Re: Rationalizing death events (was Inifinite universe)

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Wed Apr 30 2003 - 19:57:53 MDT

On Tuesday, April 29, 2003, at 11:52 PM, Mike Williams wrote:

> It's easy to think of a situation of sacrificing a few lives to save
> many.
> Perhaps a well-armed terrorist group has a nuclear device in the sewers
> under New York, inaccessible to the FAI's resources. Sending in SWAT
> to
> take them out is calculated to result in the loss of 5 good men.
> But that's too easy, try this one. Three people are dying; one from a
> failing heart, two from failed kidneys. A healthy person who happens
> to
> match their blood and tissue types can be sacrificed to save the other
> 3.
> In making this decision, does it matter whether the healthy person is a
> convicted killer and the other 3 are nobel prize winners, or perhaps
> vice
> versa?
> This can go on forever with what-if's, such as, how many monkeys is it
> ok to
> sacrifice in order to save 1 human life? I don't know that there are
> any
> easy answers, but I'm curious as to how a FAI might look at it.

The first two situations should never happen if an FAI is in charge.
If you want to live in a world where those things are possible, you're
going to probably have said no to letting FAI improve your life.

The third is of interest: is it okay to harvest living things for
computronium or even just to let things die through neglect? Is it
okay if some kinds of living things die as a result of an FAI's
decisions but not others? This line of questions is problematic enough
that I suspect any guesses I make right now will have little bearing on
the real answer, so I'll keep them to myself. We'll have to wait for
more accurate understanding of morality (which an FSI will should

Gordon Worley                      "The only way of finding the limits             of the possible is by going beyond                     them into the impossible."
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                    --Arthur C. Clarke

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