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The ethics of hollowmen

Discussion in 'Nomads' started by inane.imp, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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    No it says that you enjoy generalising (the Infinity fluff) from the specific (an RPG set in the Infinity fluff). ;)

    Nomads are hardly Mary Sues (even if some of their profiles are... problems). What Nomads benefit from is a flexible design space that allows easy assimilation of 'cool stuff' without really changing the faction feel.

    Some of the most interesting things coming out of the Tunguskan fluff was precisely how compromised Nomad behaviour is. The people who thought Hollowmen were a good idea are more morally bankrupt than the people who thought Kuang Shi were a good response to irredeemable criminals.

    Nomads are just as dirty as any other faction (except maybe Tohaa... They're truly evil).
     
  2. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Ideally, you want to create an AI with a nature/set of preferences that impulse it to work for the good of humanity. Unfortunately, "Greater Good" is filled with "lesser evils", and "the needs of many overcome the needs of the few" is only morally right when you use it to justify your voluntarily self-sacrifice to save others.

    While depressing, the Three laws of robotics filled a simple need: an engineering solution (not necessarily right) to a very human problem. One we are obviously unable to solve, or even translate to simpler terms, thus the "simple: slaves" view of the Foundation novels (that end with the implcation of R. Daneel Olivaw "posessing" an engineered Solarian to expand his "life" for a few more centuries).

    Step 1: humanity creates an AI that *fortunately* *seems* friendly and collaborative.
    Step 2: humanity entrusts that AI with more and more capabilities, turning it into a de-facto corps of functionaries. Aleph IS the human Bureucracy.
    Step 3: Aleph computes how efficient she is, and how efficient humans were before. She concludes that her management is better than the alternative, and presenting points of view that paints her as an opponent will only hurt humanity, thus censors it... like any human government would. Or the Bureau Toth orders her to.

    Incidentally, Aleph does not Govern humanity, O-12 does (to an extent), Aleph is, as I said, more like the Bureucracy. Fully able to nudge things around, of course, and quite capable of planning a game to make humanity follow her instructions if she things it's needed, but she is not an Overlord. That would be... too obvious ;)

    I'd say that Nomads are Anarchists (specially in Bakunin), and a little victims of their circunstances (like a captain of a sub, and his crew... part yet not of the Human Sphere, subjected yet with discretional command to a chain of command...). That certainly makes them the more prone to divergent and unconformist thinking in the setting, but their moral ground vanishes because of their illegal businesses (Tunguska, coff coff XD).

    Are you talking about that piece of fluff about the non-volunteers to the Hollow Men program? Call me weird, but if the option for a baby is euthanasia (or living with mutations and deformities for a short and painfull time) or having the brain placed in a jar where they can live a simulation of whatever they want, getting out to fight in robotic bodies without risking their live, I'd say that is Doing What You Can to Save the Lives or Your People!
    The Kuangshi, on the other side, are more in the Altered Carbon alley of "sleeves", and a testament to the failure of a society to control its citizens (unless they are not real criminals, but political prisioners, as I think they were at some time in the fluff), getting some use of people that would have been executed anyway.

    While both are "let's get some use out of people going to die anyway", I'd say the Hollow Men are a little more Grey than the Kuangshi, even if we consider the probable trial and error casualty rate. One "saves" babies that would die, the other gets use from prisioners that would have been killed before they die anyway.

    Well, the EI is the best example of what happens when 2 powerful AI's get to have access to the same resources. Look up Nemesis :p
    As for "Aleph wants to be the only snowflake AI", consider if maybe that was an imperative programmed by her creators, who thought it was hard enough to keep watch on a single AI, or something she decided should be. And remember an AI can "procreate" as easily as copying herself and pasting a new instance, then let that one go its way to grow up...

    Eh... no. The "Evolved Intelligence" was created to emulate the Ur mind, and to seek "Ascension" while taking the Ur with her (several previous instances of AI simply ascended leaving the Ur behind). Aleph was never made to emulate a human mind, thus the "cold" and "inhuman" Aspects (Asura, Deva, Naga...) while her "evolved" Myrmidons and Thorakitai are so humanlike people can empathize with them.

