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#1
Old 05-17-2018, 04:22 PM
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Morality and Westworld and Violence and Videogames

So, I think it is pretty well established that a vast majority of people will mindlessly slaughter AI in video games for a chance at phat lootz. I know there people that claim that violence in video games is bad, but I've never really felt that way or thought that the evidence really supports it.

At the same time, I'm watching Westworld, and, to me, what's going on there is unquestionably evil. Even if the hosts weren't sentient. There isn't a doubt in my mind that this kind of of environment would make a person morally depraved if they killed the hosts much like people go into dungeons and kill everything alive without a second thought. Does anyone doubt that?

I think the reason this is so obvious is because of the realism of the world and the AI (being indistinguishable from humans). The question is, at what point does realism make such activities go from "role-playing evil" to "evil-evil"?
#2
Old 05-17-2018, 04:27 PM
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When the AI is advanced enough to be a person, of course. And also when defeating the video-game monster means killing the AI, which there'd be no good reason for. After all, people now routinely play deathmatch video games against other humans, and there aren't any moral issues with that: It wouldn't be any different if the enemy avatar is controlled by a nonbiological person.
#3
Old 05-17-2018, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
When the AI is advanced enough to be a person, of course.
Isn't that his question in a nutshell though? When does that happen?
#4
Old 05-17-2018, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
When the AI is advanced enough to be a person, of course.
So at no level below passing the turing test would it be evil? Would it be evil if they passed the turing test (begging for their lives), but you were in a "video gamey" reality?
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And also when defeating the video-game monster means killing the AI, which there'd be no good reason for.
Well, let me give an example from my past video game playing experience. Back in the day, I played EverQuest, before there were instanced dungeons (much like WestWorld would be), so there was not a lot of content, and a LOT of competition. This meant that in order to get experience, you'd either need to go into a dungeon and wait in line to kill stuff (or be labeled a "kill stealer", which was as bad a thing you could do in the game) or get... creative.

So my wife and I decided to go kill city guards (somewhat akin to being cop-killers), which not only was suboptimal (worse loot) but also caused us to be attacked on sight in places people normally wouldn't be. We didn't really want to do that, we were pressured to do that. Somewhat akin to people doing bad things in real life because they are desperate.

If we're willing to go kill things in a video game for virtual rewards, I can imagine people would kill hosts in WestWord for "real" rewards.

Last edited by Ashtura; 05-17-2018 at 04:45 PM.
#5
Old 05-17-2018, 05:21 PM
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But you wouldn't even have access to the AIs to kill them. They'd be in some locked and guarded building in the middle of the facility. You could vandalize some bodies, but there's no reason for the AIs to be in the bodies.
#6
Old 05-17-2018, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
But you wouldn't even have access to the AIs to kill them. They'd be in some locked and guarded building in the middle of the facility. You could vandalize some bodies, but there's no reason for the AIs to be in the bodies.
I presume you mean in a video game? In WestWorld, the AIs appear to be separate entities (with separate "brains" - not entirely networked). But regardless of the mechanics, there has to be a point where what you're killing, and how you're killing it, is realistic "enough" to be damaging your psyche. Its pretty clear in WestWorld that almost none of the guests really think they're doing anything wrong, and I clearly think they are, but I can only see that from a perspective where VR is not as advanced.

Last edited by Ashtura; 05-17-2018 at 05:30 PM.
#7
Old 05-17-2018, 05:37 PM
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Chronos's point is that "killing" a sentient robot would be like "killing" your sentient human buddy when you're playing Call of Duty. OK, you killed him. But he's fine, because you only killed the cartoon avatar that he was controlling.

So why does shooting a robot body with a gun and watching the robot fall over mean you destroyed the sentient being that controlled the robot?

Yes, it makes some kind of difference, because when you shoot an enemy in CoD you're pressing buttons on a controller, not pulling the trigger on a real gun. So the feeling is completely different, and it could desensitize you to violence in a way that a video game doesn't. However, the moral issue of destroying an intelligent being is the same as shooting at a human-controlled player in a video game. You killed him, but he's fine.
#8
Old 05-17-2018, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Chronos's point is that "killing" a sentient robot would be like "killing" your sentient human buddy when you're playing Call of Duty. OK, you killed him. But he's fine, because you only killed the cartoon avatar that he was controlling.

