Re: Opting out of the Sysop scenario?

From: Durant Schoon (
Date: Mon Aug 13 2001 - 16:53:05 MDT

> From: James Higgins <>

[ ... stuff that Brian Atkins replied too ... ]

> >In a VR enhanced society with Friendliness, we can live
> >out our fantasies, whatever they are, in complete safety with respect
> >to other sentient beings. A lowest level prevention mechanism of a
> >physical operating system would prevent one sentient from actually
> >harming another.
> Not exactly.
> Acting out your fantasies might be incredibly difficult. According to the
> suggested rules you can't simulate people in VR. If they are a "real"
> person you are simulating, acting out your fantasies with a simulation of
> them is deemed to violate them. Second, if you create a simulation of a
> person it becomes a citizen, permanently get assigned the computing
> resources you allocated to it and gets its own full volition. Thus you
> can't simulate anything.

Actually I can imagine the situation differently. One way to make a truly
interactive imaginary character would be to create an autonomous, conscious,
free willed software system that has feelings and reacts like a human would.

But another way is to trick yourself into believing that such a creature
exists. You could send your brain (or thinking software if you like) the
stimulation of a character that "as you perceive" acts the way you want.
At ILM we do this all the time. The pixels you see that represent invented
characters are not modelled with internal senses and sensibilities. In VR,
we could try to model these internal states and behaviors, but taken to
the extreme, these "synthespians" would eventually qualify as citizens.
I think the whole thing can be avoided by tricking your brain, instead,
without ever "giving birth" to an actual sentient entity, it would be
pure illusion, pixels flashing, the sensation of your sking being touched,
your hair feeling the wind, without any wind in the first place. Not a
single emotion would be modelled in the other character. It would all
be entirely superficial yet entirely convincing.

> Actually, its more about sealing the human race into a logical cell with no
> way of escape in an emergency.

Hey Brian, guess what? You're currently trapped in your body. You cope.
You get used to it. You can actually enjoy it and not worry that you
are "trapped" (until you can actually upload, that is, and then somato-
paranoia might be helpful).

I guess the difference is that you weren't around before your body
was, on some mailing list speculating on what future "reality" would be
like (well, not that we know of anyway). If you'd had a say back in
the hypothetical then, maybe you could have prevented this entrapment.

As Brian says, you have a choice about living under the sysop or not...
hmm I have to ask a question about that next...

Durant Schoon

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