Modern Faustian Bargain

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ucim
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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby ucim » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:01 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:They're guesstimates based on nothing.
Then don't present them as facts. We already have somebody in the White House for that.

This is serious business.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:23 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:They're guesstimates based on nothing.
Then don't present them as facts. We already have somebody in the White House for that.

This is serious business.

Jose


It should have been clear from context that it was intuition. Without intuition, discussion is impossible. Don't be a dork.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Chen » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:33 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:It should have been clear from context that it was intuition. Without intuition, discussion is impossible. Don't be a dork.


But it was an argument against having to re-create a bunch of other consciousnesses to interact with your copied consciousness to ensure they couldn't realize they were in a simulation. The numbers definitely matter there. Simply waving it off with numbers you pulled out of nowhere is disingenuous.

The point is, if you can create human like intelligence and a simulated world where consciousnesses can reside without knowing they are just disembodied computer programs, why WOULD people need to copy YOU or others? Why not just create their own consciousnesses to play with (or do whatever with)?

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby elasto » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:43 pm UTC

I do get the question (even though Dr34m(4+(h3r is being a bit, um, 'assertive' with his interactions...)

If I can remember giving permission to be cloned into a simulation that appears identical to this world, I would always be wondering if I were the one in the simulation - with my fate in the hands of a potential madman. And if I suspected I had been cloned a billion times, well then it's a billion to one shot that I am in fact the original.

But the thing is, if such simulations are possible, then it is highly likely (almost certain?) that the original me was in a simulation all along too, with my fate likewise in the hands of a potential madman. So merely the existence of such a device would be worrisome.

[There's a brilliant Black Mirror episode that explores some of these themes. Anyone who hasn't watched all the episodes of Black Mirror get watching... It's genuine genius!]

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:22 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:It should have been clear from context that it was intuition. Without intuition, discussion is impossible. Don't be a dork.


But it was an argument against having to re-create a bunch of other consciousnesses to interact with your copied consciousness to ensure they couldn't realize they were in a simulation. The numbers definitely matter there. Simply waving it off with numbers you pulled out of nowhere is disingenuous.

The point is, if you can create human like intelligence and a simulated world where consciousnesses can reside without knowing they are just disembodied computer programs, why WOULD people need to copy YOU or others? Why not just create their own consciousnesses to play with (or do whatever with)?


I think the degree of effort required to pass the turing test is substantially less than the degree of effort required to actually create human-level consciousness. I further think that the amount of effort required to pass for human is proportional to the amount of time spent interacting with a given entity. This is what I was trying to articulate with my numbers, which are otherwise meaningless; that we don't spend significant amounts of time interacting with most people we see in a given day, not even talking to the majority of those we pass by. So an average simulation could consist of mostly very primitive pathfinding AI, a few linguistic expert systems, and only a handful of genuine human or above human intelligences, without cuing anyone in. Once the behavior of the individual is predictable, you know the exact amount of computation required to convince them they're in the real world. Why would you waste system resources making every single person you pass on the light rail or in the supermarket a fully conscious being?

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby SuicideJunkie » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:39 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:Why would you waste system resources making every single person you pass on the light rail or in the supermarket a fully conscious being?

I'm not entirely convinced that the real world bothers allocating such system resources either. Upper management seems to consist of a random number generator that time-shares the Markov chains once or twice per quarter.

And, hey! All these other people claim to be mostly extroverted and highly social, which drives up the estimated cost of the world being a simulation... but for all the people that I actually *know* exist, that's not true, and a simulation would be cheap.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby ucim » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:54 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:It should have been clear from context that it was intuition. Without intuition, discussion is impossible. Don't be a dork.
This is Serious Business. If it's intuition, say "I think most people {whatever}". Don't say "95% of the people {whatever}", injecting false authority into what you are spouting.
elasto wrote:if such simulations are possible, then it is highly likely (almost certain?) that the original me was in a simulation all along too
Not quite. The simulations would have to be perfect, complete, and bug-free for that to hold. The possibility of imperfection would place an upper limit on how deep the rabbit hole is, each layer degraded from the previous one in some manner, until the final layer can't hold up. Think jpeg of a jpeg.

And I'm not even considering boundary conditions.