So why does shooting a robot body with a gun and watching the robot fall over mean you destroyed the sentient being that controlled the robot?

Yes, it makes some kind of difference, because when you shoot an enemy in CoD you're pressing buttons on a controller, not pulling the trigger on a real gun. So the feeling is completely different, and it could desensitize you to violence in a way that a video game doesn't. However, the moral issue of destroying an intelligent being is the same as shooting at a human-controlled player in a video game. You killed him, but he's fine.
Except your buddy in CoD is consenting to the possibility of being "killed" by you, by being there in the first place. One of the reasons EQ had separate PvP and PvE servers, is there were players that were very much opposed to being killed by other players. Most players, in fact.

Your buddy also knows being "killed" is rather meaningless, and that is assuming there are few stakes like in CoD - you could theoretically have a game where you could lose years of work from dying.

Even if they aren't sentient (and in the case of WestWorld, I would think that was questionable), the AI isn't consenting to even being there. Plus they're screaming and crying and doing things your buddy wouldn't do in CoD.

Last edited by Ashtura; 05-17-2018 at 05:47 PM.
#9
Old 05-17-2018, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Except your buddy in CoD is consenting to the possibility of being "killed" by you, by being there in the first place. One of the reasons EQ had separate PvP and PvE servers, is there were players that were very much opposed to being killed by other players. Most players, in fact.
Was that about morality, or more because they were being annoyed by jerks (or just people who were better at the game than they were)?

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Even if they aren't sentient (and in the case of WestWorld, I would think that was questionable), the AI isn't consenting to even being there. Plus they're screaming and crying and doing things your buddy wouldn't do in CoD.
There are video games, though, where the cartoon characters do scream and cry and such while the human player is virtually "killing" them. I know Postal 2 wasn't popular, but I don't know that anyone was made less moral because of playing it. For that matter, there have got to be videos on YouTube of CoD players whining and crying when their character gets killed, and it's presented for laughs, not empathy.
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#10
Old 05-17-2018, 06:05 PM
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Example of a CoD player completely losing it, and frankly it makes me want to kill him more and I don't even play CoD.
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#11
Old 05-17-2018, 06:10 PM
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Was that about morality, or more because they were being annoyed by jerks (or just people who were better at the game than they were)?
I'd say more of thats not the way they wanted to play the game. They didn't want to play against humans, they wanted to cooperate with humans. I'm sure there were multiple reasons. Back when the game first game out, if you got killed in an inconvenient place, it was possible to lose all your stuff. Stakes were much higher in that game than modern ones.

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There are video games, though, where the cartoon characters do scream and cry and such while the human player is virtually "killing" them. I know Postal 2 wasn't popular, but I don't know that anyone was made less moral because of playing it.
Okay, so I guess the question is this. Suppose you are in a place like Westworld, but you know absolutely nothing about what's going on behind the scenes, other than your "opponents" are AI and not entirely human. The AI seems very human however. After multiple visits, you notice that opponents that been killed have been "respawned", suggesting they weren't really "killed."

Is it morally wrong to kill them?

I seem to be getting the feeling it's only wrong if you have knowledge that the AI has some level of sentience and suffering, being stitched back together from piles of dead bodies in the backroom, and maybe not even wrong then?

Last edited by Ashtura; 05-17-2018 at 06:12 PM.
#12
Old 05-17-2018, 06:52 PM
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Maybe this should be moved to GB or IMO.

