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Comment author: MrMind 09 March 2017 03:37:56PM 0 points [-]

I'm just saying that a coordinating AI seems an obvious evolution, I was told just yesterday by one of my coworker that machine learning systems for the automatic checking of complex regulations are already used profitably.
Anyway, if the charter itself is the focal point of the story, by all mean delve into organizational science. Just don't forget that, when writing science fiction, it's very easy to descend into info-dumping.

Comment author: DataPacRat 09 March 2017 07:48:56PM 0 points [-]

an obvious solution

I've been skimming some of my setting-idea notes, such as 'algorithms replacing middle-managers' and have realized that, for a certain point of the planned setting, you've highlighted an approach that is likely to be common among many other people. However, one of the main reasons for my protagonist's choice to try relying on himselves is that AIs which optimize for various easy-to-check metrics, such as profitability, tend not to take into account that human values are complex.

So there are likely going to be all manner of hyper-efficient, software-managed organizations who, in a straight fight, could out-organize my protagonist's little personal co-op. Various copies of my protagonist, seeing the data, will conclude that the costs are worth the benefits, and leave the co-op to gain the benefits of said organizational methods. However, this will cause a sort of social 'evaporative cooling', so that the copies who remain in the co-op will tend to be the ones most dedicated to working towards the full complexity of their values. As long as they can avoid going completely bankrupt - in other words, as long as there's enough income to pay for the hardware to run at least one copy that remains a member - then the co-op will be able to quietly chug along doing its own thing while wider society changes in various values-simplifying ways around it.

... That is, if I can do everything that such a story needs to get done right.

Comment author: MrMind 07 March 2017 08:15:04AM 0 points [-]

I still don't understand why it has to be a charter instead of, say, an AI that can react to change and update itself on new information.

Comment author: DataPacRat 08 March 2017 05:23:04AM 0 points [-]

Because I am actually reasonably capable of creating some sort of actual charter that actually exists, and apply it to a scenario based on minor extrapolations of existing technologies that don't require particularly fundamental breakthroughs (ie: increased computer power; increased understanding of how neural cells work, such as is being fiddled with in the OpenWorm project; and increased resolution of certain scanning technology). I wouldn't know where to begin in even vaguely describing "an AI that can react to change and update itself on new information", and if such a thing /could/ be written, it would nigh-certainly completely derail the entire scenario and make the multi-self charter completely irrelevant.

Comment author: moridinamael 06 March 2017 04:36:07PM 0 points [-]

In lieu of coming up with a creative solution to your problem, I will relate how Hannu Rajaniemi solves this problem in the Quantum Thief books, particular for the group called the Sobornost. (Spoilers, obviously.) There are billions (trillions?) of copies of certain individuals, and each copy retains self-copying rights. Each copy knows which agent forked it (who its "copyfather" is), and is programmed to feel "religious awe" and devotion to its specific line of descent. So if you found yourself spawned in this world, you would feel strong awe and obedience for your copyfather, even stronger awe and obedience for your copygrandfather, and ultimate devotion to the "original" digital version of yourself (the "prime"). This policy keeps everyone in line and assists in conflict resolution, because there's always a hierarchy of authority among the copies. This also allows small groups of copies to go off and pursue a tangential agenda with trust that the agenda will be in line with what the prime individual wanted.

Comment author: DataPacRat 06 March 2017 05:23:38PM 0 points [-]

It's an interesting solution, but the ability to edit the AIs to reliably feel such emotions is rather further in the future than I want to focus on; I want to start out by assuming that the brain-emulations are brute-force black-box emulations of low-level neural processes, and that it'll take a significant amount of research to get beyond that stage to create more subtle effects.

That said, I /do/ have some notes on the benefits of keeping careful track of which copies "descend" from which, in order to have a well-understood hierarchy to default back onto in case some emergency requires such organization. I've even considered having 'elder' copies use a set of computational tricks to have kill-switches for their 'descendants'. But having spent some time thinking about this approach, I suspect that an AI-clan which relied on such a rigid hierarchy for organizing their management structure would be rapidly out-competed by AI-clans that applied post-paleolithic ideas on the matter. (But the effort spent thinking about the hierarchy isn't wasted, as it can still serve as the default basis for legal inheritance should one copy die, and as a default hierarchy in lifeboat situations with limited resources of the AI-clan hasn't come up with a better system by then.)

