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ghost



Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Posts: 76
Location: Amarica/Minnesota

PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:28 am    Post subject: life Reply with quote

I know we have talked about this before, but What should we do when confronted by a new life-form, such as the tachecomas?

In gits first season the tachecomas became self-aware, and the first thing the major did was send them back to the factory for reaserch and disasembly.

OKAY here's my point, what are we (the world) going to do with this new life? And what about the inherint Rights this life-form should or would have?

And who is to diside when a life-form is really a life-form and not just a calection of curcits?
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Animae



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no such thing as inherent or natural rights; rights are just something we have created to our convenience. The main issues with you’re your questions is that you don’t define life. This definition must be objectively viable and something which can be generally agreed and does not contradict any other knowledge. The most valid way to do so would be a scientific definition as it could be somewhat free from culture and believes.

One potential solution to the rights problem could be to include other life forms in our rights by simply universalizing the UN convention of Human rights. Just change all references to humans with “conscious entities”.
That does however have the flaw that we don’t have any definition for consciousness either.
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james_sb



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
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Location: Dublin, Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well they may not look like humans but we could just treat them the same as we do other people.

We already only expierence life from our own point of view. If we can treat other people well with this handicap, then the same applies to anything.

For a while there may be the 'black' or the 'jew' type discrimination, but we'll get past that and get on living.

Really I don't think it will be a big deal in this aspect. More the practicalities will be the issues with higher densities of population.
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douyang



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe there are such things as natural rights. They may never be able to be real in the same sense as natural laws or things in the objectively physical universe, but they exist nonetheless, and are the same regardless of what anyone thinks of them. This is not to say mine or anyone else's idea of what those rights are or how to best go about deciding what they are is perfect. But without natural rights that are completely independent of anyone's opinion, there is no such thing as morality or truth based off of values; or any basis for government or authority or the legitimacy of anything.

For me, life is defined as the existence of some kind of mind or consciousness, especially one that allows something to experience happiness and suffering. A sentient being would be one that can think, feel, and experience happiness and suffering (this can be mental or physical) on a comparable or greater level than humans can, and is not only self-aware but conscious of being a distinct entity with its own personality and identity. I think such beings should be recognized to possess the same rights, freedoms, and responsibilities as one of us.
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Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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Location: Plato's Cave Weapon of Choice: Sarcasm

PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, not that i would recommend this attitude but at one end of the range of ways we could deal with a new intelligence* would be Facism. There's a twisted sort of logic to it if we are 'in it for the species' and humanity is the hometeam then it makes sense to keep a new intelligence in check if we can and threat of their death/destruction would be the most effective way of doing that, taking the tachikoma as an example, would the government really allow a chaingun wielding AI loose without the ability to destroy it? after all, according to a facist viewpoint, violence is the ultimate authority from which we get all other authority**. In essense we were here first so they do what we say or we destroy their ass.

At the other more liberal end of the scale would be IMO*** some form of Utilitarianism for the benefit of both the new intelligence and the old as one indistinguishable group.

It all comes down to at what level you want to include yourself as a stakeholder in the system. In the same way that a racially predudiced facist mindset can be adopted by someone who considers themselves to be a part of a system at the level of just their race e.g. 'in it for the caucasians', someone could be at the less intergrated level of 'in it for the tribe' or someone could conceivably be 'in it for the species'. Taking this to the extreme you could have the ultimate in alturism concerning any new form of life and mutually work towards what is best for all forms of intelligence because you are part of the same system, the all out of the one, and the one out of the all.



* presumably of similar intelligence to us, I can't see too many people getting choked up over our mistreatment of the intelectual equivilent of a piece of mold

** See. US millitary expenditure or why countries with smaller authority on an international stage are now scrabbling for nuclear tech.

*** It's more a matter of opinion at what the most free way to deal with a new form of intelligence is, whereas facism is pretty much the definitive way of forcibly restricting one group for the benifit of another, even on an individual level.

<WARNING: This Post was made under the influence of vodka>
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Last edited by Elmo on Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:12 am; edited 2 times in total
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Animae



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_sb wrote:
Well they may not look like humans but we could just treat them the same as we do other people.

