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Re: [nanotech] posterior humans and zyborgz (robot derrières?)

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  • Steven Guy
    To my dear friends and comrades, ... Wouldn t any intelligent entity in the world deserve the same rights as a natural, unaltered human being? I guess that one
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2001
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      To my dear friends and comrades,

      Mark Gubrud wrote:

      On Sat, 30 Jun 2001, Chris Phoenix wrote:

      > > > Kevin Joiner wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Assuming posthumans or living nanites are possible, here's a question: If some
      > > > people want to become posthumans and some people want to be Luddites, why
      > > > can't we have both?
      > I'm looking forward to seeing Mark's answer to Kevin's question.

      The problem is that "posthumans" would claim the rights of human beings,
      including the right to own property and to compete ecconomically.

      Wouldn't any intelligent entity in the world deserve the same rights as a natural, unaltered human being? I guess that one could further argue that we never 'own' anything. We borrow the resources of the world during our lifetimes and these things are passed onto others when we die - our bodies return to the soil and food chain (or become a chemical powder if we are cremated).
      Superior beings will, ipso facto, realise the folly of the current human obsessions with the acquisition of property and wealth at the expense of others and the environment. Superior beings will humour us, but will probably opt out of our economic follies. These beings will exist for higher purposes - the subtlety of some of these purposes will no doubt elude us.
      Gordon Gekko is definitely not the template for advanced beings....
      ...try the Dalai Lama instead!
       As long
      as we have a competitive economic system dominated by private property, it
      is predictable that super-intelligences could outcompete humans and would
      come to dominate "civilization" if permitted to do so.
      Competition is overrated and the intelligent, prudent and compassionate use the world's (and, I suppose, Solar System's) resources is the only way forward.
       Especially since
      the desire to "augment" and "upload" correlates with selfish ambition and
      indifference to the fate of the rest of humanity.
      I dispute this. I feel that this desire to reach for a higher self is deep rooted. I am an atheist but I understand that people feel that we can be better in some way and religions have often set out systems of behaviour and ethics which are designed to move people forward. 'Selfish ambition' and 'indifference' to the consequences of one's actions vis-a-vis other people and the environment is not, in my opinion, a sophisticated and advanced way of thinking.
      Co-operation, restraint, prudence and conservation will become, hopefully, I believe, the dominant aspirations of the world society in C21.
      The TwenCen was 'The Rape Century' - rape of women, people, children, ideas, the environment, countries and men.
       I am not prepared to
      surrender humanity's birthright to the control of inhuman technology in
      any form, including that of simulated people or systems built upon human
      individuals long since absorbed by the machines.
      I cannot speak for anyone else but I am very lucky to be here. I have no 'birthright' other than the expectation that my life will be cherished by those around and me that the society I belong to will continue to cherish and love life and intelligence in all its manifestations. We can love many things - our friends, lovers, husbands, wives, neighbours, sons and daughters, strangers and places. We can now love people we have never met! ;-)) (I'm talking about the internet here!)
      Why not love and feel compassion for artificial intelligences?
      > So we can try, as individuals, to move away from badness, but we can't
      > forsee the consequences even to ourselves, much less to society.  (For
      > example, the "Summer of Love" and the hippie movement.)
      The hippies were flawed - what was it they called their wives and girlfriends? "My 'old lady'"?
      The "Summer of Love" was spree - if you were male!

      We need to move towards ethical systems which promote utilitarian and compassionate ethics and a thoughtful and sustainable approach to the use and distribution of world's resources. (what's left of them!)


      What do you think were the consequences of these?  Apart from some pretty
      groovy music, there don't seem to have been lasting effects.  But I don't
      think the hippies were on the wrong track.  It's just that they had been
      nursed by a generation of working class prosperity, and they were looking
      for that promised land, but they were defeated by the capitalist order.

      Well, let's say that they were replaced by a more fragmented and sectarian world - a world where the 'Greed is Good' credo has been espoused and Friedmanite thinking has been adopted by the political right.

      I tend to think that pure Capitalism is cruel and could be characterised as a 'dereliction of duty' to community and environment. But! Capitalism does get things does and allows individuals to follow their dreams! (very important!)

      Socialism can lead to a bureaucratic and stultified society - in extreme cases - oppressive governments. The 'command economy' is often based of false premises. However, socialism is based on the idea that the public should own society and its resources.

      I am a socialist but a libertarian socialist. I believe in democracy and capitalism but I believe that we are all interconnected and are responsible for each other. I have owned a small business and have hired and fired people but I am also a life long unionist and I believe in providing for all! (It certainly gives people more money to spend at small businesses like mine!)


      > I've *never* understood why cyborgs are supposed to go insane.

      No! Neither have I!
      However, my PC has gone 'insane' a few times!

      Because they are insane to begin with.  You have to be, to want to start
      turning your body into a machine. (Ever see "Testuo"?)

      How do we define sanity? I am not sure but I have a hunch....
      Sanity is based on a logical, benevolent and reasonable response to external stimuli. It is also based on averages - on average, most people do not walk around naked and scream 'Saint James!' at the tops of their voices. Most people do not commit murder - ipso facto, the act of murder is an act of insanity.

      As Susan Calvin once said - "The difference between robots and humans is that robots are essentially decent...."


      > we've had cyborgs for decades.
      > For example, I have had LASIK eye surgery, I wear a wristwatch, and I
      > just used Google to find out whether Lewis Thomas was alive or dead in
      > less than ten seconds.

      I tend to think that the only malevolent machine is one that is poorly designed and poorly used.
      The three laws of robotics should also be the three laws of all machines.... and, I guess, all human beings?
      However, you might ask about cardiac pacemakers and artificial hip joints.
      I have proposed that it is not terribly useful, at least for discussion
      purposes, to try to delineate the boundary between medicine and cyborgizm
      in terms of what parts or how much of the body are replaced.  Rather, it
      is the intent which should be considered (I agree that for later legal
      purposes, more objective standards may need to be drafted).  Is
      cyborgization the intent, or is the intent to recover human health and
      well-being?  Are you trying to correct a condition that has left you in
      sub-optimal health as a human being, or are you trying to become something
      inhuman?  This defines a clear distinction.
      We can be augmented people right now but without altering the human mind I tend to think that this is all academic. After all, we started replacing ourselves when cave people first used sharp flint knives to cut the flesh of animals we had killed for food - this was the use of technology to take over the function of a part of the human body (i.e. teeth!).
      The automation of memory and thinking began with the development of language and then writing. Vision and hearing has become automated by art and music.

      Just some thoughts!


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