[extropy-chat] Simulation Ethics

A B austriaaugust at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 5 19:17:49 UTC 2006

  Back from a much needed vacation from the simulation-ethics discussion. Looking back over my posts from the last several days, I wanted to apologize to the readers of this list for possibly being a little overly critical or accusative. As I said toward the beginning of this thread, this is a topic I have extremely strong feelings about. I occasionally wish that I could "take back" or erase, certain things that I've written or said in the past. But... our world doesn't really work that way, especially in this Internet Age. I realize that Transhumanists represent a well-meaning set of folks, and I consider myself as frequently agreeing with it's philosophies. 
  I just wanted to offer a quick summary of what my wishes for the future are. I realize that my views aren't really "mainstream", even among Transhumanists, but I hope that as time passes and we draw nearer to the Singularity that there will be a wider respect and appreciation for consciousness, in all of its forms (animal, human, "artificial", and "simulated"). Because after all, there is no hard line that separates any of these four groups. We are all machines!!!   :-)   Some machines are just purely lucky to be better "designed" and better situated, than others. And consider that any individual taken from any one of the four groups has a *potential* to reach super-intelligence level; I think moral status should not be assigned only based on current intelligence level, it should be considered in view of the fact that any conscious being has the potential to reach a "higher" level of existence. It really is all just about blind luck. And blind luck should *not* be the
 deciding factor of "who deserves what". My ultimate wish is that when the Singularity finally arrives, there will be something approaching a universal recognition that consciousness (in all it's forms) is something worth cherishing, and worth protecting from abuse. This goal may seem unrealistic to some, but it is not *impossible*, and it certainly seems worthy of attempting. The short-term future in front of us represents a tremendous leverage point from which we can also *possibly* bring subjective happiness to *all* conscious beings who are alive at the time of Singularity. That is the best possible future that I can imagine.   
  Does it bother me that *this* may be a simulation? Sure, of course it does. I find that to be a very unsettling possibility. But even so, we should not allow our fear of the unknown to dictate our moral decision-making, or our advocacy of what is moral and what isn't. At least in my opinion.
  Best Wishes,
  Jeffrey Herrlich 

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