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hypothetical question 

imagine if humanity met an alien race that was more intelligent than us, but didn't realize we were any smarter than a bug, due to our inability to communicate

and for a full decade, the aliens were eating people and treating them as mindless livestock

but about a week ago, alien researchers realized that we were capable of thought and could feel pain and stuff, and word spread super fast and the aliens stopped eating us and created a way to communicate

Web 5 5 2

hypothetical question 

i know we're talking amongst a crowd that largely wouldn't identify with the human race but this is assuming you're still going to be caught in the mix as part of 'humanity' as they consider it

hypothetical question 

if your take is that you'd forgive them but be too terrified to interact, i'm interested in hearing what option you'd interpret as most representing you

re: hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns Mmm, it would be hard to forgive them, especially if we brushed up against their treatment of us or people close to us.

We don't know if we could forgive them if we suffered it first hand, but we suspect we might otherwise.

re: hypothetical question 

@violet do you think we'd be able to give more meaningful signs than say, if cows were human intelligence but we don't know, since they act exactly the same?

like, i dunno how hard it'd be to know what actions they'd be morally responsible for not noticing

re: hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns @violet for me it's how alien the alien intelligence is. if it's even roughly shaped like ours 鈥 if they have a concept like "agent" 鈥 they ought to be able to figure out that we're clever and invent ways to exploit novel environments pretty quickly. on the other hand, we still eat octopuses.

I know there's some formal AI theory stuff about how one might quantify or categorize an arbitrary black-box system as agent-y but not much more than that

re: hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns if they have evolutionary norms that (like we do) relate to mathematically optimal strategies ("tit-for-tat"), they ought to be able to recognize that we're capable of both cooperation and revenge for past slights. (we observe this in elephants but not cows). Whether or not they have a concept of morality or a specific taboo about not eating intelligent creatures (which is kinda arbitrary, really) they should know "don't eat X if you need its cooperation."

re: hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns Assuming nobody we personally knew was eaten, we'd forgive and be like "Hey, you reduced the population to an extent, maybe we won't run out of resources"

Admittedly would be a totally different case if someone we personally cared about were eaten.

Also we're assuming that we would be considered not-necessarily humanity because of our collar.

"Oh hey this is someone's pet, we can't eat this"

hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns imo a thing about humans, as a species, is that we tend to extinctify animals that prey us. to the extent that we're apex predators on our planet, it's because we killed off everything above us.

and in a game-theory sense, I can't say that's wrong? but also, if you're an alien and you discover a species that has "total war" and "genocide" in its behavioral toolbox, snuffing them out might be the safe move

re: hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns are we talking, like, this has been covertly happening without anyone knowing for ten years and then one day we all find out aliens have been snatching people to eat them, or, are we talking we've all just suffered ten years of trauma of living under the constant threat of being kidnapped and eaten by aliens?

Cause I can speculate about the latter case, but I can also conclude that I'd probably be so destroyed by that experience that who knows who I'd be at the other end of it.

re: hypothetical question 

@Dee the latter, yeah!

we're in a situation like if modern humanity just encountered chickens.
they've pretty much immediately set up a ton of farms after determining that we're tasty. there's no sneaky or coordinated attacks - if they see a human they'll immediately assume they have the right to domesticate them

they don't so much "capture" new york as collect it, they don't realize we're fighting back on more than a wild animal level

re: hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns @Dee I'm betting on this as the most likely way we get FTL travel: some sort of technology as reparations deal

re: hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns Yeah, that's the kind of nightmare hell world that I feel iffy speculating about from my position of having the privilege of never having had to worry about aliens eating me (beyond contemplating the hypothetical presented in Fediverse posts).

I'm not trying to condemn the question here, because I can answer it in, like, an aspirational framework, but that feeling still remains.

re: hypothetical question 

@Dee oh yeah, no condemnation taken, it's a valid answer and a really interesting take.

I really like the anti-exceptionalist attitude of morally abstaining on the basis that you couldn't realistically predict how the circumstances would change you and your morals

i very much respect a moral philosophy that acknowledges that it's not like, divine and unmoving.

hypothetical question 

@heatherhorns One week is a very brief period of time to try and get over ten years of abuse.

I don't know if I would ever personally heal.

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