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PK comments on Leave a Line of Retreat - Less Wrong

59 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 February 2008 11:57PM

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Comment author: PK 26 February 2008 08:35:44PM 0 points [-]

This reminds me of an item from a list of "horrible job interview questions" we once devised for SIAI:

Would you kill babies if it was intrinsically the right thing to do? Yes/No

If you circled "no", explain under what circumstances you would not do the right thing to do: ___________________

If you circled "yes", how right would it have to be, for how many babies? ___________________

What a horrible horrible question. My answer is ... what do you mean when you say "intrinsically the right thing to do"? The "right thing" according to whom? If it was the right thing according to an authority figure but I disagreed, I probably would not do it. If the circumstances were so extreme that I truly believed it's the right thing(eg: not killing a baby results in the baby's death anyway + 1 million babies) then I would kill babies(assuming I could overcome my aversion to killing).

Actually I don't really know how I would react. This is how I wish I would act. Calmly theorising in front of the computer never having experienced circumstances remotely as awful is not the same as being in those circumstances when the fear and dread overtakes you. There would probably be a significant shift from what I consider and feel is "me" right now to the "me" I would become in that hypothetical situation.