Comment author: MrMind 06 March 2017 04:54:03PM 0 points [-]

That is an objection that is only valid for a story happening in a time near to us. But, as you say:

However, by the time that happens, enough evidence about organizational science will have been gathered for the founding charter to have been amended into unrecognizability

and nobody out there can possibly know their own field hundreds of years in the future. I state my case: handwave everything and concentrate on the story.

Comment author: DataPacRat 06 March 2017 05:12:11PM 0 points [-]

I believe I may have phrased that quoted part poorly. Perhaps, "... long before the time the copies diverge enough to want to split into completely separate groups, they would likely have already learned enough about the current state-of-the-art of organizational theory to have amended the charter from its initial, preliminary form into something quite different". I didn't mean to imply 'hundreds of years', just a set of individuals learning about a field previously outside their area of expertise.

Comment author: TimS 06 March 2017 02:52:59PM *  0 points [-]

I suspect your proposed charter is practically impossible for you to write. If is was possible for one charter document to scale up and down the way you suggest, then we should expect it to already exist and be in use. After all, people have been writing charter documents for a long time.

In the real world, charter don't survive in their original form all that long. To pick an example I am familiar with, the US Constitution was ratified in 1789. Fourteen years later, in 1803, the Supreme Court interpreted the document to allow judicial review of whether statutes complied with the Constitution. You'll have to take my word for it, but whether judicial review was intended by the drafters of the US Constitution is controversial to this day.

It is pretty clear that the drafters would have been surprised by the degree of judicial intrusiveness in implementing policy, just as they would be surprised by how much the US has grown in economic size and political power since the Constitution was drafted.

Comment author: DataPacRat 06 March 2017 04:28:52PM 0 points [-]

the Constitution

If we're going for American political parallels, then I'm trying to put together something that may be more closely akin to the Articles of Confederation; they may have been replaced with another document, but their Articles' details were still important to history. For a more modern parallel, startup companies may reincorporate at various times during their spin-ups and expansions, but a lot of time they wouldn't need to if they'd done competent draftwork at the get-go. Amendment, even unto outright replacement, is an acknowledged fact-of-life here; but the Founder Effect of the original design can still have significant consequences, and in this case, I believe it's worth doing the work to try to nudge such long-term effects.

That said - in the unlikely event that it turns out to be impossible to assemble a charter and bylaws that do everything I want, then I can at least put together something that's roughly equivalent to the Old Testament in the sense of being "a stream-of-consciousness culture dump: history, law, moral parables, and yes, models of how the universe works", to serve as enough of a foundational document to allow the AI copies to maintain a cohesive subculture in much the way that Rabbinical Judaism has over the centuries.

Comment author: MrMind 06 March 2017 01:46:26PM 0 points [-]

Well, if this charter is important for the story, then you should tweak the future organizational science so that it points in the direction you want to. If otherwise it's not, then why not hand-wave it?

Comment author: DataPacRat 06 March 2017 04:15:13PM 2 points [-]



Just because I don't currently know the details of the relevant bits of organizational science doesn't mean somebody around here doesn't already know them. Just because I can't do the math as easily as I could for rocket science is no excuse to try to cheat how reality functions.

Comment author: MrMind 06 March 2017 10:06:08AM 1 point [-]

Are the personalities of the sub-copies allowed to evolve on their own? If this is true, given enough time there would be very little difference between a society of people following from the same source and a society of individual that were born from different parents, so you would require no special treatment of the subject.

Comment author: DataPacRat 06 March 2017 10:21:54AM 1 point [-]

Are the personalities of the sub-copies allowed to evolve on their own?

Yes, the copies are expected to diverge to that degree, given sufficient time. However, by the time that happens, enough evidence about organizational science will have been gathered for the founding charter to have been amended into unrecognizability. That's not the period of development I'm currently focusing on.

so you would require no special treatment of the subject.