Last edited by Ashtura; 05-17-2018 at 06:53 PM.
#13
Old 05-17-2018, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Lem
"Trurl! Our perfection is our curse, for it draws down upon our every endeavor no end of unforeseeable consequences!" Klapaucius said in a stentorian voice. "If an imperfect imitator, wishing to inflict pain, were to build himself a crude idol of wood or wax, and further give it some makeshift semblance of a sentient being, his torture of the thing would be a paltry mockery indeed! But consider a succession of improvements on this practice! Consider the next sculptor, who builds a doll with a recording in its belly, that it may groan beneath his blows; consider a doll which, when beaten, begs for mercy, no longer a crude idol, but a homeostat; consider a doll that sheds tears, a doll that bleeds, a doll that fears death, though it also longs for the peace that only death can bring! Don't you see, when the imitator is perfect, so must be the imitation, and the semblance becomes the truth, the pretense a reality! Trurl, you took an untold number of creatures capable of suffering and abandoned them forever to the rule of a wicked tyrant! Trurl, you have committed a terrible crime!"

"Sheer sophistry!" shouted Trurl, all the louder because he felt the force of his friend's argument. "Electrons meander not only in our brains, but in phonograph records as well, which proves nothing, and certainly gives no grounds for such hypostatical analogies! The subjects of that monster Excelsius do in fact die when decapitated, sob, fight, and fall in love, since that is how I set up the parameters, but it's impossible to say, Klapaucius, that they feel anything in the process— the electrons jumping around in their heads will tell you nothing of that!"
#14
Old 05-17-2018, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Okay, so I guess the question is this. Suppose you are in a place like Westworld, but you know absolutely nothing about what's going on behind the scenes, other than your "opponents" are AI and not entirely human. The AI seems very human however. After multiple visits, you notice that opponents that been killed have been "respawned", suggesting they weren't really "killed."

Is it morally wrong to kill them?
How is that the question? The people playing games know that they're games and the characters who visits the fictional WestWorld know that it's WestWorld. If you want to remove some of the knowledge from the situation, you have to adjust your expectations of morality, since the absence of knowledge makes morality moot.

Quote:
I seem to be getting the feeling it's only wrong if you have knowledge that the AI has some level of sentience and suffering, being stitched back together from piles of dead bodies in the backroom, and maybe not even wrong then?
Thing is, we'll never really know if the AI has sentience and suffering or just a really really really good simulation of it.
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#15
Old 05-17-2018, 08:13 PM
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At Westworld, how do you know who is a robot and who is another tourist? Killing tourists is wrong, though I'm not immediately sure why.
#16
Old 05-17-2018, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Palooka View Post
At Westworld, how do you know who is a robot and who is another tourist? Killing tourists is wrong, though I'm not immediately sure why.
That's actually an important question that has gone unanswered - if the guests are permitted (indeed tacitly encouraged) to fully indulge themselves in murder, rape and assault, how do you prevent one guest from hurting another?

The only hint we get of this was when Teddy intervened when William (at the time known only as the Man in Black) menaced Robert with a knife. Even if this is a typical response whenever any human threatens another human, there are going to be times when no host is close enough to act, and somebody is going to get stabbed. Certainly there are going to be moments when female guests get groped, if not flat-out sexually assaulted, by other guests who mistook them for hosts - and how could you tell the difference, really?
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#17
Old 05-17-2018, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
How is that the question? The people playing games know that they're games and the characters who visits the fictional WestWorld know that it's WestWorld. If you want to remove some of the knowledge from the situation, you have to adjust your expectations of morality, since the absence of knowledge makes morality moot.
Really? I don't know. For a line time people thought blacks were subhuman and didn't think twice about enslaving them. Were they immoral or just ignorant? Also you could consider the self harm to your psyche from doing these terrible things to be immoral.

As viewers we know more more about what's going on than the typical guest I think. The only guest that I think knows as much as the viewer, ìf not more, is William. I sense conflict in him. Especially this season. Spoiler territory. He winced and grimaced when the bartender got his arm blown off. When Lawrence's wife got the nitro treatment, he seemed quite uncomfortable. I am not sure he believes they are sentient though as we are seeing in Dolores and Maeve.


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Thing is, we'll never really know if the AI has sentience and suffering or just a really really really good simulation of it.
You could say the same thing about animals.
#18
Old 05-18-2018, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Really? I don't know. For a line time people thought blacks were subhuman and didn't think twice about enslaving them. Were they immoral or just ignorant? Also you could consider the self harm to your psyche from doing these terrible things to be immoral.
It's possible to do them and not feel any particular self-harm to one's psyche, if there is social acceptance and support for what you're doing. Slaveholders have been coping pretty well, I expect, for thousands of years.

