Self-ownership [was Re: Raising kids]

Darren Reynolds (
Sat, 16 Aug 1997 22:27:45 +0100

At 16:06 15/08/97 -0700, Robin Hanson wrote:

>I suggest social shunning of people who seem to be torturing creatures
>substantially different from themselves. A positive prospect is that
>the most useful experiments will probably be best done on copies of
>yourself - that gives you the most info about improving yourself.
>So experimenting on creatures very different from yourself is already
>suspicious. Especially if those other creatures are smart enough do
>decide for themselves what experiments would help them improves
>themselves. The problem is experiments on "dumb" different creatures.


Today, we build computers to help us think.

Tomorrow, we will create devices which more capability to "think" (whatever
*that* means) than humans have today.

Will they be our slaves, and should their creators be shunned by society?

I went through a phase of being vegan (vegetarian pure) on the grounds that
I didn't want to get eaten by aliens who used the same excuse that humans
often do for cows and sheep. But then I figured: hey, in a thousand years'
time, I'll probably be able to create cows inside my own body at will.
Surely they will be *my* cows? And if so, then what difference that the
cows are in a field rather than in my body? Surely they are still *my*
cows? Hmm ...

I still don't eat cows (well, not much), but I wondered what you thought
about it. And, since the reasoning seems the same, whether you think that
tomorrow's computers should be called slaves.