We already only expierence life from our own point of view. If we can treat other people well with this handicap, then the same applies to anything.

For a while there may be the 'black' or the 'jew' type discrimination, but we'll get past that and get on living.

Really I don't think it will be a big deal in this aspect. More the practicalities will be the issues with higher densities of population.

Why? On what basis should we treat them as people? Perhaps you should ask yourself why you treat people the way you do. I think it is reasonable to treat things in accordance to what they are.
Discrimination is something that starts to get interesting (in an ethical argument sense) when you start to apply it on beings with similar capabilities as us, and gets even deeper (and messier as well) when we introduce “value” to species.
The value part is especially interesting because a design can’t be “superior” or “inferior”, a way to see it is that there simply is no universal currency for the values thus it’s not possible to compare species (not apples to apples anyway).

douyang wrote:
I believe there are such things as natural rights. They may never be able to be real in the same sense as natural laws or things in the objectively physical universe, but they exist nonetheless, and are the same regardless of what anyone thinks of them. This is not to say mine or anyone else's idea of what those rights are or how to best go about deciding what they are is perfect. But without natural rights that are completely independent of anyone's opinion, there is no such thing as morality or truth based off of values; or any basis for government or authority or the legitimacy of anything.


Then tell me what these natural rights are, and as they must have been conceived by someone how can you so arrogantly claim them to be “completely independent of anyone’s opinion”?

douyang wrote:
For me, life is defined as the existence of some kind of mind or consciousness, especially one that allows something to experience happiness and suffering. A sentient being would be one that can think, feel, and experience happiness and suffering (this can be mental or physical) on a comparable or greater level than humans can, and is not only self-aware but conscious of being a distinct entity with its own personality and identity. I think such beings should be recognized to possess the same rights, freedoms, and responsibilities as one of us.


A cliché, or perhaps just an overwhelming déjà vu, something I have heard a thousand times before yet never I never knew its source.
No offence Douyang, but obviously you have not put much thought to what you just said. Self awareness requires identity and emotions?
I think you are making a slight error of logic.
Feel free to point out if I am making any kind of mistakes on my side. My interpretation of your logic is:

A is an B therefore A=B
This is obviously fallacious

Example:
Humans are mammals therefore humans and mammals are the same thing.
Or in your case:
Humans are conscious therefore being conscious is the same thing as being human.
Or perhaps it is simply that you assume them to be the same thing as a premise, which would be dogmatic to say the least.
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Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Posts: 219
Location: Plato's Cave Weapon of Choice: Sarcasm

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Animae wrote:

Then tell me what these natural rights are, and as they must have been conceived by someone how can you so arrogantly claim them to be “completely independent of anyone’s opinion”?


Natural rights don't have to be conceived by anyone, that's kinda' the whole point. Natural rights are universal rights that are seen as inherent in the nature of the world or in the nature of the entity they refer to*, and not contingent on human actions or beliefs. e.g. a carnivore's right to eat meat. According to that philosophy humans also have natural rights** this is a view that has been taken by quite a few signigicant philisophical thinkers, Locke, Hobbes & Kant for example.

One major example of this thinking is Locke’s influence that included natural rights in the US Declaration of Independence, The Declaration of Independence based natural or 'unalienable rights' on human nature, stating that it was 'self-evident' that human beings by their very nature seek life, liberty, and happiness. the right of human beings to follow their nature as a natural right not given by government to be used aganist them. Since it is unavoidable for a thing to follow their nature, it becomes a right to do so.

Personally I'm not sure where i stand on natural rights, it sounds to me as though it may be confusing the 'ability' to do something with the 'right' to do it. Confused But IMO it does have a part to play in how we can treat this new intelligence, although probably not in the sense that douyang intended it...

If as in the tachikoma's case we create this new form of intelligence then we define it's nature, we make it as a tool, tools are made to be used, therefore it's in this new life's natural rights to be humanity's slave.
(ok, a bit of playing devil's advocate there.. Twisted Evil )




*It helps if you think of this 'nature' of something as being sort of like Plato's forms or the Taoist concept of the 'tao' of a thing. The nature of something is all that it is to be that thing and every instance of the thing reflects it's nature. To force something to act outside this nature is supposedly to be discarding natural rights.

