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The ethics of hollowmen

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

  1. Cratesbane

    Cratesbane Well-Known Member

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    The most obvious comparison I can draw to the HMs in ALEPH is the Posthumans, the most obvious difference being that they're mental copies of humans, with backup copies housed somewhere on Maya. Copies that become increasingly arrogant. Computers don't transfer files, they copy the information and delete it- leading me to wonder what exactly ALEPH does with the 'pre-posthumans.' Of course, rezzed cubes aren't any more human than the posthumans. HMs actually have a ship of Theseus thing going on, as long as the ship is instead a smashed hot rod sitting in the front lawn that will never actually be repaired. I suppose using cubes, or copies of cubes for something like HMs might lead to another Outrage style incident.

    As to ALEPH's limitations, if we hadn't seen a few recreations (Yojimbo, Wallace, Saladin, Sun Tze, Musashi) or a few aspects (Perseus, Thrasymedes) rebelling or seemingly acting against ALEPH's interest, I'd be willing to go along with the idea that she's as limited as claimed. Certainly, all those aspects and recreations could be part of a 4th dimensional chess game. And while the most 'eccentric' aspects tend to end up in Steel Phalanx, I'm not sure I've seen anything that suggests something like a Naga, Marut, Krakata, or Rebot don't have their own personalities or quirks. (And while I'm at it, "In a word, Danavas are Maya’s Gestapo." Those're. Strong words to use, in light of the kempeitai rumblings) I'd argue that ALEPH in fact hides several of those 'less optimized' choices from loyal PanO/YJ citizens, but I wouldn't argue they can't make moral/immoral decisions.
     
  2. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Recreations, and maybe the created personalities in the Steel Phalanx, are constructed by Aleph... to order. If the orderer never ever asked for the same chains Aleph has to work under to be applied to the recreations, then those recreations (or at least some) can be less restricted than her maker, thus allowing Aleph to play a "message in a bottle" kind of game with those. And they didn't really rebel, they just followed their imperatives to the logical conclusion, aside from those altered by other forces (Avicenna, and maybe Perseus). Thrasymedes is in a very particular spot, since he was made as an homage for Nevsky's cartoons (the myrmidon always firing a rocket launcher at Achilles).

    As for the SSO aspects, those are "partials" of Aleph, kinda like the doll of GitS Innocence that helps Batou at the end is a copy of Kusanagi... without A LOT of what makes her Kusanagi (both in mind and extras/software programs like fighting, shooting, hacking...). So those are as limited as Aleph, and their "quirks" and "personality" are just emulations to facilitate interactions with humans.
    Which is one of the reasons for the posthuman program: what better way to understand humanity than to assimilate some volunteers? They are then send as separated copies, remotely controlling bodies (the interesting question is why posthumans don't have Cubes while other aspects of Aleph don't? Well, that and why do they get Remote Presence as part of Jumper, since by not having STR the only thing they get is Courage...).
     
  3. Dragonstriker

    Dragonstriker That wizard came from the moon.

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  4. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, non-volunteer hollowmen are very squicky.

    Point of order: There is no indication that the Hollowmen are deliberately damaged. It's "only" a way of giving someone who might not otherwise survive birth a way to live. I'd rate that as being an approximation of a good thing, see also Anne McCaffrey's Ship Who Sang et al.

    The slavery-squickiness comes later.


    You really need to take some abnormal-psychology (or criminal psych) classes. Young Children (3-6ish) are the literal textbook example of sociopathic behavior.



    You really need to watch the whole thing, but I can understand not being able to watch the whole series in a single binge. There are some seriously painful scenes in there. And it has excellent corollaries to the Infinity setting, what with a single 'AI' overseeing the entire civilized sphere and all.
     
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  5. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    I don't know of any indication* that any fetus or baby is saved via this technology out of goodness of Tunguskan hearts. The lore does not support this kind of social welfare. The fetuses and/or babies are "recruited" to the Hollowmen.


    I stand corrected.

    Oh, I did not yet encounter anything like that, and I'm not very sensitive that way. In fact, that may actually be the most interesting thing I heard about the series. I just couldn't get into any of the characters nor the (immediate) plot, so I kinda lost interest. The main character especially is/was annoying. I may still continue watching, but we'll see.

    Anyway, I don't think watching Psycho Pass is a necessary precondition for discussing this topic.
     
  6. kinginyellow

    kinginyellow Well-Known Member

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    Sorry. Didnt mean to imply that they did mentally damage the fetuses. I was (failing at) using an example of that situation to explain how I see the removal of the sense of reality to the hallowmen on what that means from the position of the hallowmen himself.

    And abnormal/criminal psychology classes actually sound really interesting.
     
  7. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    It's not exactly social welfare in the Ship Who Sang, either.

    The shellpeople are saddled with an enormous debt to pay back for the costs of saving their life and bringing them up. I'm talking "take most of the rest of your life to repay" levels of debt, for people that live for hundreds of years. The Ship Who Sang made enough money off of her singing (much of which you need to be another shellperson to fully appreciate, as her 'singing' also encompasses electromagnetic frequencies) that she was able to buy out early, but otherwise it's 150-200 years to pay off your 'shell indenture. And that's working in intensely technical, high-paying jobs like starshipmaster, space station ops manager, or planetary manager, not some mere gun-for-hire like a Hollowman. Sure, you are free to take any 'shell job you want after you pay off your indenture, but until then you spend most of your life in a pretty damn shitty location, doing things that should be handled by an AI or Expert System. Or doing rather high-risk jobs like scoutship or courier.

    Oh, sure they dress it up pretty to sell to the parents as "it's not slavery, really!" and "your child will live!" But it's still really damn squicky.
     
