David Nyman wrote:
> I don't know whether these issues have been given an airing here, but
> I have a couple of thoughts about whether we're really 'in the
> Matrix', a la Nick Bostrom.
> Firstly, a moral issue. At least at the level of public debate, in our
> (apparent?) reality there is considerable sensitivity to interfering
> with fundamental issues of human freedom and dignity, and of avoiding
> where possible the infliction of unnecessary suffering, either to
> humans or other sentient organisms.  It seems to me that if we are to
> take seriously the idea that significant numbers of advanced
> civilisations would 'simulate' us in the 'feelingful' way we
> (or at least I) experience, that significant moral issues are raised.

A good point.  It was also raised by Stanislaw Lem in one of his Cyberiad
stories. Trurl is asked to solve the problem of a sadistic king who tortures
his subjects.  He does this by creating a simulated kingdom in which the
king can satisfy his sadistic urges by torturing simulated subjects.  But
when Klaupacius questions him about this, he discovers that Trurl has
provided the simulated subjects with feelings - since the king coulds not
enjoy tortuing beings that didn't "really" feel anything.  Klaupacius points
out that this is just as bad as before and Trurl has done an unethical thing
in creating this simulation.

Brent Meeker

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