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Author Topic: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?  (Read 3607 times)

jecowa

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #90 on: January 12, 2018, 10:15:08 am »

Dwarves feel joy and pain. You shouldn't torture them.
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KittyTac

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #91 on: January 12, 2018, 10:27:12 am »

Dwarves feel joy and pain. You shouldn't torture them.

Their mood is controlled by just 2 numbers. I can torture a few zeroes and ones however I want.
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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #92 on: January 12, 2018, 12:10:08 pm »

Dwarves feel joy and pain. You shouldn't torture them.

There's only 2 values that control a dwarf's mental state. If changing 8 bytes of computer memory is somehow torture to you, you should throw out your computer in shame, because by submitting your post you have sent as much as a kilobyte.
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Whatsifsowhatsit

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #93 on: January 12, 2018, 01:23:45 pm »

Except DF characters don't use machine learning. They aren't sentient. I can torture them all I want.

I know, and I agree (like I said), I'm just saying it's not a general rule that something that is not programmed in explicitly can never find its way into some AI. Since you said "It can't be otherwise", it sounded like a general statement, is why. But if you meant specifically for Dwarf Fortress because there is no machine learning in it, then sure.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #94 on: January 12, 2018, 03:43:07 pm »

This is a fun argument that may at some point in the future become relevant, once we create real AI.

It only has to look like real AI, it does not actually have to genuinely be such to be a problem. 

That being said, let me pose the following suggestion: The quality of being an entity that experiences existence (for the sake of brevity, this concept will be referred to as "conscious") cannot be tied to any particular degree of complexity.  Otherwise, any particular point of complexity you choose to "draw the line" will be completely arbitrary.  Is an ape conscious?  A human infant?  A dog?  A lizard?  A plant?  A bacterium?  An atom?  All are entities that respond to their environment in some sense, the only difference is the complexity with which they do so

Relative complexity is actually not relevant.  Responding to your environment is also not sufficient proof of consciousness, some reactions of conscious beings are reflective in nature. 

No entity in the material world has consciousness, consciousness is an immaterial thing that bonds itself to material things as far as they fit the requirements for such bonding, possibly in the process become *a* consciousness rather than consciousness in general.  To that effect what probably matters is not how complex the thing is but the precise details of how it is organized.  We know that humans are conscious, we do not know that apes, dogs, lizards, plants, bacteria or atoms are conscious.  Nor can we in any definitive way, the problem is that could does not imply is. 

It is possible for a lizard to be conscious in the same fashion we are, this is because the structure of a lizard is roughly equivalent to that of a human.  A plant however lacks a similar structural organization to ourselves, this means that we have no reason to think there is such a thing as a plant consciousness.

The key structural is here is the relationship between objects and their parts, the house and the brick.  If there is a means to centralize information so that the creature can act *as* as a whole rather than simply all the parts acting separately and adding up to a whole in the final result then we have a basis for consciousness (of the sort we have). 

Therefore, I suggest the following: Everything is conscious.  Consciousness is a fundamental property of reality itself; the degree of an entity's experiential consciousness is reliant on how much information it is capable of storing.  An electron "stores" only a few bits of data - its own energy state - and its responses to input are extremely simple - it can absorb or emits a photon.  A human being is considerably more complex.  But there is no qualitative difference between them.

This suggestion will be rejected, since it flies in the face of certain things we take for granted.  For example, that the killing of conscious entities is wrong.  But the entire idea of right and wrong are non-physical in nature.  These are human concepts.

No, consciousness *is* the unreal and the imaginary, it is quite anathema to reality; it is not the basis of reality for certain, that would amount to declaring reality unreal.  Same with right and wrong, those concern not what is but what should be, which are again by definition anathema to reality.  There is no way to draw an ethical conclusion simply from a material fact, the fact is what the fact is. 

The reason why we consider some things to be right and others to be wrong is because these beliefs work.  Societies that consider wanton murder of other humans unacceptable outlive those that do not, and so the taboo against murder is nearly universal.  It is risky to uproot traditional morality for the same reason it is risky to perform invasive surgery on someone - these systems evolved over many generations of trial and error as we as a species worked out which beliefs work and which ones don't.  Sometimes the reasons are obvious, other times, less so.  Sometimes a better system may exist, and so societies evolve and refine their views on morality; other times a society may think it is advancing forward when it is in fact a non-viable mutant; history weeds these out as they come.  It is impossible to be certain until after the fact.