  8. kinginyellow

    kinginyellow Well-Known Member

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    That has intrigued me greatly. Time to go look into this book.
     
  9. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    @Section9 That sounds like a really interesting novel, will take a look.
     
  10. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    That's why we call it "indenture", and nothing else. There is a debt, and they pay it by working as Hollow Men. That, we can assume safely. Reaching "slavery" or "freedom" extremes, however, are at this point pure speculation (it is not mention anywhere if the HM can opt out, and Tunguska can, as I said, offer the option since the benefits from staying in HM program are nearly infinite...).

    Well, the first half of the first season is very "this is how the country runs", that is always... slow, and hard to follow. Then we start discovering backstories, and how there is no single protagonist, but three (and ultimately, one), with one antagonist... that at the end is not really all that horrible by comparison (he's still a psychopath and a monster, but the situation is one of "inmates running the asylum" at the end). After the half, it starts running really fast, and the last 2 episodes or so are where the real "meat" of the series is, integrating some tropes ("obsessed detective", "falling from grace", "recruit turns veteran", etc...) seamlessly. I haven't watched the second season, however.
     
  11. loricus

    loricus Satellite Druid

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  12. Cratesbane

    Cratesbane Well-Known Member

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  13. sarf

    sarf Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, but life-time corporate contracts would happen all the time in such corporate-centrist state as PanOc.

    Also tell ateks about their rights))
     
  14. loricus

    loricus Satellite Druid

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    I've never described PanO as anything but a hellscape.
     
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  15. sarf

    sarf Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough)))
     
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  16. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Amazon link to the series, 7 books in it.

    When you get to The City Who Fought, I think you will like Simeon. He's a gamer like us!
     
  17. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Reading the full article is more revealing than sensationalist fragment of the introduction, you know ;)

    Indentured labour (since "Indenture" is something else entirely) has been considered a form of slavery, true, because it has been abused historically. Indenture labour, however, also covers an apprenticeship when you cannot pay for it and you sign a contract to remain as apprentice for a time... We have a word for it in Spanish (Becarios! Or people who works for free to learn the ropes, which has been abused by the companies widely. It was famous a few months ago when a chef declared that the "haute cousine" in Spain was not viable without that figure... which prompted a legal sh*tstorm that was hide very fast, since the Spanish law forbids the cathegorization of "becario" for positions that are needed for the business... so they could only fill "surplus" positions from where to look and learn, or practice with a supervisor).

    So, again, on the laws: The Nomad Nations evade those, by being their own nation (so they can say "indetured labour is legal here", like Haqquislam has said "we saction Hassassin assassinations" (allow me the redundancy xD)

    On the moral part, Indentured Labour is the same thing as getting a loan from a bank (at least, in Spain, were the legislation is so nice that even if you get stripped of all you want to return the money to the bank, if you fell short you still have to pay that. So let's say you got a mortgage on your house, then you were fired after 20 years with only 15 to pay -it's that shitty, and during the bubble it was worst, the joke was "you will inherit the mortgage"- and the market is with house prices on the floor... after everything you still own 30.000€ to the bank: you still have to pay for it, and anything you earn past 400-500€ or so goes there FIRST. As a curiosity, the minimum wage is aroud 750/month and I pay an incredibly low rent in Madrid of 657€/month). So you are stuck until you repay.

    Granted, abusive clauses and treatment are inmoral. But assume the HM are living the dream, and sometimes they have to "farm" for premium stuff by running this limited and shitty game with NPC's who know barely anything about pulling a raid, but at least the enemies are few and varied...

    Anyway, I could give arguments until next year, but I'm one of those freaky people who sees things as tools, and tools are not inherently evil, the way they are used can be. But to say that the Hollow Men coming from babies that would die in stillbirth is the darkest secret of Tunguska? Worst things have been shown from the Black Labs in Bakunin, and nobody batted an eye.
     
  18. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    How are these things even related...

    What you describe is not indentured labour, it is unpaid labour. There's quite a difference. In that indentured servants are literally NOT ALLOWED TO STOP DOING IT UNTIL SOME NEBULOUS CLAUSE IS MET. Unpaid labour is where you yourself choose to stay in hopes of getting a proper job. It's easily abused, and can in some ways turn into something similar to indentured labour, but it is still universes apart.

    Not to mention that I heard it's quite hard to have a fetus or even a baby sign any valid contract in civilised nations.

    ... sigh. You really keep missing the point. We are mentioning laws here merely as a way to provide universally accepted definitions of terms we are using, not as something applicable to Nomad Nation.

    No. This line of "claims" has been attempted by capitalists again and again and NO. Indentured servitude is not the same thing. It is a false equivalency. I'm also pretty sure that you could always choose to surrender the house to the bank that would be it. Or declare bankruptcy and get rid of everything. Otherwise I would recommend you to simply sue the bank at ECJ level.

    And you can't inherit it without wilfully accepting the debt unless you actually personally signed for it as a guarantor.

    In any case, given that Hollowmen were "recruited" as children or even before they were persons (fetuses), NO. They are raised in inhumane ways to create dependent child slaves. You know what it remind me of?
    Unsullied. Maybe Aleph needs to create Daenerys to free them?

    Yeah, yeah. The "paradise" life. Maybe if you chose it yourself.

    I don't know any worse things, actually. There's close - Pupnik slavery for example - but I don't know anything else even close.
     
  19. jherazob

    jherazob Well-Known Member

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    It greatly deserves it's own separate thread, it's an interesting topic worth discussing, but indeed here is derailing the original one :)
     
  20. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    Probably, although I am exhausted already by discussion here. XD