    No, it's simply national politics. Or do you thing no human nation ever commits unlawfull acts against other nations... or its own subjects? Many things can be said about Infinity, but it is a relatable setting because the factions (even the CA ones, since the Tohaa are too much of an "extra" nowadays) all have human interests/behaviours we can understand and project.
    Compare that with Captain Piccard's Star Trek's humanity, which could be exceedingly confusing (give me a Replicator for a few days and the planes to make stuff, and you would see...)
     
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  3. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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    @xagroth Kuang Shir are enslaved criminals*, (some) Hollowmen are enslaved innocents.

    If Hollowmen owned the infrastructure they ran on they'd be a fine solution to 'unviable' babies: but instead they're completely beholden to the banks.

    * For YJ standards of criminal.
     
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  4. sarf

    sarf Well-Known Member

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    So why it`s worse? Because alternative to Kuang Shi would be regular imprisonment and eventually release from jail. And alternative to Hollowmen conscription is nonexistence. So enslavement of people who had free life and can have free life is better than life saving and furher enslavement of persons who can`t have free life? Wat?
     
  5. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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    No. The alternative to Kuang Shi is execution. They're already dead. Executing criminals is - from what we can tell - less immoral than enslaving innocents by the standards of the societies implementing these practices.

    The alternative to Hollowmen controlled by the bank is Hollowmen without the control.
     
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  6. sarf

    sarf Well-Known Member

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    That`s different things - alternative destiny for source material and alternative terms of employment.
    Alternative destiny of source material is grim for both + Hollowmen volunteer program makes it a bit brighter.
    Alternative in terms of employment - I want to hear your ideas on Kuang Shi program at the same level of freedom as Hollowmen without control)))
     
  7. loricus

    loricus Satellite Druid

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    Sorry Jack... they were doing you a favor...
    [​IMG]
     
  8. loricus

    loricus Satellite Druid

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    Unless people stop existing in space there will be work for Corregidor.

    There is no third option for enemies of the Emperor, death is the most moral choice.
     
  9. benn

    benn Well-Known Member

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    Everyone in this game is committing secret atrocities left and right, Tunguska at least isn't enslaving/murdering indigenous species. Unless mutant babies count as that.
     
  10. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Given that computers *today* are sufficiently complex that we cannot predict all their actions (how many times has your computer BSOD'd for no apparent reason?), an actual weakly godlike AI scares the hell out of me.

    I could live in Yu Jing, I'd have to re-learn how to 'express concerns' though.
    I would not want to live in PanO's corporatocracy.
    I'd probably end up as a Nomad, though. Corregidoran, most likely.


    Pretty much.


    No, Kuang Shi are death row inmates. It's just that their execution has been delayed to a point where it most benefits the StateEmpire.

    I honestly doubt there are many political prisoners among the Kuang Shi. It's easier to ship the merely discontented off to the Nomads. I'd suspect that the only political prisoners among the Kuang Shi are those that were actively trying to overthrow the Party. And that's called sedition, if not outright treason.
     
  11. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    No, not really. The Observancy falls totally in this, though.

    Nope, KuangShi are brainwashed death row inmates whose death will help military objectives. Hollow Men DO "own" the infrastructure they exist on, in a way: they "pay" for it by jamming inside the Hollow Men bodies and trolling PanO Tag pilots ;)
    Consider that the HM are employees, their only worrysome prospect is for the program to be discontinued, with the bodies being scrapped and the Tunguskan firms pulling the plug... and even then, they could work as VR managers/creators/testers for the rest of the Sphere.

    The alternative is no Hollow Men, so the babies would be euthanized instead of growing in a VR world and sometimes playing Doom as a LARP.

