Re: Quest for trans guide.

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Apr 30 2002 - 15:08:24 MDT

Mike & Donna Deering wrote:
> Questions for the Transition Guide.
> I realize that none of us can answer for the TG with any kind of confidence,
> but I still think it would be instructive to see some of your guesses.
> 1.) Will there be punishments for past crimes? What is the fate of
> death row inmates at the time of the Singularity? What about people not yet
> caught? What about terrorists? Will there be a final day of reckoning?

There is absolutely nothing you can do that will make you "deserve" death.
Or pain. Or so much as a stubbed toe. These are never good things, no
matter who they happen to, even Adolf Hitler. It's an antigoal, a negative
desirability. Nothing that any human being can do, on the part of either
the criminal or the prosecution, will flip that negative desirability to

Punishing crime in a pre-Singularity world makes sense because it
discourages future crimes, either by the individual or by imitators, and
thereby reduces the net total amount of pain in the world.
Post-Singularity, the sole effect of punishment for pre-Singularity crimes
would be to increase the amount of pain. So as far as I'm concerned, my
answer is: "Forget it; revenge is an anthropomorphism." There is never a
point where we can legitimately take pleasure in someone else's pain. Even
present-day society doesn't require hatred to function - just law.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:38 MDT