Re: Deliver Us from Evil...?

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Mar 24 2001 - 14:50:40 MST

"Christian L." wrote:

> All interaction between humans includes various degrees of coercion; from
> suggestion to persuation to brute force. Where do you draw the line?

BS. If you don't know the difference between an intellectual argument
for an action and being physically forced to take an action then I am
afraid I can't help you. The line is drawn at forcing an entity to take
an action whether it chooses to or not. This includes threatening to
kill or harm the entity if it does not take the action. Now the
"physical" bit is a tricker if we are all in upload land.

> My original question was meant as a retorical one. The point is, with a
> subjective definition of "evil", there cannot be a uniform set of rules that
> will "end all evil" as defined here.
> I fail to see the need for discussing concepts like good, evil, morality or
> ethics at all, or how a Power/SI would relate to them.

This seems like a very limited and inhuman[e] view. If there is no
ethics then there are no guiding principles to your actions, no
abstraction of what is truly in your self-interest longterm or not and
every decision governing whether to take an action is utterly
seat-of-the-pants at that moment. You also cannot depend on any context
for the actions of others as they will make their own seat-of-the-pants
(pls excuse physical metaphors) decisions moment by moment. There can
be no level of trust.

>Ethics seem to be
> little more than rules set up by humans in order to maintain a fairly stable
> society. I don't see how that can have any meaning in the post-Singularity
> world or even in the last years leading up to the Singularity.

What, the need goes away for stable associations of entities? How so?
The need for stable associations and for governing primary ethical
principle if anything increases as the entities get more powerful and
capable of greater harm and as the interactions and activities get
orders of magnitude more complex.

- samantha

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