Re: computers have no souls!

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Jan 27 2000 - 18:52:19 MST

I've yet to try this in person, but my working assumption is that only
emotionally valent arguments are effective against emotionally valent
beliefs. (If I get shot, I was wrong about this.) Probably your best
bets are these arguments:

1) Ask her how she feels about the Tortured Norns website. (Sim-alife
game, with genetics and trainable neural networks; some people have
started torturing the Norns (and posting them to the website). This is
probably the least destructive case of pure evil I've ever encountered.)

2) Ask her if she's sure enough about it to switch off a computer that
claims to be alive. If so: "So you'd kill something that was
screaming, pleading, begging you not to do it, because you're so
absolutely sure of your philosophical position? I'm sorry, but it's
just not in me to go along with that."

3) "Some of the smartest and most altruistic people I know, maybe the
best and brightest of the whole world, are embarked on the quest to
create a synthetic soul, a new mind free from hate, and in doing so gain
the capacity to understand and free ourselves. That's too high a quest
to be abandoned because one person thinks it can't be done."

As far as rational logic goes, I'd suggest citing the research on
artificial circuits using biological neurons.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Typing in Dvorak         Programming with Patterns  Writing in Gender-neutral
Voting for Libertarians  Heading for Singularity    There Is A Better Way

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