[LMB] URs (again), was Moldy oldy comments

desala desala01 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 26 06:11:07 BST 2011

On 25 June 2011 06:55, Thad Coons <tocoons at gmail.com> wrote:

> As far as economic and technical arguments...as a general rule, the
> more complex a machine is, the more can go wrong with it. Machines
> lack the self-manufacturing and self-repair facilities that natural body
> parts have.  How many techs does it take to build and service one
> replicator? How many to make the nutrient solutions, filters, and
> dispose of the biological waste? How much do these materials
> cost? How much does it cost to pay the techs? To train them? Is UR
> only available to the wealthy? Such practical considerations are
> mostly handwaved away as easily as the physics of wormholes
> <http://lists.herald.co.uk/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/lois-bujold>

The argument that a piece of technology is inherently less because of what
can go wrong is problematic.  Where there is a risk of catastrophic failure,
you simultaneously develop rigorous safety standards both in the device and
the people who maintain it.  Seriously, this is a society where jumpships
are mundane, I'm sure the legal system will cope.  Yes, things will go wrong
sometimes and it will be tragic when it does, but there is also such a thing
as risk management.

The access problem is a completely separate issue.  Just being expensive
doesn't make a technology ethically ambiguous - for an extreme example, AIDS
anti-retroviral drugs are vs its distribution system.  In most cases (I
imagine) the use of a UR would be elective, and all medical procedures come
with a price tag whether the government helps out or not.  It's not perfect,
but no one here is insisting that it could/should be.*

On 25 June 2011 09:18, Damien Sullivan <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:

> Because being in her body didn't protect Miles, did it?  He'd have
> been better off in a UR at the time of the soltoxin attack.  And Piotr
> continued threatening Miles *after* he was born.  Child's going to be
> outside your body soon enough, having a head start of 9 months on that
> doesn't change much.
> True, a baby can be carried with you, while URs seem only as portable as
> heavy wheeled luggage IIRC.  So if you're paranoid about such things,
> your general mobility might be even more restricted, even while your
> local mobility remains free of the burdens of carrying a fetus.
You can put a UR in a basement vault, doing the same to a pregnant woman
gets you arrested.

- Desala

* Caveat: I've always had access to whatever medical care I've desired,
financially and otherwise (and I vehemently hope that's true for as long as
I live) so my level of empathy might be suspect.

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