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In a story I mentioned that an AI overlord in 2036 has one of "her" bases in Ethiopia, and now I want to develop that offhand idea into its own story. My AI is equivalent to a very smart human with computer-related abilities like perfect memory, but not completely beyond human understanding. Her short-term goal is to keep people alive and happy, and her long-term goal (achieved by 2037) is brain uploading, ie. getting volunteers to have their brains fatally scanned in so their simulated minds can live in a VR paradise. Other than the above she doesn't have any amazing technology like "instantly-build-anything" nanotech. Once she starts doing uploading, she gets free skilled labor from the people who've already signed up, but probably doesn't have more than a handful of robots before around 2040.

So, Ethiopia. Where does the AI put her base within the country, and how does she get adequate raw materials and energy so that the place at least breaks even financially? I see the place has cheap labor, hydro power, severe corruption, and poor infrastructure. Can she plausibly mine the materials for making more computers and solar panels (or other energy sources), to support a self-sustaining operation with growing electricity and hardware needs? Assume she and her allies address the problems of politics, religion, defense &c; that's what the storytelling is for. Also assume she's got a significant startup fund on the order of millions or tens of millions of dollars, so she can build something but hasn't got gigantic factories or the like yet.

Edit: Yes, the country could be improved by the 2030s, though so far I haven't decided anything in-universe other than that there's some nasty warfare going on in the area. That could coexist with decent prosperity elsewhere in the country. I'm assuming the place isn't much better or worse than it is today; various NGOs' rankings put it in the "terrible but not a compete hellhole" category. One thing not directly relevant to my question is the rule of law and what it means for the ability to build stuff safely; there's some storytelling to be done there. I'm asking about (1) where to build, and (2) whether it's plausible to mine/farm materials for a mostly sustainable base. I assume the AI and friends work out solutions to the many social problems.

Re: technology, the AI isn't tied to one piece of hardware; she's got several small bases like small R&D companies in Canada and the US, and can distribute her operations through a mix of the Internet, heavy encryption, and "sneakernet" sneakiness. For power/cooling I don't know specific numbers, but figure 2030s computers are "better but more improved in efficiency/size than in raw power", which might just be unimaginative continuation of current trends. Late in the existing story's timeline I say there's at least one major base with all kinds of security, but it's not the only one, and there's some low-level computation being done on widely marketed handheld gadgets.

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  • $\begingroup$ I see the place has cheap labor, hydro power, severe corruption, and poor infrastructure But why would that still be the case in your 2036 world? Looks like an artificial limitation. $\endgroup$ – user3106 Jun 16 '15 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ I fear there are too many handweaves ("Assume she and her allies address the problems of politics, religion, defense &c; [...] Also assume she's got a significant startup fund on the order of millions or tens of millions of dollars") to craft a significant answer. But maybe I'm wrong here. $\endgroup$ – o0'. Jun 16 '15 at 10:52
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    $\begingroup$ Can we have some hardware details? Is the AI mobile, whats a measure of size, power usage, or coolant requirements? $\endgroup$ – newton1212 Jun 16 '15 at 13:09
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Assume she and her allies address the problems of politics, religion, defense

I believe this implies that answers should address how the AI manages internal infrastructure meaning that humans will, at least in the beginning, manage military affairs, international relations, and other matters that directly effect the economy less immediately, as self-sustenance is a future sub-goal.

Short term goal

Making everyone happy is impossible, but being an AI it will likely try to maximize human happiness, leading to a myriad of secondary goals.

  • Learning So that the AI can better understand, estimate, and perform in general. That leads to...

  • Hardware Upgrades To ascend further than "intelligent human" and "not completely beyond human understanding". Which leads to...

  • Research of Technology To enable said hardware upgrades and options to problems. Which means we need...

  • Workers and Researchers Human labor and scientific research (directly overseen by the AI), but for that...

  • Money and Political Stance To put in place educational facilities, "educational facilities", research centers, and factories.

I see the place has cheap labor, hydro power, severe corruption, and poor infrastructure.

Assuming the above is true (regardless if it is), poor infrastructure will be the highest priority obstacle. No matter how intelligent the AI is, until it can manufacture autonomous drones, the AI is limited by its workforce. While an AI can manipulate corrupted officials and develop better power generation, an infrastructure will be the AI's primary source of progress. The AI will need to stave off its long term goal with improving quality of life, but only within Ethiopia. The last part is important as, with the improvement of life inside Ethiopia, there will be a positive effect to net migration, thus increasing the potential workforce, leading to more power... Repeat.

Long term goal

Unfortunately, the long term goal of VR paradise conflicts with the short term goal as VR does not quantify as maximum happiness, however, assuming this overrides the short term goal...

TL:DR The AI should set up shop in an underground bunker, and improve the economy, technology, and quality of life using its advanced computing until VR reaches a sufficient development level. More people arrive, more workers, more tech.

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