Re: Nanotech Restrictions (was: RE: Transparency Debate)

From: phil osborn (
Date: Sat Apr 15 2000 - 23:08:19 MDT

>From: Adrian Tymes <>
>Subject: Re: Nanotech Restrictions (was: RE: Transparency Debate)
>Date: Sun, 09 Apr 2000 16:00:35 -0700
>phil osborn wrote:
> > Re ethics. The pure benefit analysis just doesn't quite do the trick,
> > really sorry to say (as explicated really nicely by Xerene and Strackon
>in a
> > late '60's Invictus article). It provides plenty of reasons to look
> > you're moral and to encourage other people to be moral, and it even
> > out casual dishonestly on the grounds of the additional mental
> > involved in lieing, as David Friedman discussed in an article in
> > but it doesn't address the professional criminal at all.
> >
> > On the other hand, the real reason most people are moral is that they
> > visibility and emotional openness - something like the old, rarely-heard
> > concept of honor. They despise having to live a lie, hide
> > like a rat, etc. These costs - of living a criminal life - can be quite
> > devastating. Check out "The Talented Mr. Ripley," if you haven't
>And these aren't in one's long-term interest because...? That, and the
>material benefits one can reap from it, would seem to address the
>professional criminal.

My point was that the mere policy considerations - the chance of getting
caught, the additional mental processing, etc. - which are usually posed as
the reason for honesty as self-interest, are not in fact generally
sufficient in themselves. There are many hasardous professions which offer
a subgroup of the population sufficient rewards to make it worth their while
- e.g., deep sea diving for oil rigs, with a 25% mortality per year. Some
people are naturally better suited for these occupations and would tend to
engage in them and succeed, as in your smarter professional criminals, who
engage in multi-million-dollar scams and go their entire lives seen as
pillars of their communities.

On the other hand, criminal behavior does have an additional unique cost,
which is that it cuts one off from normal uncensored interaction with other
conscious beings. One has to constantly monitor the image one is
projecting, to make it correspond to something different from the real you,
or face the consequences of being found out as a criminal. This has a
disasterous effect upon certain fundamental psychological and
psychoepistemological needs. After all, what do people put more effort into
typically than their love lives? For what are they more willing to take
major risks - or even sacrifice their own lives - than for their loved ones?

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