A more individualist vision of the singularity

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R.O.S.S.-128 R.O.S.S.-128's picture
A more individualist vision of the singularity

In much of the reading I've done, I've noticed that most views of the singularity/post-singularity tend to be very collectivist. The most common takes on it can generally be put into two categories:

1: State-collective. The government controls the instruments of singularity (the robot labor force, the cornucopia machines, the fusion reactors, etc.). In this version a central government shoulders the responsibility of caring for everyone, essentially becoming a form of God on earth. You obey the government's decrees, it provides you with food, shelter, and everything else you need. For things you just want, you basically pray to the government and if you've built up favor with it, and it determines that what you're asking for is good for you, it will be granted. In optimistic visions the system Just Works(tm), realistically I'm sure I don't have to elaborate on the problems with elevating some humans to an effective position of godhood over others.

2: Anarchist-collective. This is the most common kind of post-singularity seen in Eclipse Phase, and is essentially what Eclipse Phase calls the "new economy". Although there isn't a formal central government, the instruments of singularity are still held collectively. A minimum level of access to collective resources to meet basic needs is nominally guaranteed, but your actual level of access (and possibly the definition of "basic needs" applied to you) depends heavily on your social standing with the collective as a whole. In Eclipse Phase the system generally Just Works(tm), but practically it seems to rely very heavily on a large majority of people being completely selfless and quite happy to play along with the system, two traits humans aren't exactly known for. It also of course relies on raw abundance to brute-force its way through the tragedy of the commons, despite usually being depicted in resource-limited habs and lacking a strong incentive structure to acquire new resources.

What I'd like to discuss is the possibility of bringing post-singularity abundance to the individual. The core premise is that a CM can make anything, including another CM and a power source, given sufficient energy and raw material. Given that ability, any individual with a CM, a power source, and a way to acquire raw material can not only be self-sufficient, but can also replicate these tools to make other people (such as friends and family) self-sufficient too.

The level of self-sufficiency I'm talking about is that anyone can effectively go grab an asteroid and make a mini-hab, or even their own space ship that doubles as a mobile hab for themselves and their family. It's almost like a farmer going out west to grab a plot of land and live off it, except instead of the farm just producing his food, this "farmer" is able to produce everything he could possibly imagine at the push of a button.

How would this individualized singularity look? I'm sure major hubs would still exist for social interaction and facilitate business transactions, but the incentive structure here would generally result in maximum dispersal as people spread out in search of their own source of feedstock. I suppose if confined to the solar system such a system may saturate and start collectivizing eventually, but it would take quite a while before the solar system actually runs out of new resources to exploit. And of course, if humanity is able to actually break out of the solar system it could run quite a long time, though there'd probably be a division between a more individual, expanding frontier and a collectivizing, stagnating core.

What implications do you see if anyone, at any time, can just hop in their ship, fire up their CM, take off into the sunset and live it up? Good, bad, neutral?

End of line.

Panoptic Panoptic's picture
Tension if not outright

Tension if not outright conflict between those who want to go "their own way" and those who band together because of nationalism/ideology/religious beliefs.

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ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
Humans are naturally social

Humans are naturally social and group forming creatures hence the foundation of tribalism and nationalisms that our populations gravitate towards. Sure even in setting an individual can break away and do what ever they want and know no lack but they will not progress outside their natural or enhances skills and intelligence. Basically you get a person who is a high tech equal to I am going to go into the backwoods and live completely off the grid. eternal stagnation

R.O.S.S.-128 R.O.S.S.-128's picture
Individual != Isolation

Being self-sufficient does not preclude forming social groups or enforce isolation. It only means that the group cannot coerce you by threatening to cut off your life support.

There is nothing that says you can't form communities, make friends, or conduct business as like-minded individuals. The main difference between collective singularity and individual singularity is this: in a collective you rely on the promise of your collective to not force you to starve, but as individuals with personal CMs, nobody is capable of starving you in the first place.

You can still have churches, schools, corporations and such. There will be an expansionist drive to seek out and acquire new resources for personal gain, but that is on a purely voluntary basis.

The point here is that just because you can form groups, doesn't mean you have to invest the group with control of the means of production. And putting the means of production into the hands of every individual does not equate to a ban on forming groups.

End of line.

Fenrir Fenrir's picture
It sounds to me like your

It sounds to me like your talking about ringers. (Those people who luve onSaturn's rings): they're self-sufficient, but not loners like the brinkers are.

The trick to the system yiur describing is communities need to be close to each other, with the definition of "close" dwtermined by the soeed of communication. If you're limited to