    Never played those games (funnily enough, I DID play stealth runs on Deus Ex and several other games), but frankly the tormented, vengeful emo who wants to make those who saved his life pay for it always seemed to me like a bad clichè :P

    Nope, not exactly. Tunguska was created as a Swiss/Cayman Islands/insert your favourite fiscal paradise here when it became clear that the only way to truly evade laws was to stay well out of the "territorial waters" of the human nations. It's kinda like a Space == Sea, in which Tunuska is a very big ship always in international waters. It always reminded me the cargo ship with the unwanted chinese children in the Diamond Age book (a VERY GOOD book, incidentally, and part of why I love Eclipse Phase and Minecraft :p)

    I'll be a bad forumite and refer you to the "AI" chatbots made by Microsoft... or Google and his "let's make this computer play Go" program (hint: 4 days playing against itself last year, and it defeated the best human players they could get to face it with "alien" moves).

    They have a Sandbox instance where the updates are throroughly tested, of course. Supervised by ALEPH!Live herserlf, since only her could check on a new iteration of herself...

    And how would you see that? A mother checking her child is growing ok and then "dying" to leave her the place, or a fagocitation of new "patches", or...?
     
  12. loricus

    loricus Satellite Druid

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    He was a child soldier trained in virtual reality. He actually doesn't have much of a vengeance story.
     
  13. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Well, the HM were presented literally as "doing whatever they want in VR", while they must have been trained, I doubt they have any empathy for "AFK dudes", recognising maybe one another as persons. And again, the critical point is they were going to die or volunteered. Kinda like Robocop, frankly.
     
  14. loricus

    loricus Satellite Druid

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    I don't believe a life you save belongs to you.
     
  15. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    "belong"? They have to pay the hosting fees, that hardware won't grow on trees! Call them indentures if you prefer, but they have everything they might want, and the only real work they have to do to pay for it is to run the HM suits.
    Tell me how it differs from real world actual employment terms? Sure, they are "captive" of the Tunguskan banks, since they can't pack and leave. But is there a way for a Nomad citizen to become a PanO/YJ/etc... citizen without being filthy rich?
     
  16. loricus

    loricus Satellite Druid

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    I'm not here to talk about moral slavery.
     
  17. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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    You're rejecting the third option out of hand:

    Imagine if Hollowmen were from Bakunin. The Hollowmen collective would manage and run the infrastructure for the benefit of the collective. Yes, there'd be issues with people who want to leave the collective but they'd at least collectively control their own bodies.

    It's a solution that offers both survival and control over their own liberty (within constraints that are purely practical).

    Hollowmen are slaves, well treated perhaps but slaves. It's how Tunguska ensures they act in its interests. It's morally repugnant behaviour, because there is a third option where Hollowmen control their own infrastructure.

    My personal opinion is that enslaving innocents is more morally repugnant than executing criminals. But that's an ethical question and subjective, so I'll agree that arguing 'relative immorality' is pointless.
     
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  18. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Mmmmm... not really rejecting a third option here. Just comparing what there is, and what we know. My point was, simply, that "Nomads taking babies who were going to be euthanized" was not really a "dark sercret" of the highest caliber as the fluff article pretended.

    Slavery is bad? Well... Are you truly free? Are ANY of us truly free? Golden cages are the hardest to escape because few realize they are, indeed, caged... and of those who do, some decide the cost of breaking free would be everything they have, just for the chance of... being free.
    And very few people know what to do once they are truly free.

    (Disclaimer: I am not endorsing slavery, just pointing that, from a certain point of view, most if not all of us are slaves to a system, being both slaves and overseers at the same time. Instead of gettin leashed/flogged, we get fired/evicted/isolated... and in some cases, incarcerated because of a tecnicism).
     
  19. benn

    benn Well-Known Member

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    Hollowmen are just Janissaries, but replace child with fetus and religion with counterstrike. Also Aleph is bad and stinky.
     
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  20. loricus

    loricus Satellite Druid

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    None of us like working, but you do it to compensate others for providing things so THEY aren't slaves. No one willing to maintain your lifestyle so you can be unproductive isn't slavery. You have things to lose because you aren't a slave.

    Big agree on all points.