Re: Quest for trans guide.

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri May 03 2002 - 14:14:31 MDT

Mike & Donna Deering wrote:
> Eliezer writes:
> >There is absolutely nothing you can do that will make you "deserve" death.
> >Post-Singularity, the sole effect of punishment for pre-Singularity crimes
> >would be to increase the amount of pain.
> >Revenge is an anthropomorphism.
> >There is never a point where we can legitimately take pleasure in someone
> >else's pain.
> I disagree.
> I am sure there are people who deserve death for their crimes.
> I don't advocate revenge, but I believe in the necessity for justice.

What is it that differentiates "justice" from "revenge" if not the
justification of maintaining order in a community?

> I take no pleasure in the administration of justice.

Why continue administering justice after the need for it is gone? Why play
a negative-sum game?

> I don't think the Singularity should be a "Get Out of Jail Free" pass.

I do.

> I don't think I am alone in this position.

I don't think you're alone in this position either. But I do think that
you, and the others who take this position, are wrong. (And since whenever
I say "wrong" I get a small crowd of people demanding a definition, I'll
restate my usual position that "wrong" may be used to betoken at least one
of (a) inconsistency under the speaker's own standards, (b) dependency on a
factually incorrect belief, (c) reliance on an argument such that a third
party would not wish me to listen to arguments of this form.)

> I bet you are real popular with serial killers and child molesters.

Not that I've noticed. But if so, so what? The world's stupidest man can
say the sun is shining, but that doesn't make it dark out. The other six
billion people in the world who aren't on death row may have a higher
priority in my book for most cases, but some things help everyone - and
everyone means *everyone*.

> Maybe you should look to the death row crowd for funding.

Any game-theoretical social order needs punishment of noncooperators in
order to survive. But punishment of nonpunishers, while a *very* powerful
stabilizer, can also stabilize a very wide variety of *bad* social orders,
including dictatorships and social orders where nobody at all is happy. I'd
be inclined to say that punishment of nonpunishers should be considered

Does asking you not to hate really make me hateful? Saying that I'm
harmfully wrong is one thing. But that it makes me a bad person? Do you
really believe that?

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

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