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jaimeastorga2000 comments on Building Weirdtopia - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 January 2009 08:35PM

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Comment author: [deleted] 16 December 2010 04:11:15PM *  6 points [-]

I agree strongly with wedrifid. This is like claiming that everyone should experience a death in their family at least once so that they can appreciate the value of life.

Comment author: Nornagest 17 December 2010 12:26:11AM *  4 points [-]

I think I'm still agnostic on the original debate, but the family death analogy fails. There is a difference in kind between an unpleasant but temporary experience and the permanent termination of sapient experience.

The analogy to the death of a beloved pet might be stronger. Similar emotional consequences, but doesn't implicitly require serious negative externalities unless you hold strong views on animal rights.

Comment author: [deleted] 22 December 2010 11:50:13PM 3 points [-]

I agree that the analogy fails if you take stock of the total damage caused, which is much worse in the case I offered, but I was focusing on the personal feelings of bereavement of the sufferer. I should have added a phrase mentioning that caveat; I was actually considering it, and I'm not sure why I decided against it.

Anyway, I can think of ways to make the analogy better in that regard, but it has the unfortunate side effect of making the analogous situation seem a lot more contrived and far less natural. The first thing that occurs to me is to take the example of warfare mentioned below and make it into a simulation; the person in question thinks they are killing people and watching their friends die and actually gets wounded and suffers PTSD and returns home to live with their memories and try to adjust for years, before it is all revealed to have been a carefully controlled experience, that everybody who "died" is actually fine and/or never existed, and that he was never in any real danger of dying or being permanently damaged.

Another would be to change my first analogy a bit; instead of the family member dying, they are forced to move away to a far away place never to return (and this actually happens, with proof and everything, as opposed to being some sort of unpleasant euphemism for extermination). No communication or reunion is ever allowed.