I'm not sure if this question is appropriate here, nevertheless, the
most direct way to find out is to ask it :)
Clearly, creating AI on a computer is a goal, and generally we'll try
and implement to the same degree of computational"ness" as a human.
But what would happen if we simply tried to re-implement the
consciousness of a cat, or some "lesser" consciousness, but still
It would be my (naive) assumption, that this is arguably trivial to
do. We can design a program that has a desire to 'live', as desire to
find mates, and otherwise entertain itself. In this way, with some
other properties, we can easily model simply pets.
I then wonder, what moral obligations do we owe these programs? Is it
correct to turn them off? If so, why can't we do the same to a real
life cat? Is it because we think we've not modelled something
correctly, or is it because we feel it's acceptable as we've created
this program, and hence know all its laws? On that basis, does it mean
it's okay to "power off" a real life cat, if we are confident we know
all of it's properties? Or is it not the knowning of the properties
that is critical, but the fact that we, specifically, have direct
control over it? Over its internals? (i.e. we can easily remove the
lines of code that give it the desire to 'live'). But wouldn't, then,
the removal of that code be equivelant to killing it? If not, why?
I think the differences are
1) we generally cannot kill an animal without causing it some distress
2) as long as it is alive it has a capacity for pleasure (that's why we
euthanize pets when we think they can no longer enjoy any part of life)
3) if we could create an artificial pet (and Sony did) we can turn it
off and turn it back on.
4) if a pet, artificial or otherwise, has capacity for pleasure and
suffering we do have an ethical responsibility toward it.
Apologies if this is too vague or useless; it's just an idea that has
been interesting me.
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