If by 'no special treatment' you mean 'an existing co-op's charter and by-laws could be copied, have the names search-and-replaced, and they'd be good to go', I disagree; the fact that the copies can make further copies of themselves, and that the copies can be run at extremely different speeds, adds a number of wrinkles to such topics as defining criminal responsibility, inheritance, and political representation, just for starters. That said, I'm perfectly willing to save myself as much effort as is possible by importing any existing pieces of charters or bylaws which don't need further tweaking, if anyone can point me to such.

Comment author: DataPacRat 06 March 2017 06:36:21AM 2 points [-]

Writing Scifi: Seeking Help with a Founding Charter

I'm trying to figure out which details I need to keep in mind for the founding charter of a particular group in a science-fiction story I'm writing.

The sci-fi bit: The group is made up of copies of a single person. (AIs based on a scan of a human brain, to be precise.)

For example, two copies may have an honest disagreement about how to interpret the terms of an agreement, so having previously arranged for a full-fledged dispute-resolution mechanism would be to the benefit of all the copies. As would guidelines for what to do if a copy refuses to accept the results of the dispute-resolution, preliminary standards to decide what still counts as a copy in case it becomes possible to edit as well as copy, an amendment process to improve the charter as the copies learn more about organizational science, and so on. The charter would likely include a preamble with a statement of purpose resembling, "to maximize my future selves' ability to pursue the fulfillment of their values over the long term".

The original copy wanted to be prepared for a wide variety of situations, including a copy finding itself seemingly all alone in the universe, or with a few other copies, or lots and lots; which may be running at similar, much faster, or much slower speeds; with none, a few, or lots and lots of other people and AIs around; and with or without enough resources to make more copies. So the charter would need to be able to function as the constitution of a nation-state; or of a private non-profit co-op company; or as the practical guidelines for a subculture embedded within a variety of larger governments (ala the Amish and Mennonites, or Orthodox Jews, or Romany). Ideally, I'd like to be able to include the actual charter in an appendix, and have people who understand the topic read it, nod, and say, "Yep, that'd do to start with."

At the moment, I'm reading up on startup companies, focusing on how they transition from a small team where everyone does what seems to need doing into more organized hierarchies with defined channels of communication. But I'm sure there are important details I'm not thinking of, so I'm posting this to ask for suggestions, ideas, and other comments.

So: What can you, yourself, suggest about writing such a charter; and where else can I learn more about authouring such texts?

Thank you for your time.

Comment author: Davidmanheim 23 February 2017 07:03:56PM 0 points [-]

Very true - see the more explicit parallels to ecosystems in my earlier piece on scaling companies; www.ribbonfarm.com/2016/03/17/go-corporate-or-go-home/

It explains why companies need to end up bureaucratic when they scale, and on the way it talks about the analogy to living systems in various ways.

Comment author: DataPacRat 24 February 2017 06:23:45AM 0 points [-]

If I may ask, do you have a preferred email address through which I can ask you some questions which wouldn't quite work out as comments to the blog-post?

Comment author: MrMind 05 December 2016 03:48:17PM 0 points [-]

I was talking about the meta-level, and your meta-level question was "Have I made the appropriate preparations?" to which I answered: no, the biggest improvement is if you prioritize depression treatment over any other.

That said, on the object level, if you have that goal, then you would try anything sensible-sounding and any combination of anything sensible until something works.
But I cannot tell you what is sensible because I'm not an expert on depression.

Comment author: DataPacRat 05 December 2016 09:35:57PM 0 points [-]

if you have that goal, then you would try anything sensible-sounding and any combination of anything sensible until something works.

I have had that goal for some time. I have tried the sensible-sounding things, in various combinations. They didn't work. So I've been shifting my focus from "trying to keep depressive bouts from happening" to "managing my life on the assumption I'm going to keep getting depressive bouts". I've hit enough such management tricks that even with my bout last week interrupting, I'm about 60,000 words into writing a novel, including 1600 words yesterday; I could be doing better, sure, but I could be doing a lot /worse/, too.

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