April 4, 2018 at 12:03 pm #230147
So it occurred to me that Justice is a bit Black Mirror-esque in that we see a hologram, a ship simulation of a dead crew member, being tried and found guilty of the crimes of the real person they represent.
I know it is established that the Justice computer is flawed in that it detects the feeling of guilt … but regardless, it still throws up some interesting moral questions about how the Red Dwarf universe treats holograms* and that, even in death you can be held responsible for past crimes.
What would be to stop anyone resurrecting a dead criminal as a hologram and subjecting them to punishment again and again and again?
In Rimmer’s case, he is given consecutive sentences for each crew member killed. What is the purpose of this if not to subject the hologram to cruel and unusual punishment. One could argue that turning them off would be similar to the death penalty, however having already died there are surely arguments around this. Not to mention, on a ship that is only capable of sustaining one hologram, turning them off would save a resource. And it is already established in The End that if a crew member of a higher rank or is more important to the mission is to die that they would replace the existing hologram. So there is already the precedent set for turning off holograms as and when needed.
My thoughts don’t go much further than this, just realised how horrific it must be for a hologram to be punished crimes they themselves did not commit … but that of the personality they simulate.April 4, 2018 at 12:54 pm #230148
Given that holograms don’t really think and feel – they’re just a (very sophisticated) computer simulation of a person – it’s not that bad.
If anything it just makes the Justice computer look a bit stupid. It’s like getting video footage of a criminal, and putting that on a tv screen in a prison after they die, to serve their sentence.April 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm #230149
Given that in body swap we see them transplant a whole personality into someone else, I’m going to go ahead and suggest that there maybe more sentience to holograms than simply being sophisticated simulations. Something more akin to The Doctor in Voyager.
Rimmer certainly seems to feel … hell, he even gets panic attacks in Rimmerworld. If that was simply a computer generation they’d be able to fix the software or erase certain qualities altogether.
We see tech that can do this later on (Trojan, Officer Rimmer), but it works on humans as well as holograms, so again, it seems to be directly affecting personality / the self / consciousness rather than software.April 4, 2018 at 1:52 pm #230150
>Given that holograms don’t really think and feel – they’re just a (very sophisticated) computer simulation of a person – it’s not that bad.
Is that how you actually watch Rimmer, or just in-universe rationalising? I know it’s specifically how his hologram introduces himself(/ITself), but that’s pretty cold.
I can imagine someone watching Black Mirror and not caring for the simulations we spend less time getting to know, but Red Dwarf’s helped me overcome my deadie prejudice. It’s why White Christmas is my favourite for its hilariously horrific ending montage, had me laughing and feeling terrible all day.April 4, 2018 at 2:32 pm #230151
No, I see Rimmer as a proper character with an inner life, in the way that we’re encouraged to do.
But we are explicitly reminded on several occasions that Rimmer is just a projection, a fancy illusion being provided by Holly (or whichever computer is running him when Holly isn’t around), and so is at best a kind of artificial intelligence, albeit one based around the personality of a once-living person.
Red Dwarf isn’t really the kind of show where they can get deeply stuck into ideas about whether Rimmer is really a ‘real’ character or not, I don’t think – partly because it’s not a great source of humour, and partly because it risks damaging the way the audience sees him as a legitimate character – but it’s interesting to consider.
The USS Callister episode of Black Mirror is one of the best recent explorations of that kind of thing that I’ve seen recently – it makes you really care for the simulations in their own right while regularly reminding you that they are very much not the people that they are based on.April 4, 2018 at 2:38 pm #230152
>Punished for crimes that they themselves did not commit
I can’t get behind that. Either they are not conscious at all and just a simulation, or they -are- the personality they simulate, and so ought to be punished.
It’s pretty damn bleak if you consider the idea that the Rimmer we have known and loved for thirty years never existed and is just a bit of software that doesn’t feel, rendering all of his character development a bit moot.April 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm #230153
I suppose you could also ask if Holly is sentient, and think about the existential horror of being left on your own, a floating head on a screen with no friends for three million years. You would go a bit peculiar. Or Kryten, looking after a dead crew, probably knowing deep down that they were fewer but convincing himself that they weren’t in order to give himself an artificial purpose and prevent him from going -completely- mad.April 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm #230154
that they were dead*April 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm #230155
Well, they were fewer too.April 4, 2018 at 2:56 pm #230156
>>Given that holograms don’t really think and feel – they’re just a (very sophisticated) computer simulation of a person – it’s not that bad.
do they though? i think the first chapter of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers covers this- nobody really knows for sure,with Saunders being told “you think you are thinking, therefore you possibly are” so it’s sort of left up in the air whether holograms do have thoughts and feelings etc.
maybe holograms are sophisticated enough simulations to actually be sentient or something, i don’t knowApril 4, 2018 at 3:08 pm #230157
I would say given that a hologram has free will to do anything it wants (within realistic possibilities), it’s sentient. Whether it’s an artificially created computer sentience doesn’t matter, it’s aware of its existence and chooses its actions in the way an organic being would, so it’s sentient to me.April 4, 2018 at 4:17 pm #230158
To decide whether or not holograms are truly sentient we must first decide whether or not human beings are truly sentient, and since we haven’t been able to come to a consensus on that one yet I’d say the jury is still out.
