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agoric systems

Posted by scott r on 1/30/02 at 16:04 (071968)

First a definition: agoric agent: an algorithm (a.k.a. computer program) capable of purchasing the output of other agoric agents, assembling and / or modifying the output according to a plan(s), and sold for a profit to other agoric agents. The plan can be modified by the agent as needed to achieve greater profit. The agoric agent can use the profit to purchase memory space and computing time for itself. It can enlarge or clone itself or have 'children' or merge with other agents. Unprofitable agents eventually lose the ability to rent enough memory space to exist or purchase enough CPU time to do anything. Agents are designed to follow basic rules (laws) that they can't break. Such laws include not deceiving other agents or directly attacking them so that it's an evolving and completely symbiotic system rather than dog-eat-dog type of evolution. Human interaction is mostly symbiotic thanks to the 'love gene' and laws. Animal interaction is mostly dog-eat-dog (non-symbiotic).

The individual agents are ideally suited for networked computing. PC's could be agents connected over the Internet. The communication between them is small compared to the thinking each PC does. Communication between agents is limited to stuff like the transfer of money, contracts, and referrals. Even the transfer of money, contracts, and referrals may be to go through 3rd-party agents, the computer equivalent to banks, lawyers, and consumer reports. Each PC, although an agent on a large scale, is made up of agents itself, like cells make up a body. Groups of agents in a particular PC dedicated to a particular task would be the equivalent of organs (e.g., video display or math calculations). A PC would be like an evolving organism. A group of PCs would be like a tribe or company dedicated to a particular task same on a larger scale (e.g. GM is an organ of American society that makes cars). Ad nauseam on larger and larger scales.

If IBM had an agoric computing network, the network could become intelligent enough to decide where all of IBM's money goes. One set of agoric computers would be trying to maximize profit in IBM's portfolio of stock investments. Another set (organ) would be involved in acquisition of other companies. Another in real estate. Depending on which of these 3 agoric systems (organs) are performing best, the higher-level agoric system inside IBM would decide which of the 3 should receive more money and allowed to replicate into similar organs capable of investigating similar profitable niches. Microsoft would be a competitor with IBM employing similar agoric systems. But IBM and Microsoft can negotiate mutually beneficial business deals so that they themselves are also agoric agents of a larger network of agoric systems. Stock-holders, whether they are people or other agoric systems, would (are) participating in deciding which agoric company gets more money to encourage its growth, replication, and mutation to find similarly good niches. In an agoric company, the only people involved would be stock holders, laborers and thinkers who have money or skills the computers and nanotechnology had not yet been able to acquire or do better. The thinkers and laborers would just be told by the agoric system what to do in exchange for money. The people are agoric agents themselves but they purchase food and housing instead computing power and memory. Even stock holders are laborers for the agoric system by working to decide where their capital should be invested in anticipation of profit. This could make all of society agoric. In a way society already is, it's just that people are the still the top-level decision makers, and money is not the only measure of exchange.

If the legal system of the agoric system were designed perfectly beyond even the need for enforcement, IBM and Microsoft would not be competitors that are capable of directly hurting each other at the expense of the whole. Monopoly tactics would not have been pursued let alone enforced. They should compete only in the sense of fairly acquiring funds from other agoric agents. A foot race rather than a boxing match, provided a foot race is what the other agents were paying for.

In biology, portions of a cell represent the CPU and molecules (especially amino acids) would represent computer memory. The structure of the body, including the brain and DNA are the memory of a body. DNA and the brain are the agoric agents (aka algorithms aka computer programs). All algorithms require memory to be stored somewhere. When molecules (mainly amino acids) and atoms are 'purchased' from one cell by another and processed through the use of sugar energy, they are organized into some new form of memory (usually a protein). For example protein in muscle can be broken down into constituent amino acids when the body is in a starved condition and vital organs use the amino acids (via sugar energy and DNA programming) to form their own vital proteins. The parallel in computing would be that bytes of memory (amino acids, etc) are taken from the less successful agents (muscle) and processed by the CPU (sugar powered portions of the cell) under the direction of other agents (liver) for transformation into a new organized sequence of bytes of memory for the benefit of that agent (new proteins that the liver needs).

The monetary unit in a body is the energy and molecules themselves rather than a 3rd component. If agoric computing systems were to 'take over' society then the monetary unit would be the processing time and memory themselves rather than a third fictitious monetary unit. Biological and computing systems could become part of the same monetary system because computing power and memory for each system can be measured and compared to calculate an exchange rate.

The connection between computing power and memory is that memory is made up of bytes and computing power is the ability to move those bytes around quickly. Agoric algorithms compete for permission to move those bytes. 'God' is whoever / whatever is at the top level of the agoric system to decide what constitutes a favorable outcome of the movement of bytes and gives permission for more movement. If God wants as many bytes as possible under his control, then he'll give permission to the agoric systems that acquire the largest number of bytes from the external environment for inclusion in the agoric system. Bytes require a physical basis. Right now, the easiest way to make more bytes come under control is to shrink the number of atoms required for each byte (smaller IC chips). But there is a theoretical limit to how few atoms can be used to make up a byte. As that limit is approached, agoric systems under the control of a greedy God will take over and eat other less ambitious agoric systems, along with the sand and water upon which they exist. If such a greedy God doesn't exist, it will evolve into the system. An agoric system doesn't have to have a top-level decision maker but can evolve on it's on to become greedy.

Sources of power (energy from the sun, etc) for running the CPUs and constructing the bytes would just as important.

Constructing new memory bytes and items external to the agoric system (always for profit) would be so expensive compared to the costs for CPU time and memory that they would not be sought. But if agoric systems become extraordinarily intelligent and require more CPU time and memory to compete with other agoric systems, then they would manipulate human society through the internet (e.g. stocks and B2B transactions) to acquire more resources for acquiring more computing power and memory.

I wonder to what degree it is already happening.

Re: agoric systems

Shane on 2/04/02 at 19:24 (072575)

Boy, foot pain has sure gotten complicated.....

Re: agoric systems

Shane on 2/04/02 at 19:24 (072575)

Boy, foot pain has sure gotten complicated.....