Author Topic: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant  (Read 7059 times)

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Offline Sleepy

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2013, 07:06:27 am »
You can't afford to operate on emotions when you're in that position. Those lungs had a greater chance of saving an adult, and therefore you need to make a ruling based on that probability.

The judge does, yes, but the judge also needs to take into account the fact that, as noted above, ruling against the kid would immediately get him vilified beyond all redemption (as "that judge who killed that kid"). People usually don't have the patience for logical arguments when something as visceral as "a kid might die" is in play.

And this is why people piss me off. God forbid we attempt to save the maximum number of lives.
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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2013, 08:15:39 am »
The sad thing is we can't expect people to be completely emotionless. Not even professionals like judges.

We demand them to be, though. And they try to be. And that's the best we can do until we decide to trust computers to come to a court decision.

With that said, I am in agreement with Sleepy on this. Throughout the evolution of modern man, our emotions when it comes to children is part of why the species has survived. There is the rare person who doesn't care about human life, children or otherwise so they could be impartial in this kind of decision. But would we want them to?

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Offline PosthumanHeresy

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2013, 10:24:32 am »
The sad thing is we can't expect people to be completely emotionless. Not even professionals like judges.

We demand them to be, though. And they try to be. And that's the best we can do until we decide to trust computers to come to a court decision.

With that said, I am in agreement with Sleepy on this. Throughout the evolution of modern man, our emotions when it comes to children is part of why the species has survived. There is the rare person who doesn't care about human life, children or otherwise so they could be impartial in this kind of decision. But would we want them to?
In the grand scheme of things, yes, we do want them to be. Emotionally, we don't, and that side of us supports this ruling. But, the logical side of us, the side that keeps stuff working even when emotionally we would tear it down, we want this.
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2013, 05:04:10 pm »
The sad thing is we can't expect people to be completely emotionless. Not even professionals like judges.

We demand them to be, though. And they try to be. And that's the best we can do until we decide to trust computers to come to a court decision.

With that said, I am in agreement with Sleepy on this. Throughout the evolution of modern man, our emotions when it comes to children is part of why the species has survived. There is the rare person who doesn't care about human life, children or otherwise so they could be impartial in this kind of decision. But would we want them to?

The thing here is, we don't want "emotionless". Emotion is a necessary part of moral judgement*, and a judge without emotion would probably be more trouble than they are worth. What we need is reason informed by emotion. We want the judge to care about the child who might die if the ruling is one way, but also care about the adults who might die if the ruling is the other way, figure out how to balance those things, and act on it.


*Not intrinsically, perhaps, but it is as of now, and it will remain so until we have a universal theory of ethics we can use to derive moral judgements without having to human-check every result.
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Offline PosthumanHeresy

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2013, 05:47:49 pm »
The sad thing is we can't expect people to be completely emotionless. Not even professionals like judges.

We demand them to be, though. And they try to be. And that's the best we can do until we decide to trust computers to come to a court decision.

With that said, I am in agreement with Sleepy on this. Throughout the evolution of modern man, our emotions when it comes to children is part of why the species has survived. There is the rare person who doesn't care about human life, children or otherwise so they could be impartial in this kind of decision. But would we want them to?
I disagree with this. An emotional-lacking judge would let the punishment fit the crime, not either overreact or pity the defendant. A judge without emotions would be much more fair, and would logically analyze a case.

The thing here is, we don't want "emotionless". Emotion is a necessary part of moral judgement*, and a judge without emotion would probably be more trouble than they are worth. What we need is reason informed by emotion. We want the judge to care about the child who might die if the ruling is one way, but also care about the adults who might die if the ruling is the other way, figure out how to balance those things, and act on it.


*Not intrinsically, perhaps, but it is as of now, and it will remain so until we have a universal theory of ethics we can use to derive moral judgements without having to human-check every result.
What I used to think was me is just a fading memory. I looked him right in the eye and said "Goodbye".
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2013, 09:00:20 pm »

The thing here is, we don't want "emotionless". Emotion is a necessary part of moral judgement*, and a judge without emotion would probably be more trouble than they are worth. What we need is reason informed by emotion. We want the judge to care about the child who might die if the ruling is one way, but also care about the adults who might die if the ruling is the other way, figure out how to balance those things, and act on it.


*Not intrinsically, perhaps, but it is as of now, and it will remain so until we have a universal theory of ethics we can use to derive moral judgements without having to human-check every result.
I disagree with this. An emotional-lacking judge would let the punishment fit the crime, not either overreact or pity the defendant. A judge without emotions would be much more fair, and would logically analyze a case.

An emotion-lacking judge cannot make the punishment match the crime, because there's no objective parameter for such a thing. Without human emotional reactions, how exactly do you tell the difference between murder being right or wrong, or what an appropriate punishment for that would be? What aspect of the world can you look at to determine if a theft should be punished with cutting off a hand, ten years in prison, a fine for the value of the item, or the death penalty, that isn't at some level based on human emotional reactions?

Sure, one can observe human emotions indirectly in other people, but that doesn't fully capture the experience. For subtle ethical judgements, where the average person is not sure what is right, this would be useless.