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:we don't spend significant amounts of time interacting with most people we see in a given day [therefore much can be safely ignored]
The world is also chaotic, and tiny interactions can have profound effects. I'd venture that pretty much anybody who has reached adulthood can remember several such incidents in their own lives. I certainly can.
Spoiler:
A bit of a related tangent: I used to bicycle five miles along the same route during my college years (with the goal of getting to the same destination). I didn't pay much attention to the surroundings, but I'm pretty sure that if something was amiss, I'd notice. I wonder how much of a change would be needed.

I got part of the answer as a grade school child, walking home (six blocks) from school every day. Again, I knew the route and could navigate it, but I wasn't consciously paying much attention to the specifics of my surroundings. One day I took a wrong turn and found myself lost. Backtracking, it turned out that I noticed I was lost just three to five houses along the wrong street. While I don't remember having the aforementioned question in my mind at that age, my reaction to finding out how quickly I recognized the error indicated to me that I had in fact considered the question even at that age.

My takeaway is that superficial interactions aren't all that superficial.
I do agree however that the Turing test is not a good test for "human level intelligence".

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby cphite » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:17 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:So an average simulation could consist of mostly very primitive pathfinding AI, a few linguistic expert systems, and only a handful of genuine human or above human intelligences, without cuing anyone in. Once the behavior of the individual is predictable, you know the exact amount of computation required to convince them they're in the real world. Why would you waste system resources making every single person you pass on the light rail or in the supermarket a fully conscious being?


Because you have no way of knowing what individuals will be interacted with. Assuming that your clone really is a fully functional, true replica of the personality you've cloned, you would need to be able to predict with absolute certainly that they're not going to, for example, accidentally bump into someone in the supermarket and try to enter into conversation. That they're not going to notice that most of the people on the light rail seem "off" somehow. That they're not going to decide, completely on a whim, to phone someone they knew in college who they haven't spoken to in years. And so forth.

It's part of an even larger problem that you seem to also be missing, which is that not only does your world need to be realistic - it needs to be familiar. If we're really talking about a clone that is an identical personality to the original - same thoughts, same opinions, same memories - they're going to notice things that conflict with the world they're familiar with. A small detail here or there might go unnoticed - but a lot of small details, combined with people around them acting weird, combined with things missing you might not even know about, and on and on... even if they don't reach the conclusion that they're a clone living in a virtual world, they're going to know something is wrong - and once they know that, most people I suspect would be even more attentive to details.

And assuming that you (the original you) made a choice to be cloned, it would actually be even more difficult to hide the truth. For one thing, the most glaringly obvious, is that if there was anything significantly different about the virtual world - your relationships, lifestyle, career, whatever - you'd know immediately that things have changed. And even if the simulation did match reality, you would be even more prone to notice anything that was even slightly off about the scenario.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:27 pm UTC

I dunno man. The Mandala effect proves that people are able to live with the perception of massive unexplained changes without substantively altering their lifestyle, even if they do change their metaphysical views or whatever. And chaos is probably more quantifiable than we think. Plus, you could always choose to only begin simulating people during transitional phases in their life, like when they change cities, so that any new information they take in isn't conspicuous in its incongruence. I just moved to Seattle for instance. Knowing nothing about Seattle, I have no baseline against which to compare it.

Actually, if you're simulating someone I don't know why you would let things be randomly decided in real time anyway, instead of just analyzing what the statistical likelihood is of various different things and rolling for them ahead of time, then layering the actual consciousness on top of that, so that essence precedes existence. As long as there isn't too much statistical abnormality in a short term it should wind up being the same thing experienced internally.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby elasto » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:36 pm UTC

Or, if it's a simulation, just roll-back and twerk every time the clone realises something is off. It could even be an automated process.

This would also cover ucim's objection: If the universe rolls-back every time an error occurs, your past will, by your memory at least, have been bug-free by definition.

(And, anyhow, has the universe been bug-free to date? Maybe Jesus was a simulacrum that accidentally had 'god-mode' enabled...)

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:48 pm UTC

I have a hard time knowing how reported magical experiences would be simulated. Part of me hopes they're just taken literally, but it would have to be very context sensitive. Personally I think any magical experience that happens in private or under unverifiable conditions should have the highest verisimilitude that its subsequent reporting suggests. Otherwise you're just going to be simulating a whole bunch of people doing nothing in fancy robes for the most part, which is true even if magick is sometimes real.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby cphite » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:28 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:I dunno man. The Mandala effect proves that people are able to live with the perception of massive unexplained changes without substantively altering their lifestyle, even if they do change their metaphysical views or whatever.


