[ExI] Human extinction

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Aug 21 01:40:41 UTC 2008

Stefano writes

> On Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 7:41 AM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> > One's freedom of self-decision should include have a
> > veto over all circumstances under which one would be run.
> This is in my understanding also Egan's position,...
> But, for the sake of discussion, what exactly would be the
> rationale behind such right of veto?

I'm sorry that I'm on a tight schedule right now, and have
time only for a brief reply. First, I find that any talk of such
"rights" to invariably derail discussions like this, and sorry
if I'm overreacting to your usage here. For example, (as
you go on), pretty soon it will come up against the "right
of creation" or "the right of private property", and much
more smoke that light will be generated.

There is no particular rationale, nor can there be, to your
question. We can either approve or disapprove, that, I am
afraid, is all. Yes, we may point out further consequences
that will cause "most people" to agree with one point or the
other, such as that promoting "veto" power may lead towards
annihilation of the species (i.e. us) in question, or some other
consequentialist argument.

Myself, I mere approve of 

> > One's freedom of self-decision should include have a
> > veto over all circumstances under which one would be run.

>  I am especially thinking of borderline scenarios, which are
> usually useful to enlighten possible general rules. E.g., what
> about an identity that is "reconstructed" or "emulated" with
> growing and asymptotic accuracy, but where conflicting
> rights might be claimed by the "creator" against those of
> the "model"?

Arghh!  What "rights"?  Sorry, but I really can't address that
without making wild guesses as to what you might really be
getting at. If we studiously avoid talking about "rights", the
conversation will proceed much more effectively.

You're possibly talking about a situation that would fall under
"protection of private property" so far as I am concerned.
This rule or tradition "protection of private" property is a
principle that about 95% of the time provides guarantees
that promote progress in modern societies (e.g. those 
following feudal Malthusian eras). I would be willing to
extrapolate that adherence to this principle will continue
to promote progress, (at least, as I say, 95% of the time).

For example, if you own a piece of property and purchase
computing equipment and biotech equipment necessary
to create de novo another human being, then we probably
are best advised to not interfere with your own activities,
but rather to mind *our* own business. (This ideal of
personal autonomy and the benefits it delivers is no longer
as well understood as it was during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries, unfortunately.)

>  And what about the conflict between the model and a
> copy who is faithful and dynamic enough to claim an
> "agency" similar to that of the "original" ("I want to be
> run against a Roman Empire scenario", "No, you are a
> mere copy and have to live in the Aztec World because
> this is the will of the model on which you were developed").

My answer, as usual, is "who pays"? Who is footing the bill?
It sounds as though the copy in this case has been produced
by equipment purchased and legally owned by the original,
and that the events in question are taking place on the premises
of a Western-type individual who has legal rights to do as he
pleases within his own household, so long as, loosely speaking
it does no harm to another citizen  (and, alas, so long as it does
not involve injecting chemicals he owns into his own body,
or allowing photons to be reflected from certain kinds of 
photographs he also owns to be reflected into onto his retinas
---we find in modern societies that (and this is *extremely* 
disfortunate) that for many purposes the state owns the
bodies of its citizens, and has legal recourse against the
misuse of these bodies which are, after all, only on loan
from the state).


P.S. The term "disfortunate" is not standard and is not really
a word, and has been provided for the purpose of amusement

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