For the sake of me watching the program, I choose to believe Rimmer is sentient, even though you could very easily argue that he isn’t.
Then we could get into what it means to be a person – if a person is just a collection of memories, the hologram is Rimmer. Since we don’t truly understand each other as we are, but rather our thoughts, feelings and memories of that particular person projected upon them, then for all intents and purposes the hologram is Rimmer to any outside observer.
But then in the first episode Rimmer does directly address the fact that he is “a computer simulation of me”, and my inference of the holidaying with Germans line is that he cannot feel anything. This is contradicted in later episodes, however, and heavily contradicted or overwritten after Legion.
Which brings me to another question – when Rimmer switches to softlight mode for whatever reason, does he lose all feeling, given that being hardlight is what allows him to feel? How would that… feel? Pretty horrible, I’d think. If hardlight Rimmer was in immense pain, could he switch to softlight until it subsided?
It’s all very complicatedApril 4, 2018 at 4:53 pm #230159
>and my inference of the holidaying with Germans line is that he cannot feel anything
what exactly is the “holidaying with germans” line actually supposed to mean, anyway? i honestly never really got it. in the US version it’s switched to “it’s like being at an Amish bachelor party” which is much more understandable- an Amish bachelor party would most likely be shit, for obvious reasons. but what’s so awful about going on holiday with German people?April 4, 2018 at 4:54 pm #230160
> Then we could get into what it means to be a person – if a person is just a collection of memories, the hologram is Rimmer.
The problem with this train of thought is the fact these collections of memories are a copy. Even if we DO accept Rimmer hologram is the Rimmer person, what’s the result in Me2 when there are two versions of the same person?
They aren’t both the same person surely? The second Rimmer has a completely different set of experiences to the first Rimmer at the point he is switched on. His memories etc will be different from his perspective right back to the point his personality was backed up.
Without waxing too philosophical about it, Parfit would argue that there is no right answer to any of this and no amount of trying to figure out who is who is correct, whilst Locke would argue that it is indeed all tied to the memories of the individual involved, but as I have pointed out in this instance, we have two version of the same “person” with different memories.
This really leads me to believe that at least in some sense, holographic Rimmer is a different person to dead Rimmer … especially as there is a break in his consciousnesses continuity. Because of that, it isn’t right to exact punishment on holographic Rimmer for the actions of the person who he is drawn from.
> Which brings me to another question – when Rimmer switches to softlight mode for whatever reason, does he lose all feeling, given that being hardlight is what allows him to feel? How would that… feel? Pretty horrible, I’d think. If hardlight Rimmer was in immense pain, could he switch to softlight until it subsided?
I’ve always assumed he can emotionally feel (which he must be able to do if he can feel guilty in Justice), but he can’t physically feel until he becomes hard light.April 4, 2018 at 5:06 pm #230161
I’d say yes they become different people as soon as their experiences diverge.
>holographic Rimmer is a different person to dead Rimmer … especially as there is a break in his consciousnesses continuity.
When you black out or are put under anaesthesia, do you wake up a different person? What about people who have “died” and then been brought back to life? I put “died” in quotes because what we consider to be clinically dead may not be “dead” dead.
Is Lister Lister after Bodyswap, or even M-CORP, given that his personality is copied to/from disk and transferred to a new vessel on both occasions? Is Lister dead while Rimmer occupies his living body? Is the Lister post-Bodyswap the same Lister pre-owned Bodyswap? If not, why not? Who is he? Who are you? Who am I? Who’s eating this chicken?April 4, 2018 at 5:23 pm #230162
> When you black out or are put under anaesthesia, do you wake up a different person?
Locke would actually argue that yes, you are a different person. If you don’t remember doing something, a different person did it. It gets complicated from there. Though he isn’t envisioning a scenario where someone is died and brought back to life as a hologram.
Let’s consider two things.
1. Me2 – should Rimmer 1 be punished for the actions of Rimmer 2?
2. Rimmer is alive before the accident. He commits a crime. Can he boot up a holographic version of himself and have that hologram stand trial and receive punishment in his place?
For all intents and purposes, this hologram remembers doing the deed, may feel guilty about it etc … but it wasn’t the hologram that committed the crime so surely it is wrong to punish him for it?
If that is true, then it is true whether the hologram is turned on after death.
> Is Lister Lister after Bodyswap, or even M-CORP, given that his personality is copied to/from disk and transferred to a new vessel on both occasions? Is Lister dead while Rimmer occupies his living body? Is the Lister post-Bodyswap the same Lister pre-owned Bodyswap? If not, why not? Who is he? Who are you? Who am I? Who’s eating this chicken?