It proves no such thing.

The Mandala Effect is about people misremembering events, or details of events, often collectively. It doesn't suggest, much less prove, that people are going to accept drastic changes to their own lives in the present; or even that they're going to accept changes to their most intimate and personal memories.

And chaos is probably more quantifiable than we think. Plus, you could always choose to only begin simulating people during transitional phases in their life, like when they change cities, so that any new information they take in isn't conspicuous in its incongruence. I just moved to Seattle for instance. Knowing nothing about Seattle, I have no baseline against which to compare it.


So let's say, for the sake of argument, you're a simulation living in the world previously described. Even if you don't notice the fact that 95% of the people around you are practically devoid of personality; you're never going to call an old friend? You're never going to wonder about some distant relative? You're never going to take a trip back home? You're never going to talk to a stranger?

Actually, if you're simulating someone I don't know why you would let things be randomly decided in real time anyway, instead of just analyzing what the statistical likelihood is of various different things and rolling for them ahead of time, then layering the actual consciousness on top of that, so that essence precedes existence. As long as there isn't too much statistical abnormality in a short term it should wind up being the same thing experienced internally.


That seems like an awful lot of work just to make a simulation of someone think they're living an ordinary life in Seattle.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:31 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:I dunno man. The Mandala effect proves that people are able to live with the perception of massive unexplained changes without substantively altering their lifestyle, even if they do change their metaphysical views or whatever.


It proves no such thing.

The Mandala Effect is about people misremembering events, or details of events, often collectively. It doesn't suggest, much less prove, that people are going to accept drastic changes to their own lives in the present; or even that they're going to accept changes to their most intimate and personal memories.


But there's ample evidence of exactly that, based on people's subjective reactions to the effect.

So let's say, for the sake of argument, you're a simulation living in the world previously described. Even if you don't notice the fact that 95% of the people around you are practically devoid of personality; you're never going to call an old friend? You're never going to wonder about some distant relative? You're never going to take a trip back home? You're never going to talk to a stranger?


I can't take a trip back home, because I'm homeless. I don't talk to anyone except through the internet, and 95% of the people around me are devoid of personality.

That seems like an awful lot of work just to make a simulation of someone think they're living an ordinary life in Seattle.


You're right. One hopes for more creativity.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby ucim » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:48 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:The Mandala effect proves that people are able to...
No. You are misremembering (and misspelling) the mandela effect. It is an observation that when people misremember things, they often do so in similar ways. To the extent that it's not simply an artifact of media, it says something (IMO) about the basic structure of memory. It says nothing about the basic structure of reality.
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:[Y]ou could always choose to only begin simulating people during transitional phases in their life, like when they change cities, so that any new information they take in isn't conspicuous in its incongruence.
As time goes on, incongruence grows. It will become noticeable.
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:...then layering the actual consciousness on top of that...
It's not at all clear that consciousness works that way.
elasto wrote:Or, if it's a simulation, just roll-back and twerk every time the clone realizes something is off. It could even be an automated process.
That would require exponential computing time as time goes on. Pretty soon the (simulated) universe would halt. But hey... immortality!
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:I have a hard time knowing how reported magical experiences would be simulated.
You'd have to know beforehand whether the "magick" were real or not. If it were real, you simulate the real thing. If it's not, and it's "just a dream", then you simulate the dream. That's what happens in real life.
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:and 95% of the people around me are devoid of personality.
That's an opinion based on superficial interaction with them. It's not reality.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:54 pm UTC

ucim wrote:No. You are misremembering (and misspelling) the mandela effect. It is an observation that when people misremember things, they often do so in similar ways. It says something (IMO) about the basic structure of memory. It says nothing about the basic structure of reality.


You're misreading me. It says something about what the average person perceives to say something about reality, and how they respond to it.

As time goes on, incongruence grows. It will become noticeable.


Not if enough tweaks are made based on accumulating data during this transitional period.

You'd have to know beforehand whether the "magick" were real or not. If it were real, you simulate the real thing. If it's not, and it's "just a dream", then you simulate the dream. That's what happens in real life.


What.

That's an opinion based on superficial interaction with them. It's not reality.


