Re: Time and Minds

From: Mitch Howe (
Date: Wed Sep 26 2001 - 22:53:11 MDT

Samantha Atkins wrote:

> Say we develop> a Friendly SI. As part of its working definition of
friendliness > let us suppose this SI believes in the self-determination of
> sentient creatures. Ve believes this at least to the extent of not
> simply rewiring those whose current wiring and mindset makes miserable
> and/or prone to violence and other forms of suffering. What can be done?
> As I have suggested before, one thing that can be done is to so arrange
> things that said sentients can work out all of their kinks and problems
> taking however long it takes. When they destroy one another either the
> destruction takes place in a simulation that the actors do not know is
> a simulation (or will not believe it is) or the actors are so well backed
> up that they can be resurrected or "reincarnated" as many times as needed
> to learn better ways of being and/or be open to some "rewiring". In my
> opinion any Friendly SI that comes into being with coexistent lesser
> sentients will hit on some variant of this solution. Far from showing
> the SI to be uncaring, relative non-intervention and allowing the world
> to look like it needs to for the level of beings inhabiting it might be
> the very essence and utterly necessary manifestation of caring. ...
> ...It is possible that making it too obvious this is a simulation or
> there is an SI would ruin the particular learning environment we currently
> inhabit. So we get only hints, guesses, supposedly ancient truths
> buried in myths and seeming tall tales and so on....
> ....If we are in a sim then the pain and death are no more ultimately
> than getting fragged in Quake. Except in Quake you aren't fully wired
> in.

The real can of worms this theory opens up is the "kill em all and let Sysop
(God) sort em out" mentality that the frightened and intolerant have used
throughout history. Most religions today have at least some elements of
death-as-release, and certain individuals or groups have always chosen to
use these as justification for ending the lives of others -- despite the
obvious prohibitions against murder in these same belief systems. "I'm not
just doing the world a favor by killing you, I'm doing YOU a favor! Now
show some gratitude, will ya?"

Of course, the proven remedy to such blatant misuse of religion is to say
that the beliefs of others must be respected, and since there can be no
proof-based consensus on life after death, people shouldn't take chances
with it or have to worry about others who do. If nothing else, death seems
pretty irreversible. I wonder if anyone, spared from inquisition or
genocide thanks to religious freedoms, ever thinks to thank God for

Some questions to consider:

1) If both a killer and a soon-to-be corpse are of the same mindset that
death is good, is it really murder?

2) How about if the willing deceased has a backup somewhere?

3) How about if this killer only thinks he has killed the person, when in
fact it is all a simulation?

4) ...And if the killer DID know it was a simulation?

5) How about if this killer had merely thought about killing the person, but
never made any preparations or acted upon it?

6) Is there any difference between 4 and 5?

I'm not well versed enough in eastern religions to say for sure how they
might respond, but I know that Jesus claimed that comitting evil one's heart
is as bad as reinacting it physically. Is there even any evil in these
scenarios? What would a friendly Sysop think? Or do?

[Yes, I do realize that Friendliness vs. Volition in a Sysop context has
already been speculated upon at length in this forum, but hey, it's been a

--Mitch Howe

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