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You could say the same thing about animals.
Heck, people have said that about other people, which makes me doubtful we'll see recognition for computer sentience any time soon.
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#19
Old 05-18-2018, 09:34 AM
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Violent, even deliberately horrifyingly violent video games are fine as part of a healthy balanced diet, just like Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs can be part of a healthy breakfast, if the other parts are a grapefruit and twelve bran muffins.

Fighting your neighbor to the death in a gladiator ring is fine if you both are virtually guaranteed to be resurrected and you both are there voluntarily and it's not the activity that defines and molds your interactions with the rest of the world.

What's morally wrong in the particular is causing pain and suffering for your own benefit to any being capable of pain and suffering who're not consenting.

And what's problematic for society in the long run is having a diet so heavy in realistic desensitizing violence that it significantly changes your behavior in everyday life. But that has to do with more than the realism, there's also the kind of violence, the frequency of it, and your mindset going in.

They are separate questions.
#20
Old 05-18-2018, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by naita View Post

And what's problematic for society in the long run is having a diet so heavy in realistic desensitizing violence that it significantly changes your behavior in everyday life. But that has to do with more than the realism, there's also the kind of violence, the frequency of it, and your mindset going in.

They are separate questions.
Yeah, and I think, in WestWorld at least, that line has been crossed. In fact, I think that's a main point in the show. Even before Maeve and Dolores went "off script", I think the showrunners were making the case that what was going on there was seriously effed up. And I agree. MIB was always portrayed as a bad guy. William was portrayed as a good guy, until you learn he became MIB. And that happened because he flipped and dehumanized the hosts (he clearly had feelings for Delores before that) and started doing bad shit.
#21
Old 05-18-2018, 10:19 AM
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Does it change the OP's assessment if the human in Westworld is a White Hat or a Black Hat? (Let's assume for the moment the the AI robots are no more sentient than a toaster.)

In other words, if someone goes in there and defeats the evil AI sheriff terrorizing the town is the human unquestionably evil for doing so?
#22
Old 05-18-2018, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
Does it change the OP's assessment if the human in Westworld is a White Hat or a Black Hat? (Let's assume for the moment the the AI robots are no more sentient than a toaster.)

In other words, if someone goes in there and defeats the evil AI sheriff terrorizing the town is the human unquestionably evil for doing so?
Depends - is there teabagging involved?
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#23
Old 05-18-2018, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
Does it change the OP's assessment if the human in Westworld is a White Hat or a Black Hat? (Let's assume for the moment the the AI robots are no more sentient than a toaster.)

In other words, if someone goes in there and defeats the evil AI sheriff terrorizing the town is the human unquestionably evil for doing so?
This could be thought of as a fight between ethics of motivation or the ethics of consequence. But if the robots are toasters, there are no real consequences, so it boils down to whether the player is playing because it's an exiting game or because he or she enjoys how close it feels to going around killing real humans. Whether the goal of the game is good or bad _within the game_ is less important.

And if the robots are toasters it still doesn't make the player evil unless he or she is doing it as practice for mass murder.
#24
Old 05-18-2018, 11:09 AM
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Does it change the OP's assessment if the human in Westworld is a White Hat or a Black Hat? (Let's assume for the moment the the AI robots are no more sentient than a toaster.)

In other words, if someone goes in there and defeats the evil AI sheriff terrorizing the town is the human unquestionably evil for doing so?
Well, that's the questionable part. Is it objectively wrong, or is it subjectively wrong depending on the motivations of the guests?

I think white hat, or black hat, there is a difference between doing a historical reenactment, where everybody's 'in on it', and really splattering (or raping, for that matter, which is so obviously wrong to me I see little point in discussing it) somebody that is virtually indistinguishable from a human and not consenting to the system.

Knowing what I know (as a viewer), I would not go into Westworld. Even being witness to the stuff going on in there would make me sick.

OTOH, personally, as a viewer, would I feel less about a "bad" AI dying than say, Lawrence's wife and kid? Sure. But that's just a matter of suspending disbelief as a viewer, you're supposed to feel empathy for Lawrence's wife and kid. The show is emotionally manipulating you to do that.

