Re: How can we deal with risks?

Dan Clemmensen (
Thu, 30 Oct 1997 22:39:06 -0500

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Holger Wagner <> writes:
> > 1) Today, humans are by no means perfect. They have a certain idea of
> > what they do and what the consequences are, but it happens quite often
> > that something "impredictable" happens. If you apply changes to the
> > ecologic system, can you really predict what consequences this will have
> > in the long run - and would you take the responsibility?
> We cannot predict the long-term consequences of our
> actions. Period. But we can do our best to avoid bad effects, and I
> think we are responsible for all our actions.
This is all true, but it misses a critical point: is there a moral
difference between acknowledging responsibility for your action,
and acknowlegding responsibility for your inaction? In particular,
if we fail to innovate, population increase will destroy the existing
global ecosystem. If we continue to innovate along existing rate curves,
we are very likely to reach a point at which a superintelligence
emerges. I feel that ignoring either of these potentially catastrophic
phenomena is as less morally defensible as the thoughtless introduction
a new innovation would be.