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alethiophile comments on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 - Less Wrong

10 Post author: Alicorn 30 December 2010 02:37PM

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Comment author: alethiophile 24 February 2011 06:27:05AM 0 points [-]

It now seems that the thorny ethical problem is resolved with the fact that the human person caught in the blast no longer exists. (Unless that's just Addy lying, but she's still in range of Edward and one would assume that he would tell Bella if Addy lied about something of that magnitude.) I'm very curious to see what happens if one of the human!vampires is turned.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 February 2011 06:27:41PM 2 points [-]

(nods) Agreed.

Thinking about this some more, I wonder whether an actual reflection is even necessary.

That is, if one of the four "nutcases" looked into a surface they believed was reflective, but which actually presented an image of a young-looking vampire in Elspeth's memories, would that be enough to trigger the filtering/identification process?

Presumably it would depend on how relevant the body's memories of looking the way it actually looks are to the process. I could see it going either way. Given that the four "nutcases"es original identities are irretrievably lost, and the state of identifying as a single upload seems strictly preferable to the state of being muddled between many of them, it seems like an experiment worth trying.

Unrelatedly: if the uploaded Didyme turns out to satisfy Marcus' mate bond, things just got very interesting. It seems to follow that every vampire in the world who has lost a mate promptly shows up on Elspeth's doorstep, a similar-appearing human in tow, demanding that she "resurrect" their mate. Politically useful, albeit ethically challenging.

The related question of whether Elspeth can "resurrect" humans seems relevant for similar reasons. Available data suggests that she can't, since the vampire memories displace the human ones, but I'd want to see what happens with a blast comprising only human memories. (My expectation would be that it wouldn't eradicate the body's memories in the first place, though... I'd expect the effect to be similar to the effect of Addy's blast on vampires. Still, if the body is already brain-dead for some other reason, that might be different.)

Of course, this isn't just a resurrection trick; it's also a duplication trick. I wonder if any mate-bonded vampires would be interested in a polyamorous relationship with multiple uploaded copies of their mate? (The mate-bond seems to imply monogamous attachment, but that could just be a side-effect of not being attracted to anyone but their mate.) Certainly there are humans who would be.

Unrelatedly: I admire the aplomb with which Didyme and John are handling their physical and cognitive deficiencies. In their position, I would be insisting that someone turn me, right now. (After all, the difference between their current state and the state they remember is overwhelmingly greater than what I experienced when I woke up hemiplegic and brain-damaged after my stroke, and if I could have recovered from that with a few days of agony, I'd have signed up in a heartbeat... even if it was my last.)

Comment author: alethiophile 24 February 2011 10:46:26PM *  0 points [-]

Another thing I'm wondering: what was it, precisely, that deleted Benito's original human memories? Was it the experience of any higher-fidelity vampire memories, or was it the overload caused by all of it simply overwriting the least vivid? If the former, then Elspeth has an easy way to resurrect an arbitrary dead vampire, but needs to be careful sending anything to a human lest their mind be lost (wouldn't it purely suck to have only the vampire memories of a single event Elspeth showed you, and nothing else?). If the latter, then Elspeth needs to blast a human entire and hope they reidentify as the vampire she actually wants to resurrect; which is more chancy.

Comment author: Nornagest 24 February 2011 11:08:23PM 3 points [-]

Uploading into a physical body might not even be necessary. I wonder what would happen if Elspeth constructed a subagent to model the behavior of someone she's got stored?

Comment author: alethiophile 26 February 2011 04:57:45AM 2 points [-]

Man, that would be a weird way to wake up. "Hi, you got killed by Aro, he read your mind, I got a bunch of your memories dumped on me, and by the way you exist only in my head."

Comment author: Alicorn 26 February 2011 05:37:41AM 5 points [-]

Or "Hi, you're a 500-years-outdated backup of a vampire who's alive and well..."

Comment author: TheOtherDave 26 February 2011 08:28:50AM 0 points [-]

if the uploaded Didyme turns out to satisfy Marcus' mate bond, things just got very interesting.

Hee! Well, then.

Given that that worked, I would expect pretty much every mated vampire who is aware of the situation and at least marginally clever to demand their mate be "backed up" via Aro's knee into Addy's mind for safe keeping... and soon, as that knee has limited shelf-life.

I wonder, if they had figured this all out prior to killing Aro, if they'd have been tempted to keep him alive to power the backup mechanism indefinitely. It's an awfully useful trick to have up one's sleeve... though perhaps less so if you're immortal and nigh-indestructible.

Unrelatedly: another implication of Elspeth's vampire-reincarnation trick, potentially, is the ability to create edited versions of existing vampires.

That is, we've already seen that she can selectively choose what subsets of her memories she transmits; it seems to follow that not only can she overwrite a human with memories of vampire X as of their last Aro-read, she can overwrite a human with a more-or-less arbitrary subset of those memories.

I can't come up with any useful applications of that ability in the current tactical situation, but it's a cool idea nevertheless.

Comment author: Vaniver 26 February 2011 09:46:56PM 0 points [-]

I wonder, if they had figured this all out prior to killing Aro, if they'd have been tempted to keep him alive to power the backup mechanism indefinitely. It's an awfully useful trick to have up one's sleeve... though perhaps less so if you're immortal and nigh-indestructible.

It remains to be seen whether or not Didyme 2 is a witch, but if so, why not just recreate Aro when necessary?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 26 February 2011 10:16:09PM 0 points [-]

We've seen no evidence that Elspeth's trick affects witch-talents, and it would really startle me if it did.

But, sure, if a witch turned up who can read/store/project those powers, the way that the Addy in conjunction with Aro and Elspeth combination can read/store/project memories, that would be fantastically useful.

The existence of Addy suggests that something like this is theoretically possible... that is, it suggests that witch powers really are some kind of discrete thing that can be read and written as a class.

Of course, I can't go too far down that road without becoming utterly frustrated that nobody in that world is even trying to research the mechanisms that underlie witch-powers, or vampirism, or etc. That would be the real payoff.

Comment author: Vaniver 28 February 2011 10:02:27AM 0 points [-]

Of course, I can't go too far down that road without becoming utterly frustrated that nobody in that world is even trying to research the mechanisms that underlie witch-powers, or vampirism, or etc. That would be the real payoff.

Isn't Addy?

Comment author: Alicorn 28 February 2011 04:38:51PM 0 points [-]

Not really. Addy is diligently studying the use and limitations and practical potential of witchcraft, but she doesn't particularly care what makes magic work, as long as it does work and it's tasty.

Comment author: Vaniver 01 March 2011 01:41:35PM 0 points [-]

At a field's infancy, engineers are typically more effective than philosophers. Her age and current disinclination suggest she won't be the first philosopher of witchcraft, but whoever is will undoubtedly benefit from her memories.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 28 February 2011 01:57:03PM 0 points [-]

Certainly more so than the rest of them, yes.

It would be ironic if she ended up contributing, some day, to a genuine theoretical understanding of whatever it is that underlies all of their abilities... she could be responsible for saving and improving more lives than anyone else we've met in this world.