Re: Can I kill a Copy? (long)

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Fri May 05 2000 - 05:15:30 MDT

Zero Powers writes:
> Killing a sentient being, whether an identical twin, an exact replica of you

An exact replica of you (you do realize what that means, don't you?)
is you. This means, there are two instances of you, both being in the
exact the same state. As long as they don't bifurcate, I don't see why
you can't delete one of them.

The only objectionable point here is that by doing so, you devoid one
of the clones from a future possibility of bifurcation, and subsequent
divergence, and hence from becoming an individual being.

Terminating a fully synched self clone is imo less than a murder. It
is very much like an abortion, because it prevents a potential human
being from being created. Current society is quite divided on the
ethics of the matter.

> or even a sentient computer, should be a crime. If it is sentient (and

Terminating an unique sentient being, regardless of the substrate, is
certainly not a nice thing to do.

> perhaps even if it is not) it has rights, first and foremost to life. I

Rather, the act of killing it now will come back to haunt you later
with a nontrivial probability. (I don't really understand this
"rights" thing, it is just another meaningless abstraction).

> realize the thrust of your post wasn't exactly "when is it OK to murder a
> sentient being?" But you did seem to believe its OK for you to do away with
> an intelligent being, so long as the intelligent being is an exact replica
> of you. Those on the list who feel that way, may want to try putting
> themselves in the shoes of the replica and imagining how they'd feel about
> such a policy.

Heck, you are your clone. The clone is you. The act of knowing it
changes nothing. You can't tell the clone whether it is going to be
terminated, or not, because the act of telling would cause a
bifurcation. So you don't know whether you or not-you is going to meet
the /dev/null in the sky. Even better, you don't have a 50% chance of
dying, because no one dies as long as one copy of the clone crowd is
still present. There is no difference between you both. Both state
space trajectories overlap perfectly. If one clone is terminated, the
trajectory still continues.

The whole discussion is about as meaningless as whether it is better
to be dead, or alive. The comparision is invalid, because death is a
non-state. If there's no you, you can't decide.

Monkey business. Playing with words. Getting trapped in mental
states. A new iteration of Achilles/tortoise pseudo-dilemma.

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