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Helping People

 
gyokran
 
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gyokran
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20 April 2019 10:37
 

Let’s say you see someone who clearly needs help. But you know there is a 1% chance that this person is a maniac and will torture and kill you and your beloved ones in the worst possible way. Would you help that person?

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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20 April 2019 12:12
 
gyokran - 20 April 2019 10:37 AM

Let’s say you see someone who clearly needs help. But you know there is a 1% chance that this person is a maniac and will torture and kill you and your beloved ones in the worst possible way. Would you help that person?

It doesn’t matter if he’s a maniac. If he were worthy of my help, he wouldn’t need it.

 
 
gyokran
 
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gyokran
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20 April 2019 14:38
 

You know only the chance so how do you know if anyone is ‘worthy’ ?

[ Edited: 20 April 2019 14:41 by gyokran]
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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20 April 2019 17:26
 
gyokran - 20 April 2019 10:37 AM

Let’s say you see someone who clearly needs help. But you know there is a 1% chance that this person is a maniac and will torture and kill you and your beloved ones in the worst possible way. Would you help that person?

Can you provide a context of any kind? As it is, we could be talking about a large group of violent-history criminals, or a suburban mall. Also, where do you get your %-analysis data from?

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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20 April 2019 17:56
 

This is an extremely vague scenario.

However, if there is a 99% chance that the person in need is totally harmless, then I’d say those are very good odds and you should help them.

What point are you really trying to make with this thread and question? You seem to have something in mind, but you are being too obscure about it.

 
 
gyokran
 
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gyokran
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21 April 2019 02:22
 

Ok sorry i should have said earlier that it’s a thought experiment so no real data are available. Nothing political just a thought. We had some discussions about it and i belonged to the group who wouldn’t have helped that person out of fear.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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21 April 2019 02:57
 

If we see someone in need, should our impulse to be helpful be checked by a quick examination of merit based on the available information? Is that what you want others to do unto you?

What if, as the front of your car was crushing, your car’s voice or the dash readout says, “Airbag ready. Are you worthy? I mean, really. In the whole big picture. Are you worthy of this airbag?” What if the car’s AI was programmed that there is a 1% chance you will drive like a maniac and kill and maim people in a second crash?

 
 
gyokran
 
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gyokran
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21 April 2019 03:02
 

That is a fantastic point. I need time to think about it.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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21 April 2019 09:56
 

Even worse, the car has gone on-line and learned that the last 99 airbags have gone off.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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21 April 2019 13:54
 

Everyone is as worthy and unworthy as everyone else.  Worthy doesn’t go into my calculus. It’s more like “does this person really need me?” Or “can I help this person without unnecessarily putting myself in danger?” Or “do I have the resources to help this person?”

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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22 April 2019 10:37
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 20 April 2019 12:12 PM

If he were worthy of my help, he wouldn’t need it.

Sounds like a great excuse to never help folks.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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24 April 2019 11:16
 

I try to be helpful. I don’t always have the insight or the will to do so.

We are all in some analogous equivalent of this situation every single day. Torture represents the host of calamities that can and do occur as a result of well intentioned intervention. No need to speculate or analyze really. Do you help strangers or not?

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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24 April 2019 11:32
 

Gyokran, What motivates your hypothesis / thought experiment? I ask this, seeing as how it seems impossible to have subtle access to the inner workings of an evil (or any other) mind which you’d need to obtain in order to be able to make the kind of forecast you describe. I can’t imagine an actual life situation that it might compare to, but I’d love to hear about the background if you care to go into it.

 
 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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24 April 2019 12:36
 

What if there’s a 5% chance that if you help this person your help will somehow bring them unimaginable grief?  For example, you are exiting the parking lot of a supermarket and see someone at the stop sign with a sign that says, ‘HOMELESS AND STARVING - even 25 cents will help.’  You roll down the window and hand them a dollar.  The person now as $4.50 in their pocket and they start across the street to a Burger King, get struck by a car, and are crippled for life.

Christians think Jesus is alive and observing everything he got started.  Wow!  Poor guy!  If only the downside was only 1%.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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24 April 2019 13:32
 
unsmoked - 24 April 2019 12:36 PM

What if there’s a 5% chance that if you help this person your help will somehow bring them unimaginable grief?  For example, you are exiting the parking lot of a supermarket and see someone at the stop sign with a sign that says, ‘HOMELESS AND STARVING - even 25 cents will help.’  You roll down the window and hand them a dollar.  The person now as $4.50 in their pocket and they start across the street to a Burger King, get struck by a car, and are crippled for life.

Christians think Jesus is alive and observing everything he got started.  Wow!  Poor guy!  If only the downside was only 1%.

Buying into the thought experiment actively enough to respond to it seems to encourage emotional bombast or at least worry of some sort. But really—why buy into it enough to engage your analytical programs unless the thought experiment relates to the actual world in some meaningful way? I don’t doubt that it does, but it would be nice to know exactly what we’re talking about.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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24 April 2019 14:13
 

No, I’d pass, and not just because the need and benefit are vague and unspecified, while the harm is not.  A 1% chance of certain death for me and loved ones would dissuade me from doing most things, and absent something like saving a life that otherwise couldn’t be saved, or preventing catastrophic loss that otherwise couldn’t be prevented, “help” doesn’t rise to the bar of offsetting those odds.  And even then, I’m not sure that it would. 

In any case, if we are we talking about something like giving someone a lift to the gas station because they’re stranded on the side of the road, as I see it, only an idiot would help, given a 1% chance of being murdered.

 
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