Re: Gene Therapy & Ethics [was Re: AI Backlash] (fwd)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 19:27:11 -0700 (PDT)

> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> wrote:

> I think that adulthood, for the purposes of "informed consent", is a
> function of the ability to fully appreciate possible negative
> consequences. I therefore believe that "children" who have been through
> enough hell are capable of giving informed consent. Infants are a
> different question.


I did not want to raise this as part of the discussion. When and how "informed consent" is able to be given is a very complex subject. Whether someone with an IQ of 80 (of any age) can give informed consent is an open question (to me). The degree to which anyone can appreciate and assess "negative consequences" is presumably a function of the "negative consequences" to which they have been exposed in life. The quality of "imagination" varies from person to person. One presumes, when giving "informed consent", there is a risk-benefit tradeoff, so one has to have the capacity to balance both the negative and positive outcomes and success may vary depending on personal experiences.

I have no doubt Eliezer, that you could have given "informed consent" when you were ~6. :-)