An emotionless judge would have the advantage of not being swayed by irrelevant appeals to emotion, and that's not negligible, but it's also not the greatest problem facing the judicial system.


All this, with the caveat that this is now. There's no theoretical reason that I know of that says we cannot at some point in the future build an emotionless machine that fully captures all human intuitions on morality and rules accordingly. However, we don't have a way of building that at this point.
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Offline PosthumanHeresy

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2013, 09:25:33 pm »

The thing here is, we don't want "emotionless". Emotion is a necessary part of moral judgement*, and a judge without emotion would probably be more trouble than they are worth. What we need is reason informed by emotion. We want the judge to care about the child who might die if the ruling is one way, but also care about the adults who might die if the ruling is the other way, figure out how to balance those things, and act on it.


*Not intrinsically, perhaps, but it is as of now, and it will remain so until we have a universal theory of ethics we can use to derive moral judgements without having to human-check every result.
I disagree with this. An emotional-lacking judge would let the punishment fit the crime, not either overreact or pity the defendant. A judge without emotions would be much more fair, and would logically analyze a case.

An emotion-lacking judge cannot make the punishment match the crime, because there's no objective parameter for such a thing. Without human emotional reactions, how exactly do you tell the difference between murder being right or wrong, or what an appropriate punishment for that would be? What aspect of the world can you look at to determine if a theft should be punished with cutting off a hand, ten years in prison, a fine for the value of the item, or the death penalty, that isn't at some level based on human emotional reactions?

Sure, one can observe human emotions indirectly in other people, but that doesn't fully capture the experience. For subtle ethical judgements, where the average person is not sure what is right, this would be useless.

An emotionless judge would have the advantage of not being swayed by irrelevant appeals to emotion, and that's not negligible, but it's also not the greatest problem facing the judicial system.


All this, with the caveat that this is now. There's no theoretical reason that I know of that says we cannot at some point in the future build an emotionless machine that fully captures all human intuitions on morality and rules accordingly. However, we don't have a way of building that at this point.
Enter various factors with an assigned weight on a pre-determined scale created by a panel of at least 15 years practicing psychologists of various (but equal) races, genders, sexualities, religions and political beliefs (they can overlap) on a range of -100 to 100, with -100 meaning purely immoral, and 100 being purely moral. For example, a greed-based murder would be a pure -100, as there is no redeeming factors there. However, a pre-planned revenge murder over the harming of an innocent party would be lower, and something like, say, shooting someone who was in the middle of raping another would be a high number. Rape would also be a -100. Factors beside the crime that would be weighed would include mental illness so long as it has an effect on emotions (for example, OCD would not be included, even if someone screwed with their stuff, but depression would be), prior criminal record, amount of times this specific crime has been committed, motive (for example, an armed robber trying to feed his kids would be weighed differently than an armed robber stealing for himself), and recent events in the criminal's life (for example, if parents died recently, it would be determined to have much the same effect as depression). Not easy, not a quick fix, but a better method.
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2013, 10:14:02 pm »
Enter various factors with an assigned weight on a pre-determined scale created by a panel of at least 15 years practicing psychologists of various (but equal) races, genders, sexualities, religions and political beliefs (they can overlap) on a range of -100 to 100, with -100 meaning purely immoral, and 100 being purely moral. For example, a greed-based murder would be a pure -100, as there is no redeeming factors there. However, a pre-planned revenge murder over the harming of an innocent party would be lower, and something like, say, shooting someone who was in the middle of raping another would be a high number. Rape would also be a -100. Factors beside the crime that would be weighed would include mental illness so long as it has an effect on emotions (for example, OCD would not be included, even if someone screwed with their stuff, but depression would be), prior criminal record, amount of times this specific crime has been committed, motive (for example, an armed robber trying to feed his kids would be weighed differently than an armed robber stealing for himself), and recent events in the criminal's life (for example, if parents died recently, it would be determined to have much the same effect as depression). Not easy, not a quick fix, but a better method.

Human ethical reasoning as it is right now, I would not trust any panel of experts to successfully capture everything that could possibly come up. At the very least, you would need an extensive trial phase, and even then I'd be worried of just implementing it and going with whatever it says without checking it before with a human-emotional oversight. Humanity is complicated, and it is in constant change (try ruling on cyber-crimes using legislation written before the internet). I don't think there's any reason to assume we've already reached the peak of complexity in ethical dilemmas and everything that comes up from now on will be easily dealt with using principles that came up before.

And what do we do when the oversight says "hey, something came up that I don't think the system was built to account for"? Do we re-summon the psychologists every time to debate on the new adjustments, thus making the trial take a few extra years? Do we update it once every x amount of time, guaranteeing that some people will be treated unfairly because their cases happened before a relevant adjustment? Do we never update it, making sure it quickly becomes useless? Do we directly give the human oversight the ability to over-rule a judgement, making it so we have more or less the same situation we have now?

