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#1 2002-06-15 11:01:23

anansi
Member
Registered: 2002-06-14
Posts: 23

Re: Chimps on mars - what rights are purely human?

Recently I was daydreaming about using uplifted chimps on the mars base, like David Brin uses in [i:post_uid0]Startide Rising[/i:post_uid0]. It's a little weird I admit: there's no solid data that suggests chimps' smaller size and greater strength would be worth the training and handling issues.

They could crawl through spaces smaller than any human (which might not turn out to be a good thing,...) They would take up less food and less air. They can already speak ASL here on earth. What if they could use specially designed power tools? It might make for a good labor force to augment the human talent pool.

And I can easily imagine the political fallout. Animal rights activists protest as hard as the anti-nuke folk did Cassini. Yet mars might be the only place where chimps were treated as a culture of their own, having their own unique social needs. Among chimps on earth, the martian chimps could be seen as having made their own Isreal, thier own homeland.

It's not hard to take that one step further and see chimps becoming extinct on earth, and then mars would have its 'first' uniguely martian species. (like just about everyone else here, I'm assuming mars has no native life)

Pretty farfetched, I know. But no more farfetched than the idea of humans living on mars, at least to John Q taxpayer.

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#2 2002-06-15 15:44:29

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Chimps on mars - what rights are purely human?

We could probably invent robotic assistants to take care of the rote chores and routine construction tasks in a Mars colony.  Even though our A.I. is currently no where near the intelligence of a chimp, it's improving fast and in fifteen or twenty years it possible we'll have A.I. that's up to the job.  Setting up habitats on Mars for endangered species sounds like a noble idea, but I don't know if creating a labor pool of enslaved chimps is the best way to go about that.  I'd support hiring people to do the jobs since bringing people to Mars is pretty much the point of going in the first place.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#3 2002-06-24 08:54:32

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Chimps on mars - what rights are purely human?

Any disccusion of utilizing any life form in lieu of humans as a "work force" much be approached with serious consideration. We have been using beasts of burden for thousands of years now, but this issue of using chimps is a gray area. In order to be truly useful, the chimps would have to have a level of intelligence aproaching a small child or a slow-adult. The chimps would need to be able to communicate, and understand complex instructions- in essence, they would be thinking and talking... How do we then justify the enslavement and forced servitude of an apparently sentient being? It talks. It thinks. It would be able to recognize "self".

Do we then allow the monkey self determiniation? If not, why do we allow other humans the opportunity? If it is purely a matter of intelligence level, are we then justified in establishing IQ levels for people that determine wether or not they are allowed to make their own personal choices?

The same issues apply to AI.

As humans, we hold that are rights are derived becuase we are individuals imbued by god (some say) and based on our Reason- now if another "thing" exhibits signs of Reason, how can we justifiably enslave them?

Intelligence implies awareness, awareness implies an understanding of self- if thinking monkies can be our slaves, why not other humans?

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#4 2002-06-24 21:48:30

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Chimps on mars - what rights are purely human?

Do we then allow the monkey self determiniation? If not, why do we allow other humans the opportunity? If it is purely a matter of intelligence level, are we then justified in establishing IQ levels for people that determine wether or not they are allowed to make their own personal choices?

The same issues apply to AI.

As humans, we hold that are rights are derived becuase we are individuals imbued by god (some say) and based on our Reason- now if another "thing" exhibits signs of Reason, how can we justifiably enslave them?
[/quote:post_uid0]

The A.I. wouldn't have to be sentient to be useful anymore than rovers on Mars don't need to be sentient to be useful.  With good programming and a lot of computing power, robotic assistants should be able to be programmed to do more of the mundane tasks unworthy of human attention.  Taking chimps to Mars would just create a situation where you'd have to bring in massive additional cargoes of food, life support equipment, etc.  Robotic assistants, at least at first, would be easier and more efficient to keep.


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#5 2002-06-25 06:22:02

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Chimps on mars - what rights are purely human?

