11 June 2011

Eternal justice, after all?

I've written before about the prospect of uploading human minds into computers, allowing us to achieve not only true immortality and unlimited increases in intelligence, but also a vastly-richer sensory and sensual existence. There's the further possibility (far more speculative) that subsequent technological advances will allow us to bring back people who have died. The desire to achieve this, and hence the willingness to invest in the necessary research, will certainly be very strong. Loved ones we thought lost forever could be with us once more. The great geniuses of the past could live and create again. And why should any person miss out on the infinite possibilities of the post-Singularity world just because he or she had the poor luck to be born a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand years before it was achieved?

All of that is obvious enough. But what about the problem of evil?

The question is bound to arise eventually. The human drive for justice will make it seem especially worthwhile to restore those whose lives were cut short by murder, whether by small-time predators or by the great mass killers of history. But what about those killers? For justice means more than merely making the innocent whole. It means punishing the guilty.

The time will come when the monsters of the past, from the least to the greatest, will be dragged forth from the oblivion into which they thought they had escaped, to stand before the bar of history -- and face the testimony of their victims.


Anonymous Sherry Peyton said...

Or perhaps by then, we may have learned true compassion and may seek to restore wholeness to diseased minds that did unspeakable things in the distant past. Perhaps we truly will let go of our desire for vengeance and retribution. Perhaps we will be satisfied in not receiving our pound of flesh. Just a thought. :)

11 June, 2011 08:34  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

I fear that if MY mind were uploaded into a computer, someone would need to stand by frequently to hit the [Ctrl][Alt][Del] keys.

11 June, 2011 09:47  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SP: Maybe, but I think this is a sentiment most likely to be felt by people other than those who suffered at the hands of such evil-doers. And compassion toward those who themselves feel no compassion is misplaced.

RtS: Don't worry, upgrades will be easy to get.

11 June, 2011 12:42  
Blogger Tommykey said...

The great geniuses of the past could live and create again.

And we could ask the Founding Fathers if they really meant for the 2nd Amendment to permit American citizens to own assault rifles or pistols with clips that hold more than 10 bullets.

11 June, 2011 12:56  
Anonymous nonnie9999 said...

good thinking, tommykey! we can also ask paul revere what he was doing, ringin' them bells and warnin' them british!

11 June, 2011 19:05  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I think people like Galileo, Newton, and Darwin would be impressed at how their successors have built on their work and carried it forward. In politics, there has been a lot of progress too, but of course some of our modern high-profile idiots aren't the best representation of that.

12 June, 2011 04:40  

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