush - (Heading up Domesticated Canine Acquisition ;-)

Mike Deering

"George Bush - (Heading up Domesticated Canine Acquisition ;-)"

Oh no! The war on terriers!

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Mike, a very interesting question--thanks for asking it! I'll answer for myself, not for CRN.

The first thing to realize is that vast new resources could be created. The problem is not how to handle existing resource constraints, but how best to create and use new resources and how best to solve human-rights and sociological problems without creating new ones.

I think I'd create several different and diverse commissions to address each of the issues, and encourage ad-hoc and unofficial commissions as well. Each commission would have its ideas published for criticism. Because many problems are urgent, I'd structure the process to produce and evaluate answers in a matter of months, not years. Ultimately, I would want wise people, not domain experts, to make the big policy decisions, once the experts had produced their arguments in a form that reasonably intelligent non-experts could understand.

One of the biggest issues is whether existing entrenched interests are doing more good than harm. This would have to be decided case-by-case. (I'd probably start by scrutinizing interests that currently have special help or regulation from government, such as the AMA, the music industry, the military-industrial complex, and the various education industries. Except in areas of security, I'd want to see diversity and competition.)

Even before the experts weighed in, I would start by giving away a base level of resources, so that no one had to die of hunger, thirst, or exposure. I'd put crash priority on developing a safe food-delivered means of birth control to be included in all base-level food. No one would have to eat it, but those who did would not have kids for a month.

I'd want to investigate the effects of patents and other IP on individual industries. (This is one of the few areas where I might overturn existing "property": for example, I'm pretty sure it would be a good idea to wipe out software patents, because the industry worked fine without them for decades, and they've done a lot of harm. And I'd be strongly tempted to make a fair-compensation eminent-domain "offer they can't refuse" for any copyright that's held by a company that hasn't made much money on it in the past five years, and then put it in the public domain.)

I would probably investigate new ways to generate medical technologies that would reduce the layers of bureaucracy and cost. I probably wouldn't replace the current system--just try to out-compete it. That shouldn't be too hard. Medical researchers don't get rich today, so it should be possible to preserve innovation without such a heavy FDA/patent cost. Anything lifesaving developed under the new low-cost system would presumably be bought out by charities and distributed worldwide at minimal cost.

Education, at least in the US, is disastrous. I'd start by getting the oldest retired educators I could find and putting them in a room with award-winning teachers, and let them advise me on how to construct the commissions.

For the environment, I'd probably look to a different model than commissions. I'd probably try to create a scientific organization that could give best-available answers on whether a situation was reducing resources or diversity unsustainably. With MM, there would be a lot more sensing and computational resources, so some of the big questions would be easier to answer than they are today.

Crime... I don't know who I'd ask. I'd probably interview people from mid-level in each of the major crime-fighting organizations, looking for creative forward-looking people who wanted to minimize the harm done by crime (not just maximize the number of criminals caught) and who had a strong commitment to human rights. Then let them each pick a few more.


Phillip Huggan

My current reading on this subject. Forget MM or AGI... Google is the singularity.

Phillip Huggan

...is the end of the link (it doesn't appear to have copied properly).

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