We determine what counts as 'working' in according to our ethics.   :)

If it is as it 'should be' then it worked, if things are not how they 'should be' then it didn't work did it? 

Why do most societies consider the murder of a human wrong, while killing animals is typically less looked down on?  It isn't because of any intrinsic quality that makes it "wrong" to kill a human; it is because a human can be reasoned with.  If we both agree not to kill each other, we can work together and build a society instead of fighting.  Therefore societies where people agree not to kill each other are more successful than those which do not.  For the same reasons, it has often been considered acceptable to put people to death who refuse to follow this "agreement".

Killing animals is less looked down upon because society is based upon killing animals.  The society considers the supreme ethic to be it's own survival, not the survival of individual human beings let alone animals.

Of course, humans being creatures of pattern-making and metaphor, it is only logical that we should draw analogy between members of our own society which follows our own laws and foreigners or criminals, or even species that in some way resemble us.  Exactly where we draw the line is, again, arbitrary; it is a quirk of human thought, or perhaps motivated by other, more complex systems - killing criminals, foreigners, or animals can train a person to be less empathetic, which can be detrimental to a society, so perhaps certain societies have "learned" that it is better not to kill.

It is not arbitrary.  Either you are a conscious being or you are not, there are no levels of consciousness in existence since any conscious experience means you are a consciousness.  We infer based upon the similarity of others to ourselves that they too are conscious, the alternative is to have mechanical models to explain away their behavior. 

Back to the ethics of DF and AI in general:

Whether it is wrong to kill a vaguely simulated dwarf, or a complex "real" AI, or hit backspace and delete a letter in a post, has nothing to do with whether or not the destroyed entity is "conscious".  What matters is what are the ramifications of doing so on the society that considers it to be ethical or non-ethical?

Does playing a realistic FPS, or fighting game, or slowly mutilating an elf in Adventure Mode make a person less empathetic?  Will this lack of empathy cause detrimental effects on society?  Or does it serve as catharsis and make people less likely to go out and perform such actions in reality?  I would argue it does both, but at any rate the effects on society seem to be pretty negligible, so for now our society seems to go with [KILL_VIRTUAL:ACCEPTABLE][TORTURE_VIRTUAL:MISGUIDED]

And what about when we make real, practical AI that is on par with ourselves intellectually and (most importantly) doesn't want to be killed (this is an important clarifier; I do not believe a desire to live is intrinsic to life or even intelligence; we simply evolved that way because it allowed our ancestors to survive).   Well in that case, a society that decides that abusing robots is OK is probably less likely to survive than one which grants them equal rights.  So in that case, we will probably decide that destroying such an AI is wrong.

But we aren't there yet, and it certainly doesn't matter for DF, so by all means, kill all the virtual dwarves you like.

I am glad you understand what I was saying earlier.

Catharsis is not a concept that has an real credibility left.
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dragdeler

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #95 on: January 12, 2018, 08:09:49 pm »

We know that humans are conscious, we do not know that apes, dogs, lizards, plants, bacteria or atoms are conscious.  Nor can we in any definitive way

While I totally get that, it's so "I can know nothing outside of myself because it's all just a product of my perception" that I'm going to say: if you're seriously as dense as to stipulate that to the letter, I'm opening the door to all doubts about every human actually being bestowed with conscience, I swear to Armok. (not in your particular case, but given humanity's recent history)
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KittyTac

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #96 on: January 12, 2018, 08:32:53 pm »

I'm surprised this didn't devolve into petty insults. Well done, Bay12! :)
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Rolan7

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #97 on: January 12, 2018, 08:56:50 pm »

Your face is a petty insult!

Does playing a realistic FPS, or fighting game, or slowly mutilating an elf in Adventure Mode make a person less empathetic?  Will this lack of empathy cause detrimental effects on society?  Or does it serve as catharsis and make people less likely to go out and perform such actions in reality?  I would argue it does both, but at any rate the effects on society seem to be pretty negligible, so for now our society seems to go with [KILL_VIRTUAL:ACCEPTABLE][TORTURE_VIRTUAL:MISGUIDED]
(Choosing just one paragraph to some up a very interesting post)
I think I agree that the only real concern with harming simulated entities is the effect on us, as real people.  Simulation doesn't create new realities any more than books do.

