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Author Topic: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?  (Read 7912 times)

Zaphod

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Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« on: January 03, 2018, 09:50:45 am »

DF is just about the deepest simulation I've ever seen any where.
I don't need to describe how deep it goes, we all know. So I'll get straight to the point.

Is it ethical to simulate an entire world, with history, wars, people with feelings and so on then just to wipe the world and start over.

Are our dorfs simply philosophical zombies? Are they aware of what happens to them?

Is there a difference between being truly sentient and just being programmed to think you are?


Side note: I just binged on this season of Black Mirror, this seasons theme is how being a simulated being is a horrible existential nightmare. And it made me think alot about my dorfs.
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KittyTac

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 09:55:56 am »

The characters aren't sentient or alive. They can't think. They're just data. They're nothing. Killing things in DF is perfectly fine.

PlumpHelmetMan

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 10:36:21 am »

I'm inclined to agree with KittyTac. DF is an incredibly detailed fantasy world simulator and that's a large part of the reason it's such an amazing and entertaining game, but going into an existential crisis over its ethical ramifications is quite frankly ludicrous. It is and always will be just a game, regardless of how complex it gets.
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Ekaton

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 11:42:35 am »

Since they canít actually think, just act according to numbers, are incapable of feeling anything, and not present physically any moral questions are moot.
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Zaphod

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 02:00:06 pm »

But can not the same arguments be made about us?
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PatrikLundell

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 02:23:25 pm »

As far as we can determine we can think and have free will, as well as feel pain (unless, of course, "Zaphod" is just a bot). I know there are some religious/philosophical schools that claim this is an illusion (at least the free will part), and everything is predetermined and time an illusion. You can then make two choices: assume everything is pre determined, and you can act as despicably as you want, because it's not your fault, or make the opposite decision to assume that you actually do have a free will and (try to) act like a civilized creature. If your assumption is wrong in the first case you *are* a despicable creature worthy of the punishment you receive for your actions, while if you're wrong in the second case you didn't actually have any choice but to behave in a civilized manner.
There's also a discussion about when an AI would become sapient, but DF is not an AI in the first place.

The DF forum is not a particularly suitable place for pseudo religious discussions, however.
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VislarRn

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 02:40:31 pm »

Sentient dwarves with lifelike AI capabilities are not in the current development plan. Maybe after economy release though... Gotta put this to suggestion forum for Toady to see. ;D

Another problem lies in system optimization, because simulating sentient being with full consciousness and self perception in digital environment consumes more cpu power for certain. Lag would be terrible. I can't see any possibility for this 'til DF becomes multithreaded at least. :P
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Rekov

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2018, 03:24:12 pm »

When people refer to 'the hard problem' of consciousness, they mean that we still don't have any understand at all really of how consciousness comes to be. It's difficult to think of an obvious reason why machines aren't capable of consciousness, but it's fairly safe to assume that dwarf fortress entities don't have it.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 03:26:41 pm by Rekov »
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jecowa

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2018, 03:26:43 pm »

But can not the same arguments be made about us?

Humanity is just a bunch of data in in bio-degradable shells. Let's wipe the drive and start fresh with a clean install.

Another problem lies in system optimization, because simulating sentient being with full consciousness and self perception in digital environment consumes more cpu power for certain. Lag would be terrible. I can't see any possibility for this 'til DF becomes multithreaded at least. :P

Sentience would be a good candidate for multi-threading.
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bloop_bleep

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2018, 03:33:41 pm »

Dwarves in DF are not remotely close to even being 1% sentient. You might have overestimated exactly how deep DF goes. Dwarves' "thoughts" are nothing but simple triggers that raise or lower a single number variable depending on specific stimuli. If a dwarf's relative happens to die, the dwarf's stress goes up by a set value written in the code. Dwarves do not have complex emotional responses; they only sometimes "tantrum" or go "insane", both of which are exactly as mathematical and procedural as their thoughts. They cannot think deeply, either. A military dwarf, if they "see" a hostile creature, will immediately run it down with mechanical precision, whether or not it would be better to wait for their fellow militia.

It is completely ethical to play Dwarf Fortress, because the creatures with which we interact are not in fact creatures, but simply data being manipulated by deterministic processes. Killing somebody in this game (or in any game) does nothing but change a few bytes in your computer's memory. Not even close to killing somebody in real life.
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jecowa

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2018, 04:14:19 pm »

Dwarves in DF are not remotely close to even being 1% sentient. You might have overestimated exactly how deep DF goes. Dwarves' "thoughts" are nothing but simple triggers that raise or lower a single number variable depending on specific stimuli. If a dwarf's relative happens to die, the dwarf's stress goes up by a set value written in the code. Dwarves do not have complex emotional responses; they only sometimes "tantrum" or go "insane", both of which are exactly as mathematical and procedural as their thoughts. They cannot think deeply, either. A military dwarf, if they "see" a hostile creature, will immediately run it down with mechanical precision, whether or not it would be better to wait for their fellow militia.

