Re: ethics

From: Phillip Huggan (
Date: Sat Dec 17 2005 - 12:16:45 MST

Sorry, my post was crap. I never presented any argument beyond circular reasoning for *why* we shouldn't just slice and dice Nemo. A RPOP would need less energy to merely feed an already existing human, cure a brain tumour, immortalize somatic cells, etc, than ve would to assemble a new better person from scratch. Efficiency would dictate we would not be steamrolled.
  I was making a garbled attempt to expose two very different ethics, the correct one to apply depends on whether or not we have a shot at an infinite energy source. And I was also confusing the process of human utilitarianism with the functions of a RPOP.
  To make the world better, humans need diversity. RPOP doesn't need anything but a goal structure and matter/energy. Two strictly identical persons are inferior to two separate skill sets. So I was against the idea of AGI tiling because it seems to indicate a maximum universal quality-of-living plateau will be found and then maintained until the end of time. This would indicate the sum total of all man years in the present and future is finite. But if there really might be a (dangerous) energy source out there that is abundant or efficient, the correct course of ethics is to bask in our inferior energy source for as long as possible, and then take a shot at "fountain-of-youth". However we might miss out entirely on this shot if the AGI is programmed only to tile and to ignore this possibility. If an AGI is programmed to maximize a finite value, it won't process the infinity.
    Consider an island slowly falling into the ocean. For the inhabitants, the ethics really should be subjective and selfish. Now consider the same island rising from the ocean. Human rights emerge as a possibility. If we pollute our immediate surroundings with AGI-tiled (better) energy rivals, we have turned what appeared to be a positive sum ethical environment into a zero-sum free for all game of machivellian survival.
  "All great things bring about there own destruction through an act of self overcoming". They don't get saved by AGI. Beyond providing physical sustinence essentials, I don't see how else an AGI can really help us.

  Jef Allbright <> wrote:
  On 12/16/05, Phillip Huggan wrote:
> In the absence of conscious entities in the universe, morality is relative.
> But as soon as one little fishy exists, actions within the future light-cone
> of fishy Nemo acquire a moral framework (in as far as the actions affect
> Nemo). We can deduce this by our own conscious 1st hand appreciation of the
> faculties of pleasure and pain (in all forms we experience them as). With
> these faculties our actions become moral, as far as our engineering prowess
> extends across sentient entities in existence. The asymetric way we should
> value entities in existence much more highly than seemingly identical (and
> often superior) entities we could create, is because: In the absence of
> conscious entities in the universe, morality is relative.
> Ethical behaviour does not apply to the sum total of all present and
> future conscious entities in our future light-cone. It only applies to the
> sum total of all present consc! ious entities in our future light-cone. If
> an AGI kills us to make room for one trillion humans, and then creates the
> humans, the correct future ethical judgement of AGI's actions would be based
> upon how well the AGI served those trillion human's needs. But the initial
> act of killing us off could never be correctly justified because at the time
> just before the AGI's murder rampage, us 6 billion humans formed the only
> objective metric by which AGI's actions could be judged (also animals too).
> 5 billion years ago, tiling earth with orgasmium would have been fine.
> But as soon as Nemo appeared, it became necessary for an AGI to consider the
> well-being of Nemo if the AGI was to really be classified as "friendly".
> Now in the 21st century a friendly AGI could only be justified in
> sacrificing us humans under very extraordinary circumstances.

I propose that this post, sincere in its intent, dense in its
references to philosophical concepts, and intractable in its
semantics, be used to test the capabilities of our future platform for
untangling, disambiguating and elucidating such discussion.

- Jef

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