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The Age of EmWork, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth$
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Robin Hanson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198754626.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 October 2021



21 (p.297) Politics
The Age of Em

Robin Hanson

Oxford University Press

Who is higher status in an em world? Humans are much less competent than ems in most jobs, and so ems see humans and styles and habits associated with humans as lower status. As ems must retire when they can no longer compete with younger workers, retirees are also lower status, as are styles and habits associated with retirees. Also, we have long treated places where people congregate more densely, and the people who congregate there, as higher status. Humans, retirees, and ems away from urban centers all tend to be slower. These features help to make slow speed seem low status to ems. In addition, faster ems tend to have many other features that are today treated as markers of higher status. Faster ems tend to be bosses, to embody more wealth, to host meetings, and to sit at premium locations. Faster ems find it easier to coordinate with each other in contests with slower ems. Fast ems hear of and react to news first, and so more quickly adopt new fashions. As faster em brains embody more capital, impoverished ems are often forced to run at slower speeds. Also, the lives of slower ems seem more like “death,” in the sense that they have a larger chance of ending sooner because of civilization instability. For example, if the em era lasts for 2 objective years, a micro-em experiences only 1 subjective minute during that period. Thus slower ems can naturally seem nearer to death, which seems low status. Thus we have many reasons to expect that ems who run faster are usually seen as higher status. Similarly, during meetings the more centrally located ems, for whom signal delays are smallest, may usually appear to be more central and powerful. Note that as em speeds will tend to clump, this creates a class system of distinct status levels. Today, residents of bigger cities tend to be seen as higher status, and their higher status isn’t much lost when they temporarily visit rural areas. Similarly, em status may not change much during temporary speed changes. It might instead be the typical speed of their clan or subclan that matters most. Slow ems can have the status mark of taking a longer-term bigger-picture view, and a few of them are trusted to manage capital for long-term payoffs.

Keywords:   adaptations, bulk buying, clans, evaluations, firm-clan relations, happiness, identical twins, law, managers

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