As a matter of fact, I'm not so sure I "like" sentient Dolores, who has every right to be pissed off at the situation. Mainly because I vew Dolores as more ruthless and full of hubris. I definitely like sentient Maeve more than her. I don't know that that matters though.

Last edited by Ashtura; 05-18-2018 at 11:10 AM.
#25
Old 05-18-2018, 11:37 AM
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This issue has been argued for a very long time. The first good treatment of it can be found in "I, Robot." No, not the later book of that name by Asimov, but the original, written by Eando Binder in 1939, the first of a series of Adam Link stories (collected as Adam Link - Robot).

Binder does a remarkable job of thinking through the existence of an intelligent robot, from the instinctual fears of humans for a being stronger and smarter than they are, through a battle in the courts whether he should be treated as human, to the robots desire for companionship in the form of a female robot, to whether a robot can compete with humans in sports. Binder's on Adam Link's side, so Adam always wins, but he lays out the course that virtually everyone else has followed.

There won't be any real-world answers until there are real-world examples to provide specifics. Westworld is interesting, but phony and manipulative in many ways. If the androids were properly programmed and maintained, none of the issues raised by the show would exist in the first place, because no misbehaviors would occur. They'd become just another version of sex dolls. Those also raise issues, but they'll happen a lot sooner than Westworld will.
#26
Old 05-18-2018, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Really? I don't know. For a line time people thought blacks were subhuman and didn't think twice about enslaving them. Were they immoral or just ignorant? Also you could consider the self harm to your psyche from doing these terrible things to be immoral.
Did they?

In my opinion, you have cause and effect backwards in the case of American slavery. Whites didn't view blacks as subhuman, and therefore it was justifiable to enslave them. Rather, they enslaved them, and came up with the idea that they were subhuman to justify enslaving them. And in fact, the first justification for enslaving Africans was not that they were inferior, but that they weren't Christian. So go over to Africa and enslave a bunch of Muslim or Pagan people, and put them to work.

Except the slaves had this unfortunate habit of converting to Christianity when they found out that conversion meant freedom. So that justification had to be abandoned. So the reached for the arguments from classical times. Captive people were enslaved, and that was right because might makes right. If your city was conquered you might become a slave yourself. And so why do we enslave these Africans? Because we can. But that didn't sit well with the Enlightenment. So finally, in the 1800s, after hundreds of years of slavery in the Americas, came the idea that Blacks are naturally inferior and therefore natural slaves.

The notion that White people in the 1700 and 1800s thought Blacks were subhuman animals ignores the actual historical record. People wrote about this subject, there are documents and historical facts. And it just isn't true.

Last edited by Lemur866; 05-18-2018 at 11:39 AM.
#27
Old 05-18-2018, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
I think white hat, or black hat, there is a difference between doing a historical reenactment, where everybody's 'in on it', and really splattering (or raping, for that matter, which is so obviously wrong to me I see little point in discussing it) somebody that is virtually indistinguishable from a human and not consenting to the system.
What if allowing rape in Westworld (again assuming the androids are not sentient) means that person does not rape in the real world? They have an outlet for their desires and once met they can return to and function in society much better.

Is that bad?

This is more than academic. Some have suggested animated pedophilia might be a means to allow real pedophiles to find some outlet for their urges without harming anyone and, presumably, make it less likely they'd find a real child to assault.

I'm not sure I know the answer to that for myself. Animated pedo-porn is hard enough to get my head around. Imagining a pedo-Westworld makes me really uncomfortable. But it would seem better than the alternative of real children being sexually assaulted.

Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 05-18-2018 at 12:09 PM.
#28
Old 05-18-2018, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
There won't be any real-world answers until there are real-world examples to provide specifics. Westworld is interesting, but phony and manipulative in many ways. If the androids were properly programmed and maintained, none of the issues raised by the show would exist in the first place, because no misbehaviors would occur. They'd become just another version of sex dolls. Those also raise issues, but they'll happen a lot sooner than Westworld will.
It is not an issue of maintenance. It is Dr. Ford playing god and making the androids sentient behind the scenes that is the problem. Everyone else just wants non-sentient androids.
#29
Old 05-18-2018, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
What if allowing rape in Westworld (again assuming the androids are not sentient) means that person does not rape in the real world? They have an outlet for their desires and once met they can return to and function in society much better.

