Safe, Unsafe and Universal Singletons

Bostrom defines a Singleton as follows:

A world order in which there is a single decision-making agency at the highest level. Among its powers would be (1) the ability to prevent any threats (internal or external) to its own existence and supremacy, and (2) the ability to exert effective control over major features of its domain (including taxation and territorial allocation).

Many singletons could co-exist in the universe if they were dispersed at sufficient distances to be out of causal contact with one another. But a terrestrial world government would not count as a singleton if there were independent space colonies or alien civilizations within reach of Earth.

The key thing that’s interesting about Singletons is their effective internal control and ability to prevent internal threats.

Therefore I think we should distinguish three kinds of Singleton:

  • Safe Singleton: effective internal control; prevents internal and external threats.
  • Unsafe Singleton: effective internal control; prevents internal threats.
  • Universal Singleton: effective internal control; prevents internal threats; occupies the entire Universe.

When a Safe Singleton encounters an Unsafe Singleton, it destroys or absorbs it.

A Universal Singleton can’t, by definition, be subject to external threats.

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