I am not against this in specific situations, though. Going back to the subject of the thread, transplants are an obvious example of somewhere where a system with objective criteria that isn't easily overruled works adequately (certainly better than the alternatives). Applying that to criminal cases, though, is an entirely different thing.
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Offline PosthumanHeresy

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2013, 10:53:59 pm »
Enter various factors with an assigned weight on a pre-determined scale created by a panel of at least 15 years practicing psychologists of various (but equal) races, genders, sexualities, religions and political beliefs (they can overlap) on a range of -100 to 100, with -100 meaning purely immoral, and 100 being purely moral. For example, a greed-based murder would be a pure -100, as there is no redeeming factors there. However, a pre-planned revenge murder over the harming of an innocent party would be lower, and something like, say, shooting someone who was in the middle of raping another would be a high number. Rape would also be a -100. Factors beside the crime that would be weighed would include mental illness so long as it has an effect on emotions (for example, OCD would not be included, even if someone screwed with their stuff, but depression would be), prior criminal record, amount of times this specific crime has been committed, motive (for example, an armed robber trying to feed his kids would be weighed differently than an armed robber stealing for himself), and recent events in the criminal's life (for example, if parents died recently, it would be determined to have much the same effect as depression). Not easy, not a quick fix, but a better method.

Human ethical reasoning as it is right now, I would not trust any panel of experts to successfully capture everything that could possibly come up. At the very least, you would need an extensive trial phase, and even then I'd be worried of just implementing it and going with whatever it says without checking it before with a human-emotional oversight. Humanity is complicated, and it is in constant change (try ruling on cyber-crimes using legislation written before the internet). I don't think there's any reason to assume we've already reached the peak of complexity in ethical dilemmas and everything that comes up from now on will be easily dealt with using principles that came up before.

And what do we do when the oversight says "hey, something came up that I don't think the system was built to account for"? Do we re-summon the psychologists every time to debate on the new adjustments, thus making the trial take a few extra years? Do we update it once every x amount of time, guaranteeing that some people will be treated unfairly because their cases happened before a relevant adjustment? Do we never update it, making sure it quickly becomes useless? Do we directly give the human oversight the ability to over-rule a judgement, making it so we have more or less the same situation we have now?

I am not against this in specific situations, though. Going back to the subject of the thread, transplants are an obvious example of somewhere where a system with objective criteria that isn't easily overruled works adequately (certainly better than the alternatives). Applying that to criminal cases, though, is an entirely different thing.
I feel that the best plan is to make it broad enough to include just about everything physically possible, but not too broad to be useless (or, if you're against broadness, account for every situation possible, including every minor variation). Basically, a non-video game version of The Dev Team Thinks Of Everything.
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2013, 08:23:20 am »
I get the idea, I just don't think it's possible to actually think of everything ahead of time.
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Offline PosthumanHeresy

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #40 on: July 04, 2013, 02:52:29 pm »
I get the idea, I just don't think it's possible to actually think of everything ahead of time.
I think you can be in at least 99% of the cases.
What I used to think was me is just a fading memory. I looked him right in the eye and said "Goodbye".
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #41 on: July 04, 2013, 05:39:28 pm »
I get the idea, I just don't think it's possible to actually think of everything ahead of time.
I think you can be in at least 99% of the cases.
Probably, yeah, but you have to handle that 1% of cases (or whatever the number is). You need to have something that steps in and notices that this is the one-in-N case where the system fails and to stop it.

This is guesswork, but I'd say that the current system works adequately for the ninety-something percent of cases, as well, and it doesn't fail catastrophically on most of the remaining ones. I don't have any hard figures on this, obviously, so I could be over- or under-estimating by a lot. Still, my intuition here is that
1) Most cases are unexceptional, and could be handled equally well either way.
2) For every system, there's a small fraction of cases where one would be clearly worse than the other.
3) For each of the above sets, there a small fraction where one system leads to awful (as opposed to just bad) results, and the other doesn't.
4) I don't have a decent estimation for the relative sizes the set of cases where each set fails, but it seems likely that the human-judge system fails catastrophically much less than the alternative.

This is, like I said, intuition. At this point, all I can say is that my (limited) experience in trying to formalise things human care about in an objective way tells me it tends to be harder than it appears at first, that it's easy to mistakenly judge the project complete, and that when it fails, it does so rather horribly. This experience is more relevant to ethics in general than to judicial rulings, which is probably an easier subset to deal with, so I could be overestimating the difficulty of the problem. I cannot think of an easy way to test any of my assumptions. The obvious way of testing it would be to build your system and then check it against judicial rulings in a large set of cases, (and find some way to determine failure and catastrophic failure, which is non-trivial), but that's not practical.
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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2013, 07:11:51 pm »

Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2013, 07:23:55 pm »
....I feel bad for being angry.

It's not the poor girl's fault.  She's going through a lot of shit right now and she doesn't really have a choice...

It's just that I also feel bad for the adults who are going to die because the state couldn't bring themselves to make a difficult decision.

Situations like this are why people pray for miracles in the first place...
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Offline Shane for Wax

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Re: Judge rules in favor of lung transplant
« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2013, 08:25:15 pm »
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/08/us/pennsylvania-girl-transplant/index.html

So she now has pneumonia in set number two.

I feel bad for thinking 'let the poor girl just die'. But... Ah. Humans are so emotional.

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