Is that bad?

This is more than academic. Some have suggested animated pedophilia might be a means to allow real pedophiles to find some outlet for their urges without harming anyone and, presumably, make it less likely they'd find a real child to assault.

I'm not sure I know the answer to that for myself. Animated pedo-porn is hard enough to get my head around. Imagining a pedo-Westworld makes me really uncomfortable. But it would seem better than the alternative of real children being sexually assaulted.
Well, I don't know. I do know that if WestWorld was real, and found out somebody I knew was raping host kids in Westworld, I would have nothing to do with them, regardless of whether or not it was "therapeutic." Not somebody I want within a mile of me and my family. I would also look very, very dimly on somebody doing that to "adult" hosts. I guess one of the reasons it seems more obviously wrong, is a lot of games are murder simulators, but very few dare to make rape simulators.
#30
Old 05-18-2018, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
1965:
Maybe you can read it anyway you want, but that quote suggests to me that it's wrong. Maybe it's just electrons going around in their heads, but electrons are going around in our heads too.
#31
Old 05-18-2018, 12:38 PM
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I guess one of the reasons it seems more obviously wrong, is a lot of games are murder simulators, but very few dare to make rape simulators.
Most games are not murder simulators. Most games you are the hero killing the bad guys who have it coming. There is a reason Nazis and zombies are so frequently used as foes in so many games because (almost without exception) we see them as things that need killing and we are righteous for doing so.

I remember the game Hatred which was a murder simulator. It was poorly received. No doubt there are others (Grand Theft Auto lets you murder) but more often than not you are cast as the good guy and while you are killing things you are not "murdering" your opponents.
#32
Old 05-18-2018, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
Most games are not murder simulators. Most games you are the hero killing the bad guys who have it coming. There is a reason Nazis and zombies are so frequently used as foes in so many games because (almost without exception) we see them as things that need killing and we are righteous for doing so.

I remember the game Hatred which was a murder simulator. It was poorly received. No doubt there are others (Grand Theft Auto lets you murder) but more often than not you are cast as the good guy and while you are killing things you are not "murdering" your opponents.
You and I play different games. In MMOs almost invariably you are invading the territory of somebody (who very often does not look anything like your character, so there is also simulated racial prejudice), unprovoked, and just killing everything alive. If it were a real scenario, it would be considered straight up murder, at least from the victim's point of view.
#33
Old 05-18-2018, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
You and I play different games. In MMOs almost invariably you are invading the territory of somebody (who very often does not look anything like your character, so there is also simulated racial prejudice), unprovoked, and just killing everything alive. If it were a real scenario, it would be considered straight up murder, at least from the victim's point of view.
Yeah but you can't really kill anyone. I would not call it murder when the person murdered comes back to life within seconds (or a few minutes maybe) which is what happens in an MMO. It is not a murder simulator. It is an inconvenience simulator.

And I play EVE Online where dying is about as brutal as it gets in an online game but you never lose your life, just your stuff.

Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 05-18-2018 at 01:10 PM.
#34
Old 05-18-2018, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
Yeah but you can't really kill anyone. I would not call it murder when the person murdered comes back to life within seconds (or a few minutes maybe) which is what happens in an MMO. It is not a murder simulator. It is an inconvenience simulator.
Right, so it's functions like westworld, except cleaner. Nobody has to go round up the bodies and stitch them back together at the end of the day. Spawn time 24 hours?

Now, let's say an amazing technology was developed that allowed me to read off everything you were about to say (suggesting you were a puppet with no free will), but yet you felt like you had free will, felt all five senses, felt like you were just as real as the next guy. And then somebody said "I'm gonna kill you now in a horrible fashion and desecrate your corpse, but don't worry, tomorrow you won't remember a thing," would you be okay with that? Would you consider that mere inconvenience?