**As does our hypothetical new form of life.
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Last edited by Elmo on Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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ghost



Joined: 20 Feb 2006
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Location: Amarica/Minnesota

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Animae wrote:
There is no such thing as inherent or natural rights; rights are just something we have created to our convenience. The main issues with you’re your questions is that you don’t define life. This definition must be objectively viable and something which can be generally agreed and does not contradict any other knowledge. The most valid way to do so would be a scientific definition as it could be somewhat free from culture and believes.

One potential solution to the rights problem could be to include other life forms in our rights by simply universalizing the UN convention of Human rights. Just change all references to humans with “conscious entities”.
That does however have the flaw that we don’t have any definition for consciousness either.


How dry can you get Question Evil or Very Mad A scientific definition, how would I get or want one of those ? the point of this threed was to discuss how the current
form of life known as humanity would deal(control/interact) with a knew form of life, not what that form would be like!! To deffine life thet dose not exist yet, is beyond my scope.

I will grant you thet I should have specifiyed the level of intellagence this life-form would have.

As to universalizing the UN convention of Human Rights, Im not shure that is the point. i know the goverment would be able to pass some kind of law or bill, to clasify new life, but that isn't the same as when you see this new life form walking down the street. I know I wouldn't care what the UN said
if I saw a tachacoma on my roof Exclamation Laughing
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NotAnAverageAnimeFan



Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd rather not get in the middle of this debate but I just wanted to point out that I recently heard that someone has constructed or is constructing a robot constitution in order to be prepared for the advancement of A.I. in the not to far future (just like the one in GITS). So based upon this response to A.I. advancement isn't it plausible that the same thing could happen to any other form of intellegent life, natural or artificial, if were a form of life that was tame or controlled. Might that be the way the world would respond? Unless of course, this new life was a freaky alien that spits acid Very Happy .
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Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Posts: 219
Location: Plato's Cave Weapon of Choice: Sarcasm

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Animae wrote:
The main issue with your question is that you don’t define life. This definition must be objectively viable and something which can be generally agreed upon and does not contradict any other knowledge. The most valid way to do so would be a scientific definition as it could be somewhat free from culture and beliefs.


I also would disagree with you on that point. Life is just a word and a very all encompassing word too at that, it discribes a wide range of phenomena and can have multiple contextual meanings. As long as we know (as i think most of us do) what vague type of life the OP was refering to we can go without a few pages of possible and conflicting definitions. If we had to agree on a definition of 'life' everytime we discuss something that is alive then each discussion would take decades..
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Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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Location: Plato's Cave Weapon of Choice: Sarcasm

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Animae wrote:

One potential solution to the rights problem could be to include other life forms in our rights by simply universalizing the UN convention of Human rights.


james_sb wrote:
Well they may not look like humans but we could just treat them the same as we do other people.


NotAnAverageAnimeFan wrote:
someone has constructed or is constructing a robot constitution in order to be prepared for the advancement of A.I. in the not to far future (just like the one in GITS). So based upon this response to A.I. advancement isn't it plausible that the same thing could happen to any other form of intellegent life, natural or artificial, if were a form of life that was tame or controlled. Might that be the way the world would respond?


Well, there's no problem there if the new form of life has an identical mind to a human mind, or if it has been created by reverse engineering and reconstructing a facsimilie of the human mind. But the way we treat people (and animal life) is based on the way their minds work. What if this new life has a different sort of mind, what if for instance they don't need to have emotion or concepts of pain or suffering?(and there is no reason they wouldn't) what then would be the point in giving them rights that are designed to prevent these things becomming unbearable?

NotAnAverageAnimeFan wrote:
Unless of course, this new life was a freaky alien that spits acid Very Happy .


ah, the solution there, as has been conclusivly prooved by many hollywood studies is a very big gun and one of those big stompy yellow mecha thingys.

