Thousand year questions.

I’ve been re-looking at Nick Bostrom’s stuff lately (because apparently
everyone in tech in London did PP&E at Oxford with him…). He’s the guy
with the “we’re all dead” conclusions from Doomsday Argument, the Great
Filter, and the Simulation Argument that you may have heard about. They are
nice arguments and they are classic old school philosophy (which I love)
updated to the modern situation of robots, aliens, and global warming.

The cool perspective that I think is the origin of all the good stuff, is
we live in an optimistic age looking leaps ahead — 100s of years.

So he’s like, OK say it all goes well — what then? What about ethics?
Purpose? What’s real and not real in that age?

It’s a great idea. Basically you take the Collected Works of Aristotle and
re-write them as if you are killing time on your flight to Mars.

This is an awesome idea for a research project for a budding PhD somewhere
— you can make your career in nearly any field by applying that framework
into your field and ginning up a ton of great questions.

In particular I have a bunch of work on “the future of work” — Knotable (, Knotel (, Work Awesome conference June 23 (, the class I teach at Columbia College (
— and it’s an interesting lens for thinking about it.

You could have a whole Institute at a great university that worked on the
Humanities and Social Science problems of the year 2150.

They would be things like:

What is a good life? (When robots do all the work…)

What are our ethical obligations to each other (and animals and robots and
software AIs)?

What is reality, when simulation or multiverses are accessible to anyone?

And so forth: Anthropology (what is a culture, how are they different,
which should we preserve, do they matter….?), Economics (marginal cost =
0 in simulations and so does fixed cost?, monopolies vs. free market
dynamics in markets with no transaction cost, physical/informational
products, scarcity, decision making under radical uncertainty in a Big
World), etc.