Re: On Our Duty to Not Be Responsible for Artificial Minds

From: Thomas Buckner (
Date: Sun Aug 14 2005 - 12:38:56 MDT

--- "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>

> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> >
> > Occasionally, technological accidents, even
> the pursuit of pure science,
> > have resulted in casualties (even civilian
> casualties). Madam Curie
> > comes to mind, giving her friends samples of
> curious glowing radium.
> This was in my memory, but I tried Googling it,
> and I didn't find any
> documentation. Both Madam Curie and her
> husband Pierre did suffer severe
> health effects from radiation (without
> realizing until much later what was
> causing the problem). I cannot find
> documentation of the Curies giving their
> friends samples, or of any ill-effects on the
> health of their friends.
> It is an interesting question whether *pure*
> scientific research (not
> associated with any engineering endeavor) has
> produced any *civilian*
> (non-scientist) casualties since, say, 1900.
> One would expect so, but offhand
> I don't know of any, excluding my apparent
> mismemory of the Curies.

Radium used to be the sort of thing you could
scrape off the dials of a clock
(glow-in-the-dark, if you look in the thrift
shops you can still find them). There were no
controls at all in those days. It's a safe
assumption that the Curies would share samples
and think naught of it. Recall the case of the
Radioactive Boy Scout? Google that, it's recent.
The feds had to haul away the whole shed from his

Tom Buckner

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