I'm not sure how to put this objectively...  I have done a lot of killing and torturing in video games.
Usually it's just silly fun, or almost passively as part of a narrative.  Even when games have nice graphics, there's such a disconnect between mook-enemies and actual people.  Usually.

Occasionally a game will actually try to humanize enemies.  If the game actually gives me a choice, then often I find myself uncomfortable killing them.  There's still a massive disconnect between that and real life, but it can have emotional impact like a good book or movie.

And yet I love shooting HL1 scientists to within an inch of their HP, then killing them with the impact of a thrown grenade.  Or chasing them into barnacles.

I think what I'm thinking is...  [KILL_VIRTUAL:ACCEPTABLE][TORTURE_VIRTUAL:ACCEPTABLE], but only when it's funny.  To the player, not to me :P  If *you* feel okay with it, have at it!
And it's okay to feel kinda bad about your actions in a game.  That's a sign of a good story, maybe.
If something really bothers me, though, I'm going to stop.

wierd

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #98 on: January 13, 2018, 03:19:42 am »

The HL1 scientists had it coming though.

i mean really, starting the day with "Look who showed up, Mr I should have been in the test chamber half an hour ago", after they KNOW how long it takes to ride that damn tram, and that it operates on a fixed schedule.  If Freeman could have made it go faster, I am sure he would have.  But no.

Also, did they use that half hour of downtime to properly check their experiment? No-- they blither endlessly about how they had to rush to get the sample ready, and cut corners. 

Which is it chumps?  You had a half hour of downtime waiting for the specimen delivery specialist--- Of you rushed the job?  Clearly, it was the latter, because that Resonance cascade failure did not cause itself, now did it?  Nope. Definitely had nothing whatsoever to do with pushing the system way outside design tolerances. Absolutely not. Dont give me that sobstory about how nobody could have predicted it-- your erstwhile colleagues in the oberservation room were white knuckled and frowning about this exact thing from what they saw in the numbers, but they did not scrub the experiment, no sir.

So, when they get eaten horribly by a head crab, sucked up into a barnacle, or chased around by shriekers, I just enjoy all the poetic justice they clearly had coming to them and enjoy the show. (At least, thats what I did when I played HL1 anyway. I might see about running it on the chromebook, it should be within spec...)

(Similar experience when I read the terminal text in the Bethesda made Fallout games. Those people DESERVED the bombs that fell on them.)

Now, torture undeserving virtual entities? No. I dont see the point.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 03:23:39 am by wierd »
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KittyTac

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #99 on: January 13, 2018, 03:29:49 am »

Because it's pretty fun, especially if you're in a bad mood.
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dragdeler

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #100 on: January 13, 2018, 06:11:22 am »

especially

if

you're

in a

bad

mood


Don't get me fucking started on HL1 you ride that shit train for half an hour only to get stuck at the first fucking door in that room with the scientist corpse... Whatever stupid shit was supposed to be so fucking obvious I never got past it. Now I'm reading steam users fix that by checking game files for corruption. Oh fuck me, fuck the universe, fuck everything in it, and fuck my stupid fucking dwarves that keep building from the wrong side of the downramp forcing me to spend 8 ingame months on about 60 minecart tiles that are not in tiletypes. Fuck procrastination. And fuck RL doors, yeah fuck RL doors too >:(.



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I'm surprised this didn't devolve into petty insults.

Better? Guys you need to include a triggerwarning for HL1... the second one was great tough. Let's hope you may at least get some fun out of mocking me.
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Dozeb˘m Lolumzalýs

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #101 on: January 13, 2018, 12:37:12 pm »

If you think of save files and .xmls etc as alternate dimensions bound by the same principle rules (and those created extraneously) every-time you play they are their own little existence and there are both events abstract in and after the natural course of time which we would refer to as world generation, where did the world and all the things that exist come to be as central unanswered questions. For a matter of fact when you stop playing time is quite literally frozen for the world inside until by action of the player you resume.