If you say so. But still, if superficial interaction breeds superficial impressions, and superficial interaction is consistent....

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Chen » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:03 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:I can't take a trip back home, because I'm homeless. I don't talk to anyone except through the internet, and 95% of the people around me are devoid of personality.


If that's the case, then sure you'd be more susceptible to your clone not recognizing they were in a simulation even if the simulation was less detailed than full on other consciousnesses. That's not going to be representative of many (if not most) people.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:10 pm UTC

I guess that would make me an ideal first rat through the maze.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby elasto » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:52 pm UTC

ucim wrote:That would require exponential computing time as time goes on.

Why so? (The universe doesn't need to exist after your death, and doesn't need to have existed before the present moment either.)

Ok, despite not understanding your objection, what about another fix: Instead of rolling-back the universe with a bugfix, just remove the person's memory of the bug having occurred - Men In Black style. People forget/misremember/form false memories all the time without assuming it has any deep meaning.

Maybe Alzheimer's is what happens when the simulation has so many bugs it has to wipe your memory virtually constantly to stop you noticing: You can recall memories from the distant past (when the simulation was less buggy) but become unable to form new ones...

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:17 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Maybe Alzheimer's is what happens when the simulation has so many bugs it has to wipe your memory virtually constantly to stop you noticing: You can recall memories from the distant past (when the simulation was less buggy) but become unable to form new ones...


Alternatively, it could be the literal corruption of computer memory from overaccess.

Similarly, the magical efficacy of chanting a single word or name of power over and over again might be derived from the effects of row hammering leading to access to adjacent memory, with strange side effects.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby ucim » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:02 am UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:You're misreading me. It says something about what the average person perceives to say something about reality, and how they respond to it.
That's not how I read it. People make errors in their memory of events, and they tend to make the same errors. That is the mandela effect. There could be many causes (such as the shared proximity of another input, like a song or an incorrect media report). It says nothing useful to this scenario.

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:[Incongruence will not grow to be noticeable] if enough tweaks are made based on accumulating data during this transitional period.
For some value of "enough", sure. That's tautological. But...

elasto wrote:Why [would it require exponential computing time as time goes on]? (The universe doesn't need to exist after your death, and doesn't need to have existed before the present moment either.)
Uh... no. You are in the universe. The real one (or at least one whose matrix you don't have access to).

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:What [is all this about magick].
Either the presumed magick that a person experiences is real or it isn't. If it's real, (i.e. there really =are= mystical spirits speaking in the person's ear), then it has to be simulated along with the rest of reality, and that's what you're doing anyway. If it isn't real, then it's a perception - a dream, as it were. Simulate that and you're done. People do have dreams and delusions.

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:If you say so. But still, if superficial interaction breeds superficial impressions, and superficial interaction is consistent....

Then... what? I'm saying superficial interaction may breed a reaction that is reported as superficial, but is actually deeper than you think. You need more detail to pull it off.

elasto wrote:what about another fix: Instead of rolling-back the universe with a bugfix, just remove the person's memory of the bug having occurred - Men In Black style.
Yeah, maybe... but I don't consider that a fix.

Anyway, I've lost track of the point of all this.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:29 am UTC

ucim wrote:Anyway, I've lost track of the point of all this.

Your consciousness is your soul, so is it worth is to, like Faust, sell (a copy of) your soul in exchange for immediate worldly rewards in this life, at the cost of unknown and possibly immeasurably negative consequences for your soul in another life?

I mean, obviously the answer is no, but it's kind of an interesting reinterpretation of the old mythological framing of the problem in terms of future technology instead.
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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:43 am UTC

ucim wrote:Either the presumed magick that a person experiences is real or it isn't.


Right by why/how would the person running the simulation know that? You've established that the possibility is binary (which I don't think is even true, but whatever). You haven't presented any argument at all for how a person running the simulation is supposed to know, case by case, which perceptions are owed to what phenomenon.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby ucim » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:24 am UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:Right by why/how would the person running the simulation know that?
You can't simulate what you don't know. If the person running the simulation doesn't know, then the simulation will probably be wrong. That's all there is to it.

If you don't know physics, you can't create Kerbal Space Program, no matter how many Star Wars fans you interview.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby elasto » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:28 am UTC

ucim wrote:Yeah, maybe... but I don't consider that a fix.

Anyway, I've lost track of the point of all this.

