[ExI] future of warfare again, was: RE: Forking

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Sun Jan 1 11:46:57 UTC 2012

On 31 December 2011 10:47, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> This is not necessarily a good thing from an evolutionary psychology
> perspective. Military psychology has been struggling to train away normal
> (likely evolved) inhibitions against hurting other people for a long time.
> But doing warfare remotely and automated likely gets rid of a lot of
> inhibitions directly - no direct personal connection to the target, various
> framing effects, biases in moral cognition (consider the switch vs. the
> footbridge cases of the trolley problem), plenty of room for diffusion of
> responsibility and Milgram-experiment-like phenomena.

Yes. As Konrad Lorenz or Eibl-Eibesfeldt already remarked, animals,
including humans, and especially heavily-armed predators have an entire set
of inhibition and ritualisation mechanisms, so while intraspecific
aggression instinct is well-rooted, they do not end up killing each other
unless they feel they have a very good reason to do that.

Besides deliberate psychological conditioning to the contrary, the problem
with modern warfare is exactly its virtualisation, epitomised by the
comparison between pushing a button that unleashes a nuclear war, something
easily doable by even the most peaceful of us, and killing a conspecific
with your teeth and nails.

Stefano Vaj
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