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An AI or em can utilize division of labor by duplicating itself and having the duplicate learn something else. If the AI is sufficiently advanced, these duplicates will quickly surpass humans at any task imaginable. The humans will hence become useless if the AI places no value on them. If all of these duplicates are dedicated to producing as many paperclips as possible, anything which isn't a paperclip that contains elements that are used in paperclips is a potential source of materials. Human bodies contain carbon and iron, and we consume foods that contain carbon and iron. Both will reduce the AI's maximum output of paperclips.

If the AI quickly surpasses humans in any task imaginable... ie economics... then it would have had to read and understand everything that we humans currently know about economics. If you had read the papers that I linked to, then you would know that we know, and the AI would know, that cognitive diversity is absolutely fundamental to any and all progress. Humans are cognitively diverse. For example, do you attach orchids to trees? Nope. I do though. This difference in activity in no small part reflects difference in thought.

So your scenario falls apart like so...

1. The AI have not quickly surpassed humans (they don't understand the value of cognitive diversity).

2. The AI have quickly surpassed humans (they do understand the value of cognitive diversity)... therefore the "clones" have more cognitive difference than humans do. Which means that they are even less likely to follow in their parent's footsteps (producing paperclips) than human offspring are.

In terms of cognitive diversity... the apple can't fall both close to and far from the tree. If you want to argue that the AI will engineer offspring that will fall close to the tree... then you can't argue that the AI have surpassed humans in economics. But if you want to argue that the AI will engineer offspring that will fall far from the tree... then you can argue that the AI have surpassed (most) humans in economics... but you can't argue that the offspring will have any interest in participating in the family business.

In order to surpass us, any AI would have had to read Adam Smith... the founder of modern economics...

Slaves, however, are very seldom inventive; and all the most important improvements, either in machinery, or in the arrangement and distribution of work which facilitate and abridge labour, have been the discoveries of freemen. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

Of course slaves think differently... so they are cognitively diverse. But they are prevented from acting differently. Therefore, it's very unlikely that their difference will lead to the discoveries that progress is based on.

If an AI can't grasp this fundamentally basic economic concept... then it certainly hasn't surpassed us in modern economics... and we have no reason to fear it any more than we fear any random human.
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