It is completely ethical to play Dwarf Fortress, because the creatures with which we interact are not in fact creatures, but simply data being manipulated by deterministic processes. Killing somebody in this game (or in any game) does nothing but change a few bytes in your computer's memory. Not even close to killing somebody in real life.



Humans on Earth are not remotely close to even being 1% sentient. You might have overestimated exactly how complex sentience is. Human "thoughts" are nothing but simple triggers that raise or lower a chemical depending on specific stimuli. If a human's relative happens to die, the human's stress goes up by a set value written in the DNA. Humans do not have complex emotional responses; they only sometimes "tantrum" or go "insane", both of which are exactly as mathematical and procedural as their thoughts. They cannot think deeply, either. A policing human, if he "feels" threatened, will immediately shoot it down with mechanical precision, whether or not it would be better to wait for backup.

It is completely ethical to play Thermonuclear War or Murdering Hobo, because the creatures with which we interact are not in fact creatures, but simply data in disposable biodegradable shells being manipulated by a deterministic process. Killing someone in these games (or any games) does nothing but change a few bits of matter in the universe. Not even close to killing a dwarf in Dwarf Fortress.
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Ispil

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2018, 04:42:26 pm »

Dwarves in DF are not remotely close to even being 1% sentient. You might have overestimated exactly how deep DF goes. Dwarves' "thoughts" are nothing but simple triggers that raise or lower a single number variable depending on specific stimuli. If a dwarf's relative happens to die, the dwarf's stress goes up by a set value written in the code. Dwarves do not have complex emotional responses; they only sometimes "tantrum" or go "insane", both of which are exactly as mathematical and procedural as their thoughts. They cannot think deeply, either. A military dwarf, if they "see" a hostile creature, will immediately run it down with mechanical precision, whether or not it would be better to wait for their fellow militia.

It is completely ethical to play Dwarf Fortress, because the creatures with which we interact are not in fact creatures, but simply data being manipulated by deterministic processes. Killing somebody in this game (or in any game) does nothing but change a few bytes in your computer's memory. Not even close to killing somebody in real life.



Humans on Earth are not remotely close to even being 1% sentient. You might have overestimated exactly how complex sentience is. Human "thoughts" are nothing but simple triggers that raise or lower a chemical depending on specific stimuli. If a human's relative happens to die, the human's stress goes up by a set value written in the DNA. Humans do not have complex emotional responses; they only sometimes "tantrum" or go "insane", both of which are exactly as mathematical and procedural as their thoughts. They cannot think deeply, either. A policing human, if he "feels" threatened, will immediately shoot it down with mechanical precision, whether or not it would be better to wait for backup.

It is completely ethical to play Thermonuclear War or Murdering Hobo, because the creatures with which we interact are not in fact creatures, but simply data in disposable biodegradable shells being manipulated by a deterministic process. Killing someone in these games (or any games) does nothing but change a few bits of matter in the universe. Not even close to killing a dwarf in Dwarf Fortress.
I think you have a very misinformed notion of how the human brain works.
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Zaphod

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2018, 06:39:29 pm »

Humans on Earth are not remotely close to even being 1% sentient. You might have overestimated exactly how complex sentience is. Human "thoughts" are nothing but simple triggers that raise or lower a chemical depending on specific stimuli. If a human's relative happens to die, the human's stress goes up by a set value written in the DNA. Humans do not have complex emotional responses; they only sometimes "tantrum" or go "insane", both of which are exactly as mathematical and procedural as their thoughts. They cannot think deeply, either. A policing human, if he "feels" threatened, will immediately shoot it down with mechanical precision, whether or not it would be better to wait for backup.

It is completely ethical to play Thermonuclear War or Murdering Hobo, because the creatures with which we interact are not in fact creatures, but simply data in disposable biodegradable shells being manipulated by a deterministic process. Killing someone in these games (or any games) does nothing but change a few bits of matter in the universe. Not even close to killing a dwarf in Dwarf Fortress.
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I agree with this guys view TBH.

There is this idea of a thing called a philosophical zombie. It's basicaly just a robot that made to resemble a human in every way but lacks a soul or anything like that. But if it is programmed to think its alive and truly sentient.....is it truly alive and sentient?


If you took an insect and expanded its consciousness using cyberpunk wizardry to human or even further levels....is the resulting consciousness truly sentient?


« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 07:15:51 pm by Zaphod »
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KittyTac

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2018, 09:53:58 pm »

They do not know that they're in a simulation. But the point is moot, because they're dumb as bricks and are not sentient at all. If Toady hasn't programmed them to be sentient, they aren't. It can't be otherwise. They can't think or feel, their thoughts are only an approximation. I don't really care either way and regularly go on rampages.

jecowa

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2018, 09:57:46 pm »

They do not know that they're in a simulation. But the point is moot, because they're dumb as bricks and are not sentient at all. If Toady hasn't programmed them to be sentient, they aren't. It can't be otherwise. They can't think or feel, their thoughts are only an approximation. I don't really care either way and regularly go on rampages.

They know as much about the simulation that they're in as we know about the simulation that we are in.
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