Re: armed robots

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 04:02:51 MST

Oh boy, does this open a can of worms...

Spike Jones wrote:

> We thus reinforce the lesson that the less-advanced nations are
> in fact enslaved to the techno-haves, until they learn to put
> aside meaningless tribal conflicts, to extend the olive branch
> to their neighbors, to join together as entities which do not
> wage war on each other, a bit like the 50 united states.
> They join together, if for no other reason, to survive economically
> and escape abject slavery to those nations that build droids.

Sigh. Spike, you need some more "global awareness". Many nations
in Africa (or relocated tribal groups in Indonesia) are perfectly
content to wage war against each other with *no* significant
awareness of what goes on in the "techno-have" countries. One
can certainly extend this to the Iran-Iraq conflicts a decade ago
or the Yugo-regional conflicts occuring now-a-days..

You also need to study the history of the U.S. a bit more, such
as the recent PBS series on the life of Abraham Lincoln and the
Civil War. I suspect you can find similar conflicts in areas
such as the United Kingdom (England vs. the Irish, Welsh & Scots),
various Roman provinces, city-states of Greece, modern India-Pakistan
divisions, etc.

Why was there a "civil war"? Because the perspective of one group
(the Northerners) threatened the livelyhood of another group
(the Southerners) who depended on the concept of slavery for
econonimic survival. Why is this primcipal important? Well,
it would seem to go back to the fundamental principles that
the anthropologists explain are the two fundamental reasons
that primitive societies go to war -- for food or for mates.

Bottom line on the civil war -- if you are some poor southern
trash whose estate is worthless because there are no slaves
to work it -- translates to no food and no food translates to
no mates and that provides sufficient justification for going
to war.

Carry it to the Iran/Iraq/Kuwait sitation -- more territory
translates to more wealth (food) translates to more mates. That
is reason enough to go to war -- better make sure you can win though!

Translate it to the Isreal/Palestinean arena -- one "rich"
group in power (gets food and mates) and another group that is
out-of-power (gets less food and fewer mates [or gets mates
and sub-optimal survival of children]).

Now, and this is important, because it deals with the fundamental
structural differences between the "current" and "future" realities...

As Eliezer S. Yudkowsky points out:
> I think this won't work and will in fact backfire horribly as dictators
> try to recoup their cost by conquering and exploiting other countries.

There is an *IMPLICIT* assumption in this statement that the
"population" of a dictatorial country stills "exists". What nation
could sustain a population with an oppressive dictator if nearby
nations are fully able to accept and support refuges of that
nation? What nations would hesitate to eliminate a sociopathic
"dictator" who is causing trouble if the effects on the regional
population could be minimized?

If you have the technology to create "robotic" armies, you
presumably have the technology for robotic "assassins",
"saboteurs", etc. If you have the technology for those
functions, why not simply create robots that create robots
that produce all material requirements of a a society?
So in one fell swoop, one eliminates any "physical" motivations
for going to "war", leaving only "philosophical" reasons.

Why is there a need or desire to "exploit" other countries when
you have the ability to provide all material requirements oneself?

I will label this the:
  "Implausible Future due to Incongruous Reality"
argument (henceforth "IFdtIR").

I will come down very hard on people such as Spike or Eliezer
who premise their arguments on IFdtIR.

If you have robotics sufficient grow/harvest/manufacture food to
last until you die from whatever causes, then one only goes to war
for "mates". If one has the ability to vary ones appearence,
personality, etc. with drugs or other more extensive self-modifications,
then "mates" should not be a problem. If for some reason they
"are" a problem, then one modifies ones self-perception such that
they are not "really" a problem or manufactures 'droids which
can fullfill 'mate' requirements.

In this environment, one is faced with dealing only with people who
cause problems because they have in some way already have warped minds.

So the fundamental question becomes "To what degree may one alter
the 'mindset' of conscious entities to safeguard the security of
the majority?"


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