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Konkvistador comments on Can't Unbirth a Child - Less Wrong

24 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 December 2008 05:00PM

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Comment author: [deleted] 15 December 2011 01:32:30PM *  3 points [-]

Isn't it a question of physics? Unbirthing seems impossible. You can kill and or destroy children if you want but you can't unbirth.

I don't see this as a question of physics. Though we may be arguing about words here.

  • A > B > C > Child

"You can't unbirth a child" is just how we say its ok to undo A, B or C but not the child. It is physically impossible to "unbirth" or " undo" B and C or A in exactly the same material sense as the child. We don't see that as carrying the moral weight of killing the child so we don't say you can't unbrith B or A. In any case child is just a place-holder for "sentient" which seems to be a place-holder for "something we care about".

  • A > B > C > Child
  • A > B > C > D > Something we care about
  • A > B > Person

Can describe the same exact physical process. By speaking of revealed human preferences I wanted to it be put into consideration that humans have historically used the first, the second and the third description for the same thing. We may in the future use heuristics that are ok with us painlessly erasing the cheescake lovers, just as at one point we decided that abortion is ok, or as we at one point decided that infanticide is not.

But the risk that while we think we wouldn't care, we would actually end up caring may be enough to swamp the gain. Reliably "non-sentient" AI is probably the better option.