The A.I. wouldn't have to be sentient to be useful anymore than rovers on Mars don't need to be sentient to be useful.  With good programming and a lot of computing power, robotic assistants should be able to be programmed to do more of the mundane tasks unworthy of human attention.  Taking chimps to Mars would just create a situation where you'd have to bring in massive additional cargoes of food, life support equipment, etc.  Robotic assistants, at least at first, would be easier and more efficient to keep.[/quote:post_uid0]
I definately agree with that sentiment...I really don't see chimps or any other creatures being genetically "programmed" to be our "slaves."  Machines are far easier to construct and maintain than living beings which would require a whole new infrastructure to keep them alive and functioning on Mars, and there would be none of the ethical issues to deal with. 

As far as A.I. goes, I just don't see machines progressing to the point of sentience, as robots can be made to perform increasingly complex and intricate tasks without anythng resembling a conscience, so there would be zero need to produce machines capable of higher thought.  A.I. will be just that..."artificial" intelligence...which is not even close to "real" intelligence.

Bottom line:  Maximum production at the least cost will be the #1 rule on Mars, and there will be no need to create a class of semi-autonomous beings to accomplish that objective.

B

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#6 2002-06-25 18:46:36

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Chimps on mars - what rights are purely human?

I definately agree with that sentiment...I really don't see chimps or any other creatures being genetically "programmed" to be our "slaves."  Machines are far easier to construct and maintain than living beings which would require a whole new infrastructure to keep them alive and functioning on Mars, and there would be none of the ethical issues to deal with. 
[/quote:post_uid0]

I agree.  I don't even like the idea of genetic programming in human populations if it's going to lead to things like "designer" babies, etc.  Artificially introducing gene sequences that can be passed on from parent to child seems like a big risk.  Of course there's that gray area where someone might want to cure a genetic disease they could pass on to their children by introducing genetic alterations that show up in gamete cells.  Anyways, if creating smarter, more capable humans through artificial means is what we want I'd rather go the route of creating smarter, sentient A.I. and leave the human genome alone.  I get the feeling though that if it can be done it will be done.  In the future we might have a bunch of genetically altered human clones being enslaved by their lazy A.I. masters.  Who knows. sad


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#7 2002-06-26 07:37:32

martin
Banned
Registered: 2002-06-26
Posts: 5

Re: Chimps on mars - what rights are purely human?

hi
   i respect the sentiments expressed here,but it seems we are ignoring something fundamental ,concerning use of genetics and space expansion.
if terraforming of mars is possible and we can dream of altering the 'natural' martian atmosphere according to our 'needs',altering the 'chimps' natural environment and training them according to our needs etc(just about everything that man has ever done to make himself comfortable has been by modifying the nature);
then why do we fear to use genetics for our own benefit?

   fear seems to be the right word because the immense possiblities really scare us out of our wits.
  but like phobos said"...it can be done,it will be done"
and if that might happen ,people should evolve some strategy to ensure that we do not have to face some "super race" that enslaves the rest but a very benign form of this technology leading to fewer"natural abortions", "natural" congenitally malformed and mentally retarded children and a lot many other genetic and genetically influenced diseases.

  mankind it seems has again' stolen the fire' and we can use it to light our way through the future. smile

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#8 2002-06-26 18:46:21

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Chimps on mars - what rights are purely human?

fear seems to be the right word because the immense possiblities really scare us out of our wits.
but like phobos said"...it can be done,it will be done"
and if that might happen ,people should evolve some strategy to ensure that we do not have to face some "super race" that enslaves the rest but a very benign form of this technology leading to fewer"natural abortions", "natural" congenitally malformed and mentally retarded children and a lot many other genetic and genetically influenced diseases.

mankind it seems has again' stolen the fire' and we can use it to light our way through the future. [/quote:post_uid0]

True.  I guess we can't blind ourselves to the fact that technology that has the potential for great harm also usually has the potential for great good.  It makes me think of nuclear power.  I think we let our fear of its negative possibilities unduly hamper our use of its beneficial qualities.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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