(sorry about the double post Embarassed )
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Animae



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elmo wrote:
Natural rights don't have to be conceived by anyone, that's kinda' the whole point. Natural rights are universal rights that are seen as inherent in the nature of the world or in the nature of the entity they refer to*, and not contingent on human actions or beliefs. e.g. a carnivore's right to eat meat. According to that philosophy humans also have natural rights** this is a view that has been taken by quite a few signigicant philisophical thinkers, Locke, Hobbes & Kant for example.

Yet these rights are reasoned and conceptualized, would that not make them artificial? There are people that argue that science is “natural” and we have just discovered what’s always been there, but then I think it’s more about an argument on what is actually natural and artificial.
NotAnAverageAnimeFan wrote:
I'd rather not get in the middle of this debate but I just wanted to point out that I recently heard that someone has constructed or is constructing a robot constitution in order to be prepared for the advancement of A.I. in the not to far future (just like the one in GITS).

I read some years ago that around 2020 we would have capabilities to build a supercomputer with human processing power*, but that does not mean its “intelligent” or conscious. There are many problems of creating true AI, while we could create an AI that learns from its environment and behaves intelligently it still would only be a process of logic. Such a machine would most likely** not be self aware or capable of creative thinking.

How do we find out if this new life has what we call a mind in the first place? I mean the most successful way of defining mind yet is that it is simply an illusion.
Who knows maybe animals only follow deterministic rules and have no awareness, perhaps what we would see as suffering is nothing more that some simple lines of code, a natural reaction to a specific stimulus. What we would then experience as an animal suffering is merely a reaction to our own emotions. You could make a very simple AI that make “happy noises” and “sad noises” if you see what I mean, and in no way would such a program be conscious. The question is of course then if we aren’t just one of those programs with the line “believes itself to be self aware” somewhere in our biological code.

*Read it in a popular science magazine, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. I assume that they calculated the increase in processing power with Moore’s law, but I don’t know how they compared the human brain with a processor as the usual benchmarks for performance as MIPS and FLOPS are not analogous to the human brain as I understand it.
**There is yet no good scientific model of how consciousness works it remains to be seen how a consciousness is born, however I doubt something can become conscious solely by learning.
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douyang



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

elmo wrote:
Well, there's no problem there if the new form of life has an identical mind to a human mind, or if it has been created by reverse engineering and reconstructing a facsimilie of the human mind. But the way we treat people (and animal life) is based on the way their minds work. What if this new life has a different sort of mind, what if for instance they don't need to have emotion or concepts of pain or suffering?(and there is no reason they wouldn't) what then would be the point in giving them rights that are designed to prevent these things becomming unbearable?


I believe they have rights even if they are incapable of experiencing suffering, for no other reason than the freedom of sentient beings who have the mental capacity to choose like we do has value in and of itself, regardless of whether loss of freedom would cause suffering or not.

animae wrote:
Yet these rights are reasoned and conceptualized, would that not make them artificial? There are people that argue that science is “natural” and we have just discovered what’s always been there, but then I think it’s more about an argument on what is actually natural and artificial.


There is no reason why discovering what people's rights are determined through reason and creating concepts would have to make them wholly artificial. Just think of it as discovering what's already there, like the biologist creating the concepts of mutation and natural selection to explain how some species gradually change into others.


Last edited by douyang on Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Animae



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then tell me why different philosophers have different ideas of what natural rights are? It’s as if saying that just because we can conceive God he must exist. To compare it with science is ultimately flawed, since in science there is a single explanation that is universally true, while ethics have different models based on different ideas. There is no universally applicable ethics but science is universal by design.
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Lightice



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here I must side with Animae. There are no rights, per se. There are only demands that may or may not be met. Rights are purely a contract that doesn't exist outside our minds and can be changed by circumstances.
Rationally we can perceive possibility to bring a maximum amount of happiness to every individual with minimal amount of suffering, but there is no natural law demanding us to take that course of action and indeed, some of our primal instincts seem to be against making such compromises.

This doesn't mean we should abandon ethics, but that we should acknowledge, that all results our ethical analysis brings depend on what our cultural and individual premises are. Some models of ethics, like those of Immanuel Kant's are completely impossible to use in real world, because of their perfectionist premises.
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