The point (at least as it understand it) was whether you, remembering that you once cloned your consciousness, can ever be sure if you are still the original you.

The point about rollbacks, memory wipes etc. is that they chip away at your confidence that you'd be able to conclude that you were in fact a clone (from seeing incongruities, inconsistencies etc. in the world around you.)

It's actually worse than that: There only needs to be a theoretical possibility of rollbacks, memory wipes and other unknown mechanisms in order to chip away at your confidence.

(However, I maintain that it still doesn't matter much: Given the assumption of this thread that perfect simulation machines exist, well, there's probably far far more simulated universes than real ones, so we're probably in one already, whether we make the deal or not.)

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Zamfir » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:51 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
ucim wrote:Anyway, I've lost track of the point of all this.

Your consciousness is your soul, so is it worth is to, like Faust, sell (a copy of) your soul in exchange for immediate worldly rewards in this life, at the cost of unknown and possibly immeasurably negative consequences for your soul in another life?

I mean, obviously the answer is no, but it's kind of an interesting reinterpretation of the old mythological framing of the problem in terms of future technology instead.

Of course, there's no need to posit magic technology to write a real-world version of the faust story. The deal can just be a period of power and fame, followed by real-world slavery for the rest of your real-world life.

There are plenty of such stories, but it's interesting that these stories always (or almost always) add some hint of magic. The Mefistofoles figure is not just a sadistic rich person. The story seems to get more interesting if he's a representative of a mysterious higher order. Which might not be explicitly the Christian pantheon, but at least a bit like it.

At a guess, the story works best if the later punishments are justified, if only a bit. They have to be more than the sadistic desires of Mefistofeles, they should be karmic consequences of the sins of the faust-figure. The sadism of Mefistofeles has to be in the temptation. After Faust has given in to the temptation, then Mefistofeles is fairly enacting the consequences of Faust own choices and actions.

For this to work, Mefistofeles cannot be simply a powerful person with the means to torture people. There has to be something vague in the background that limits Mefistofeles, so he can only torture people who deserve it.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:41 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Anyway, I've lost track of the point of all this.
Me too! God doesn't exist, so people in science forums try to come up with ways for God to exist! At least theists believe in the afterlife and redemption. Faust's soul had some value because of that.

What is the bargain in this case? As long as the original knows that he got off the table after the procedure then there is no Faustian Bargain. Who cares what the copy knows? This is the bargain the OP sold. My mp3 files are compressed copies. I copy and delete them at will. I care only that they retain fidelity to the source. I might have moral qualms about this scenario, but as long as no one cheats, why not? Nothing would change for me. And a lot of people already think the universe hates them. The copy itself faces no existential risk greater than the original.

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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Chen » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:55 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:What is the bargain in this case? As long as the original knows that he got off the table after the procedure then there is no Faustian Bargain. Who cares what the copy knows?


Forgetting the philosophical implications, you've created a copy that knows ABSOLUTELY everything you do and given it to someone else. If the person is malicious there's a lot of risk with that information, just practically speaking.

morriswalters
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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:55 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
morriswalters wrote:What is the bargain in this case? As long as the original knows that he got off the table after the procedure then there is no Faustian Bargain. Who cares what the copy knows?


Forgetting the philosophical implications, you've created a copy that knows ABSOLUTELY everything you do and given it to someone else. If the person is malicious there's a lot of risk with that information, just practically speaking.
I'm the center of the universe. But in the relative scheme of things I'm pretty sure that doesn't make me especially valuable in any definable way. There might be some value to me being the copy, in some sense it makes me ageless.

Chen
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Re: Modern Faustian Bargain

Postby Chen » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:28 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'm the center of the universe. But in the relative scheme of things I'm pretty sure that doesn't make me especially valuable in any definable way. There might be some value to me being the copy, in some sense it makes me ageless.


The information you know has value even if its just to steal your identity and/or resources. Consider akin to the typical grandparent scam that people use to swindle old people out of money on the phone. It'd just be the futuristic version of such. Your copy would just be software after it was copied so it could easily be manipulated/data mined for information.

Realistically it just makes the initial premise even less likely to be possible anytime soon. Computation power would have to absolutely enormous for this type of scanning technology to be in any way widespread. If not and its limited to building sized super computers or something, the risk of any individual being approached to be copied would likely be negligible.


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