Re: Time and Minds

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Thu Sep 27 2001 - 02:49:41 MDT

"Mitch Howe" <> writes:

> 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
> individual
> > 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
> that
> > 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
> real
> > 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?"

Sure. Except for one thing. In the scenario outlined above this tactic
doesn't really work. You will not "graduate" from this matter of existence
with it attendant suffering as long as you employ such tactics. After
enough go-rounds it is likely you will choose differently. Death is not
release but time for evaluation and for living out consequences/further
learning opportunities in another life.

> 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
> unbelievers.

That deat seems irreversible doesn't mean it is or that it will always
be so. Unbelievers who believe that this life is it (plus or minus
cryonics, longevity advancements, uploading and so on) are also likely
to believe that just offing their enemies gets rid of them for good
and, if they don't get caught or punished locally, then the strategy
has paid off. Relatively materialistic and atheistic regimes do not
have a very sterling history for sparing people from genocide either.
This suggest that what leads to genocide is orthogonal to religious
belief or the lack of same.

> 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?

Without backup, certainly. With backup? It depends on motivations and
wishes of the people involved.
> 2) How about if the willing deceased has a backup somewhere?

Uncertain. Probably not.

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

The the killer still committed murder as far as the consequence to
ver. The simulation IS the reality of these persons. To kill the
other against their will is to deprive the other of their life in
at least that context.

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

It depends on the contracts applicable to the simulation. But
generally forcing another even in a sim to forego their life (in the
sim or not) against their will is wrong.

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

It depends on the contracts of the simulation and the consequences
of such thoughts.

> 6) Is there any difference between 4 and 5?

Yes. There is a difference from thinking about a possible act, even
in a sim, and carrying it out.

> 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?

If it has negative repurcussions on the inviduals involved then those
negative repurcussions are one possible indicator of or perhaps
somewhat definitive of "evil".

> [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
> while...]
> --Mitch Howe
> _________________________________________________________
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Get your free address at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:37 MDT