Last edited by Ashtura; 05-18-2018 at 01:34 PM.
#35
Old 05-18-2018, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
In my opinion, you have cause and effect backwards in the case of American slavery. Whites didn't view blacks as subhuman, and therefore it was justifiable to enslave them. Rather, they enslaved them, and came up with the idea that they were subhuman to justify enslaving them. And in fact, the first justification for enslaving Africans was not that they were inferior, but that they weren't Christian. So go over to Africa and enslave a bunch of Muslim or Pagan people, and put them to work.
You do understand that not being Christian was equivalent to being inferior, right? Non Christians were either heretics or savages. Savages were inherently inferior and subhuman. They weren't separate categories.
#36
Old 05-18-2018, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
So, I think it is pretty well established that a vast majority of people will mindlessly slaughter AI in video games for a chance at phat lootz. I know there people that claim that violence in video games is bad, but I've never really felt that way or thought that the evidence really supports it.

At the same time, I'm watching Westworld, and, to me, what's going on there is unquestionably evil. Even if the hosts weren't sentient. There isn't a doubt in my mind that this kind of of environment would make a person morally depraved if they killed the hosts much like people go into dungeons and kill everything alive without a second thought. Does anyone doubt that?

I think the reason this is so obvious is because of the realism of the world and the AI (being indistinguishable from humans). The question is, at what point does realism make such activities go from "role-playing evil" to "evil-evil"?
It depends. Are you slaughtering "bad guys: to protect the innocent or to protect yourself? Then I dont see a issue. When you "go into dungeons and kill everything alive " you are supposedly killing evil monsters, monster who prey upon humans.


Or are you just being a murderhobo, committing atrocities as you see fit? Ala Grand Theft auto, etc? Then I can see how this teaches people to be less ethical.
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#37
Old 05-18-2018, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
That's actually an important question that has gone unanswered - if the guests are permitted (indeed tacitly encouraged) to fully indulge themselves in murder, rape and assault, how do you prevent one guest from hurting another?

The only hint we get of this was when Teddy intervened when William (at the time known only as the Man in Black) menaced Robert with a knife. Even if this is a typical response whenever any human threatens another human, there are going to be times when no host is close enough to act, and somebody is going to get stabbed. Certainly there are going to be moments when female guests get groped, if not flat-out sexually assaulted, by other guests who mistook them for hosts - and how could you tell the difference, really?
Supposedly, the guns turn magically into paintball guns when they shoot at a Guest. Which is damn silly- there is no reason to ever have the host have real guns.

However, the knives dont turn into rubber, and of course they have shown the Hosts have access to a craptonnne of nitroglycerin, and I dont see why they do or how a Guest would be immune to the blast.
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#38
Old 05-18-2018, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Right, so it's functions like westworld, except cleaner. Nobody has to go round up the bodies and stitch them back together at the end of the day. Spawn time 24 hours?

Now, let's say an amazing technology was developed that allowed me to read off everything you were about to say (suggesting you were a puppet with no free will), but yet you felt like you had free will, felt all five senses, felt like you were just as real as the next guy. And then somebody said "I'm gonna kill you now in a horrible fashion and desecrate your corpse, but don't worry, tomorrow you won't remember a thing," would you be okay with that? Would you consider that mere inconvenience?
You either have free will or you don't. You can program something (in theory) to mimic free will and agency. The android could beg and plead for its life, cry when hurt and so on and be a very convincing actor. But that is just an act. There is no sentience behind it. In which case you cannot do evil things to it anymore than you can to your toaster. Your actions might say something about you and your predilections that others might find disturbing but you have committed no evil act.

If the android is sentient then it is really no different than you doing whatever it is to another living being and should be judged accordingly.

Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 05-18-2018 at 02:05 PM.
#39
Old 05-18-2018, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Supposedly, the guns turn magically into paintball guns when they shoot at a Guest. Which is damn silly- there is no reason to ever have the host have real guns.

However, the knives dont turn into rubber, and of course they have shown the Hosts have access to a craptonnne of nitroglycerin, and I dont see why they do or how a Guest would be immune to the blast.
Yeah, it's silly. A guest most certainly could die. And I'm sure they'd have a waiver for that.

