Re: [sl4] Re: Uploads coming first would be good, right?

From: Johnicholas Hines (
Date: Fri Feb 20 2009 - 12:49:37 MST

Four points:

1. Magic consciousness transfer.

Let me say explicitly again: There is no magical consciousness
transfer. I feel like you're putting words in my mouth, or maybe
you're arguing against someone else.

2. The friends and family test.

Suppose a weather simulation can produce images that can fool people
who have seen weather. Should you base your strategy against global
warming on that weather simulation? I think the answer is no.

Experts might be fooled by the images as well, but if they compare the
simulations' internal data structures and algorithms to real-world
measurements and understanding of weather processes and say "Yes, we
think this is a faithful simulation." then we might reasonably base
our global warming strategy on the simulation.

3. The morality of choosing a compromise.

You repeatedly equate destructive uploading with a non-destructive
scan followed by murder. Compare the situation with animal research.
Suppose a researcher sacrifices animals in order to develop healing
drugs. Is that researcher equivalent to someone who first observes
animals to develop healing drugs and then kill the healthy animals
after they're done? No, the inextricability is relevant. The first
researcher doesn't have the option of developing the drugs and then
leaving the animals alive.

To be completely clear: The difference is that the first person,
choosing an inextricable compromise, is not as evil as the second
person, choosing to kill the healthy animals.

Destructive uploading, as an inextricable technological compromise, is
likely to be developed before non-destructive uploading. Suppose
someone is terminally ill during the period of time that destructive
uploading is available, but not non-destructive uploading. Someone who
advocates destructive uploading as the best of a collection of bad
options is not murdering the person. There is an analogy which could
be drawn, yes. However, "similar" is not the same as "identical", and
advocating waiting to die is also similar to murder.

4. Fatalism.

You paint an unpleasant possible future, where healthy humans are
non-destructively scanned, a wand is waved, and then they are
murdered. Then the (non-faithful) uploads entice the scannee's friends
and family into uploading too. However, you don't seem to advocate any
action toward averting this future. Why not?

For example: Duplication of mature individuals takes some practice to
think about. We could try to popularize the notion that people ought
to identify with both future selves. The point would be to make sure
that people understand that no amount of wand-waving would make the
murder of the biological self okay.

We could popularize the idea that there are lots of programs which
would pass the friends and family test, and yet behave inhumanly in
some important ways.

Simple memes started here can easily spread and change the future.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:01:04 MDT