Somewhere on people's hard-drives in the untraceable post-deleted 'ghosts' of files (even if you tried scrubbing your hardware with a magnet) there are entire generated worlds completely paused in the motion of their programmed 'lives' or in the middle of dying horribly in the face of !Fun! for they have ceased to be and remain, we ourselves would not know the moment of our own demise as the concept of time is also a construct of our brains to make chronological order of past, present and future.

If the universe is vanilla, what is DFhack? Divine intervention? In my mind its as ethical as killing lobsters with boiling water, a personal preference on your attitudes on killing animals or increasingly elaborate synthetic intelligence instantly being more humane as a comparison to killing them in a way that infers suffering, as we actually get closer to self aware and self-protection conscious machines (like skynet at worst case) it will be more of issue on digital intelligence rights i think.

This is possible, but it seems far more likely that every single possible world-iteration exists at the same time. In this case, you cannot control whether Happyutopia or Boatmurdered is instantiated; they will both exist.

(Also, the worlds would not pause if you stop playing.)

"But," my rhetorical opponent says, "if this is true, it is likely that all logically possible universes exist; the same argument can be applied to our own reality as well. In that case, self-centeredness is the true philosophy and you should be absolutely greedy, only helping others if it helps you." My response is that this is pretty much how we already act; altruistic people altruize because it makes them happy/feel rational to do so.

So basically: do whatever makes you happiest, in DF or in life. If you like seeing dwarves burn - there are no consequences, unlike in real life. Go ahead!
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #102 on: January 13, 2018, 03:34:37 pm »

While I totally get that, it's so "I can know nothing outside of myself because it's all just a product of my perception" that I'm going to say: if you're seriously as dense as to stipulate that to the letter, I'm opening the door to all doubts about every human actually being bestowed with conscience, I swear to Armok. (not in your particular case, but given humanity's recent history)

Conscience or consciousness?  ???

I said "we know" because naturally in order for there to be any point in actually speaking I have to assume the existence of other conscious beings not because I am certain other humans are conscious by any means ;), the problem is that there can never be any direct evidence for the consciousness of others.  *I* could be living in a single-player game where everyone else is just a bunch of NPCs and somehow forgot this; that means there is now no ethical difference between how *I* treat NPCs in video games and in real-life.  The other beings are scripted to respond as though they were conscious, but that is all that is going on. 

I am not stipulating that what is outside of ourselves is a product of our perception.  What I am saying is that our experiences are in themselves 0% real, that is say consciousness has no reality to it.  The real then is unknowable to us, we cannot know what actually is, only that there *is* a real.  We know that there is a real because if everything were a consequence of our perception, it follows that we can bend spoons with our minds like Neo in the Matrix, or rather make them vanish into thin air (we can't do either).  It is not that we know that there actual spoons out there, we know that there is something out there which we have no control over which causes us to perceive the existence of spoons. 

That is material reality, which is eternally unknowable, it may be a single unified object that appears as many objects or it may be an infinite number of objects of which we see only a small portion.  There are only two certainties, that I exist and that something else out there exists; but if I had godlike powers then I would be able to conclude only that only I exist.  Other people fit into the category of the real, except that they do not.  The other people appear *as I do to myself*, which leads me to understand that they too are unrealities and hence exist as people rather than as simply the appearance of objects. 

This concept that there exist other unrealities other than my own tied to the same unknowable reality is undermined by the differences between myself and others.  The more similar they appear to be to me, the more basis I have to conclude their constituting separate unrealities.  This comes to play rather well when we deal with non-human creatures, the less similar they to ourselves the less reason there is to assume that they are actually conscious. 
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dragdeler

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #103 on: January 13, 2018, 05:31:00 pm »

We do agree then, I was merely stating that if you say you say you can't conclude conscience in animals, there is nothing allowing you to draw those conclusions in other humans either.
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KittyTac

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Re: Is playing dwarf fortress ethical?
« Reply #104 on: January 13, 2018, 09:05:33 pm »

Meh, video game characters are inferior to humans or even bacteria, so there are no ethical repercussions for killing them. Well, according to my ethics. I don't know about yours.
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