But I'd also bet that you could also stitch up humans a lot better than we can too.

What exactly are the hosts made of? The old ones are more like robots. Those white ones are supposedly "blanks", but the ones out in the park seem indistinguishable from humans other than superior strength and their lightbulb-like brains (and before this season, I thought they had regular brains kind of like in bladerunner).

Last edited by Ashtura; 05-18-2018 at 02:22 PM.
#40
Old 05-18-2018, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
You do understand that not being Christian was equivalent to being inferior, right? Non Christians were either heretics or savages. Savages were inherently inferior and subhuman. They weren't separate categories.
According to whom?

1537:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul III
[...]
The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God’s word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.

We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it. Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.
[...]
i.e., anyone advocating the enslavement of so-called inferior/heretics/savages was an official agent of Satan.

Last edited by DPRK; 05-18-2018 at 03:16 PM.
#41
Old 05-18-2018, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Supposedly, the guns turn magically into paintball guns when they shoot at a Guest. Which is damn silly- there is no reason to ever have the host have real guns.

However, the knives dont turn into rubber, and of course they have shown the Hosts have access to a craptonnne of nitroglycerin, and I dont see why they do or how a Guest would be immune to the blast.
That's covered by the "don't look to close" clause of all science fiction.
#42
Old 05-18-2018, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
According to whom?

1537:



i.e., anyone advocating the enslavement of so-called inferior/heretics/savages was an official agent of Satan.
Gosh, I'm glad you found that. I'm sure now that the millions of Native Americans enslaved, slaughtered, and forcibly converted in the 16th century have now been retroactively freed, resurrected, and paganized.
#43
Old 05-18-2018, 09:01 PM
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Enslaved, slaughtered, and forcibly converted by Officially Bad Guys. Certainly you will get no argument from me about the levels of hypocrisy and corruption of the Church or of self-professed Christians. They even say somewhere that murder is bad, and yet...

The only, admittedly obvious, point is that slavers and conquistadors needed to engage in some fundamental doublethink in order to justify their actions, since the victims not being Christian was no official or legitimate excuse for any kind of reprehensible treatment; they were real guys and had souls and everything, it even says so. Unofficially? I doubt that if each and every Native American had immediately and unequivocally declared allegiance to the Pope it would have made the least bit of difference.

In the context of this thread, for "non-Christian" one may read "robot".
#44
Old 05-18-2018, 09:23 PM
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I would say the real issue is not a moral one but a practical one.

If you're regularly indulging fantasies in a hyper real VR, it's possible you might get confused and forget for a moment that you're in the reality where actions have consequences now.

Without some design / regulations around that, I could see accidental killings becoming a thing.

Last edited by Mijin; 05-18-2018 at 09:24 PM.
#45
Old 05-18-2018, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
In the context of this thread, for "non-Christian" one may read "robot".
My favorite example from fiction is from Astro Boy. For those who don't remember their Saturday morning weirdly translated Japanese cartoons, a scientist creates a superpowered robot duplicate of his son who got killed. Somehow the brilliant scientist forgot that robots, unlike boys, don't age. When he finally realizes this - after ten years - he tells Astro Boy: “You’re not a human child. You’re nothing but a machine, like a refrigerator or a dishwasher.” Then he sells him to a circus. Of robots.
#46
Old Yesterday, 01:19 AM
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Posts: 4,373
I largely enjoyed the first season because I felt the moral conflict between treatment of sentient versus non-sentient was the entire point of the show. If the hosts are merely robots without feeling or sentience, then it it easy to accept their treatment. And if they are alive and sentient, then it is easy to accept that what people are doing to them is wrong. To me, the point of Westworld is touching on the edge where in some ways they are sentient (feeling pain, passion, love) and in other ways they are not (dialog that was written for them). The blurred line is what makes it interesting. Or at least did.
#47
Old Today, 12:37 AM
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They should do a Purge in World of Warcraft. One day where you can PvP at will, anywhere, in faction. And you cant come back to your character for a day.

It would be a fucking slaughterhouse.
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