Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 21:27:16 MST

Dave Sill wrote at 21 Mar 2001 21:41:22 -0500

> Say I'm slopping together some biochemicals and produce
> something the intellectual equivalent of a fish. Or I
> write an AI in perl that's not quite up to normal human
> intelligence--ok, it's an idiot--but it's self aware. At
> what point on the continuum do we declare such a man made
> being a "citizen"?

We do not disagree, and sorry for the confusion. You own
these resources, and in your opinion and mine, the issue
of citizenship does not arise (except within your creation)
and you ought to be free to do what you want.

But your original post could be interpreted by many as
implying that our own citizens who are not up to snuff
don't have rights. More philosophically, an entity at
one level should regard other entities at his or her
level as citizens, i.e. having rights, only if you and
he or she are members of a pre-existing society.

> In what pre-existing social arrangement are these
> example beings I've created? Spell it out for me:
> I'm simpleminded.

As is so often the case, no one is being silly or simpleminded,
there has simply been a "failure to communicate" :-)

Repeating what I said earlier, others are invited to try to
persuade you and me to grant a sort of "subsidiary rights"
to our creations, but, say, the creatures inhabiting my
piece of computronium don't have any rights from my perspective,
and obtain "rights" only when I grant them or the societies
that evolve there grant them.

> What are their rights, in your opinion?

In every case I know of, consideration of "rights" (except
for the technical term "legal rights") leads to disasterous
confusion and miscommunication. The term is usually employed
in a disingenous way by people who really believe "I approve
of X being able to do Y" but who find for rhetorical reasons
that it is more effective to claim that "X has the right to do Y".


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