Re: MORALITY: making tradeoffs (was: a topic we will not discuss)

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Mon Sep 17 2001 - 12:31:10 MDT

There is also another facet to this which Michael Wiik brought up which
is good ole plain survival. We all know that technology is evolving to
put more and more power into the hands of individuals and small groups.
Putting 4 airplanes into the hands of the terrorists is just a very small
example of what is potentially coming. Are we forced to throw out our
principles when faced with this situation, where we cannot wait for a
"tat" to defect because it may end the world? We aren't there yet, but
we may be as we near AI, nanotech, and more advanced forms of biowarfare.

For now I throw my view behind what the government (and even Eliezer)
is apparently suggesting: a prolonged war against terrorists specifically
and any governments that are actively supporting terrorists. I do not
believe it makes any sense to deviate from this task to do "retaliation"
against bystanders in any countries, and I don't think our government
is planning that anyway. My long term concern though is 10+ years out
from now do we have to take these measures even farther. Does the
prisoner's dilemma break down when the cost of a defecting player ends
the game or in general suddenly becomes much more costly for the other

Brian Atkins
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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