[ExI] roboburgers to go

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Sep 30 20:43:26 UTC 2013

On 2013-09-29 14:05, BillK wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 29, 2013 at 12:58 PM, Anders Sandberg wrote:
>> Seriously, that is just moral relativism... and a bunch of facts.
>> Sure, people have different views on what we really ought to do. But that
>> doesn't relativize moral truth any more than the fact that people have had
>> different views on the shape of the earth changes what shape it really is.
>> There could be a One True Moral System that we may or may not have found.
>> The deep question is of course if the OTMS exists, how it exists, and if we
>> can know it. In practice, however, moral systems do have sensible and
>> actionable ideas that should be followed, especially when several agree with
>> each other.
> JUST moral relativism????
> Races, nations, with different morality systems tend to disagree quite
> violently.

So? People have had violent disagreements about nearly any domain - 
religion, ownership, kinship, wealth, you name it. Does that mean that 
these domains are all empty of meaning?

There is fundamental disagreements about how to unify relativity and 
quantum field theory. Is that evidence that there is no truth to the 
matter? Or just that we have not found the right approach?

>> I have no doubt there are some people doing horrible things who actually
>> love their jobs. But if those are rare in the occupation, you have a good
>> reason to suspect that the occupation ought to go.
> One of the non-obvious points to outsiders criticizing nasty jobs is
> that there are often hidden benefits that those thus employed are
> careful not to mention. Strangely you will often find much
> competition, closed shops, even waiting lists, for jobs that we
> superior beings deem horrible. And it is not always due to extreme
> poverty.

Sure. But do you really think it was a bad thing for whipping boys, 
thralls, elevator operators, galley slaves, typists, icemen cup-bearers, 
mudlarks, and knocker-uppers to have their occupations become obsolete?

>> Only if you try to impose your morality on others. See the work on the
>> ethics of moral enhancement we have done in Oxford: there are plenty of
>> things that might be doable that would make people better able to act
>> morally without prescribing what morality to believe in.
> Well I can't speak for the god-like beings that stride the hallowed
> halls of Oxford :) , but for most people, once they see the light and
> manage to obtain a rule book, they take great delight in trying to
> persuade other people to use the same rule book. By force, if
> necessary, as it is for their own good (obviously!).

Which is why ethicists disdain ethics review boards.

The fact that people try to enforce Good Behavior stupidly does not mean 
good behaviour is a bad thing.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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