Well, this is what philosophers have been arguing for centuries, all with different takes. Especially who has been eating the chicken.April 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm #230163
>If you don’t remember doing something, a different person did it.
Sounds like Locke got drunk one evening and came up with a really elaborate excuse for whatever he did that night. If he doesn’t remember those embarrassing texts he sent to his ex, they didn’t happen. I’m not sure I’d buy that.
>Can he boot up a holographic version of himself and have that hologram stand trial and receive punishment in his place?
No, because Rimmer Prime is still alive and should be the one punished. I see the point, though. But does the hologram of the deceased Rimmer become Rimmer Prime in his absence, or is he a completely different entity?
Locke’s idea applied in this context can get very messy, for example if somebody gets blackout drunk and kills their wife, we cannot punish the drunkard who can’t remember killing his wife because it was technically done by another person, according to Locke. So I can’t say I agree with his view. Memories or no memories, you did it, and you have the potential to do it or something similar again. I think I view incarceration as a way of keeping the criminal out of the way of general public rather than as a way of punishing or rehabilitating them, the latter are just bonuses.
Perhaps our definition of personhood is at fault, or it’s more complex than we can truly appreciate, or it’s all an illusion, etcetera. For if a person suffers brain damage, or Alzheimer’s, viewing them as no longer the same person from before it quite difficult. But by some definitions they may just be.
If a simulation of somebody commits a horrible crime… a perfect simulation who acts exactly as the original person would act… should the real person be locked up, or watched over, or even committed? I think that’s the plot of Minority Report… and Back in the Red, sort of.April 4, 2018 at 6:03 pm #230164
> Sounds like Locke got drunk one evening and came up with a really elaborate excuse for whatever he did that night. If he doesn’t remember those embarrassing texts he sent to his ex, they didn’t happen. I’m not sure I’d buy that.
He does use the argument of a drunk man not being the same person as the sober man and does argue they are different people
> we cannot punish the drunkard who can’t remember killing his wife because it was technically done by another person
What he then goes on to say is that whilst it may have been a different person, a court can still punish him as all the evidence would point to the man they see before them (then there is a whole bit about the body and the mind being different and no-one being able to detect changes in the mind)
My point about Locke’s memory arguments is that you can very easily distinguish between the two Rimmer’s in Me2 for example because, though they maybe the same person … they have different memories from each other at a certain point. If there is doubt in these two being the same/different, we can argue that any hologram is a different person to the dead that they replace.
> Perhaps our definition of personhood is at fault, or it’s more complex than we can truly appreciate, or it’s all an illusion, etcetera. For if a person suffers brain damage, or Alzheimer’s, viewing them as no longer the same person from before it quite difficult. But by some definitions they may just be.
Yeah it does throw up difficult topics such as this, although in Locke’s time of writing this wouldn’t have been an issue really as those people likely wouldn’t survive long.April 5, 2018 at 1:17 am #230198
The Commonwealth Saga by Peter F. Hamilton has a form of immortality where people transplant their memories into newly grown young versions of their bodies, but the books only lightly touch on whether existence comes from the memories or a continuous stream of consciousness. If you think about it from the consciousness perspective, the people in those books effectively kill themselves every 50 years or so that another version of themselves has a younger body.
There’s also an interesting legal argument as to whether Hologram Rimmer should be tried for human Rimmer’s actions or ommissions. The EU is currently in the process of considering introducing the legal concept of an ‘electronic person’ as opposed to a natural person (an individual) or a legal person (a company or organisation), which would mean that AI machines themselves could be, for example, sued for their actions or omissions rather than the company or organisation that uses/employs them. Now the argument could be made that hologram Rimmer is legally distinct from human Rimmer, and therefore shouldn’t be tried for human Rimmer’s actions or omissions.
I think it’s mentioned more than once in the programme that holograms are company property (or maybe it was that the company is paying for their existence), but if they had legal status as an electronic person that wouldn’t be the case and instead there would presumably be some kind of contractual arrangement between holograms and JMC for instance.
I guess there’s a debate whether AI machines in Red Dwarf have a legal status, given that mechanoids seem to be effectively slaves who are brainwashed into serving a single company through ideas like Silicon Heaven (unless they break their programming). Holograms are a different case however – the holograms in Holoship certainly seem to act independently from any company and Rimmer is given the chance to leave Red Dwarf, which would suggest that even as a hologram he was more like an employee rather than property. Perhaps crew members’ memories are not considered to be company property, and therefore Rimmer can transfer to the Holoship, but the light bee and projection are JMC property.
There’s a decent and fairly concise summary of what the EU are considering here: http://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2017/04/do-robots-have-rights-the-european-parliament-addresses-artificial-intelligence-and-roboticsApril 5, 2018 at 8:04 am #230213
> The Commonwealth Saga by Peter F. Hamilton
At the risk of derailing (no pun intended) my own thread, I love these books and have a tattoo of a The Back to the Future 3 train travelling through the Stargate to represent the train / wormhole system in that series
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.