Memory and Consequences

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TheFeniX
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Memory and Consequences

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-10-09 04:13pm

So, I've had this little mental exercise rolling around in my head for a while and my wife has absolutely no desire to indulge me. At what point are consequences tied to physical properties vs mental ones, both legally and ethically? And does how "terrible" the crime is affect that? And I'll ask right now, does anyone have any reading in this vein? Even some (hopefully short) fiction stories would be fun.

Scenario 1:
A killer, rapist, embezzler, jaywalker, whatever is running from the police. The physical evidence linking him (or her, but for the purpose of this, I'll just stick with the masculine) to the crime is iron-clad. Convinction is near guaranteed and there can be no question the person is guilty.

So, and while incredibly rare, there has been at least one recorded case of this: while fleeing the suspect trips and falls on his head. He lapses into a coma. When he comes out of the coma, he has no memory of his life but retains a fairly large portion of his working memory. He knows the basics of how the world works, but he couldn't recognize himself in a mirror. He couldn't tell you a single piece of personal information about himself even though he is perfectly capable of knowing how to use a computer to Google his own name.

Law Enforcement can't find a single professional that will argue against the idea that this person has no memory of the person they were before the accident. He knows nothing about the crimes committed and reacts with horror and denial that he could do "something like that." Months of exhaustive interrogation leads to nothing. Assume for the purpose of this exercise he's not capable of cheating the system to fake amnesia.

What do you do with him?

Scenario 2:
More Sci-Fi at this moment: A criminal, guilty of multiple murders, is finally found out in his hideout. Right as law enforcement find him, he presses a few buttons on his computer, removes a plug from his head, and gives up peacefully. He's tried and given life in prison for his crimes. Though before that, an artificial womb is found in the back part of the lab with a clone inside. It's kept for study. By the time the trial is over, the clone has matured to near the exact same physical properties of the (now convicted and sentenced) criminal. The clone is released out of the goo and asks, "So, what did I miss after being arrested?"

There is essentially an exact duplicate of the murderer with memories up until the point of his arrest. Is this clone culpable in any way?

Now, this one has boggled my mind a bit more because it's hard to come up with a situation where cloning and memory transfer exists and how they would interact with each other and society. So, I'll just leave that part out and focus on if it's ethical for a copy, while having the memory of the original, to be held accountable for actions it didn't perform?

Scenario 3:
Going even further, though less about "crime." Imagine a system where you can transfer your memories into fast-growing clones. But ONLY a clone (or any embryo) because the memory pathways have to be "primed" to take yours while it grows. This process is incredibly expensive HOWEVER, it is not completely out of reach and loans are offered for the clone to payoff over the course of it's lifetime. These clones are required to be released as "adults" (18-25).

Now, the clone is born. And says "fuck you, I'm not paying you back. Even though I remember signing that paper, I never actually did. It's the other guy."

How would a society function under a system such as this? Maybe I'm a moron, but I find myself just going in mental circles here. EDIT: By "function," I mean what safeguards who have to be in place. I assume you either make the clone pay by law or loans just aren't offered. So, maybe assume anyone with the modern equivalent of a U.S. Upper middle class lifestyle could afford this process.

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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by FireNexus » 2017-10-09 04:26pm

Scenario 1: You lock him up. He committed the crime, and while he’s lost his epic zodiac memory he clearly has not lost his procedural memory. That means his likelihood of offending in this way in the future is unaffected. He’s a public safety hazard regardless of his memory of the specific crime.
I had a Bill Maher quote here. But fuck him for his white privelegy "joke".

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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by FireNexus » 2017-10-09 04:33pm

If scenario 3 were ever to happen, there would need to be a legal framework in place. But if the cloners can’t expect such a contract to be enforced, the service would be pay-ahead or nothing. Practically, though, I can’t see a fundamental difference between enforcing the clone contract (if the price can be reasonably borne by the clone based on its skills and abilities, which would have to be the case if a private company planned to take on the risk in a fairly regulated economy) and the “social contract” or the debt of care one owes to their parents. The clone owes its existence to the company, and if it can reasonably afford to pay their fee while maintaining decent quality of life, it should pay. If not, the fee should be dischargable in bankruptcy.

In this scenario, though, one thing: Is the original dead/dying and implanted from a scan, or still alive concurrently with the clone? If you can grow a clone to adulthood in a tank, why even clone yourself and not just become a retread?
I had a Bill Maher quote here. But fuck him for his white privelegy "joke".

All the rest? Too long.

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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by JLTucker » 2017-10-09 05:13pm

FireNexus wrote:
2017-10-09 04:26pm
Scenario 1: You lock him up. He committed the crime, and while he’s lost his epic zodiac memory he clearly has not lost his procedural memory. That means his likelihood of offending in this way in the future is unaffected. He’s a public safety hazard regardless of his memory of the specific crime.
Any evidence for this line of thought that he would be likely to re-offend?

Also, the first scenario is dumb because it's including bullshit crimes with serious crimes, so your solution to said scenario is equally stupid.

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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-10-09 06:34pm

JLTucker wrote:
2017-10-09 05:13pm
Any evidence for this line of thought that he would be likely to re-offend?
Also, the first scenario is dumb because it's including bullshit crimes with serious crimes, so your solution to said scenario is equally stupid.
This ties(d) into FireNexus's point. Anyone can murder. But people generally don't murder for any reason. If your murder was racially motivated due to numerous nurturing factors and those factors are gone, are you likely to murder? If you abused your position and knowledge at a financial company to defraud thousands of people and that position is gone for good because the knowledge to perform in that position is gone, how likely are you to re-offend?

But I also included it as a way to ask "is there a threshold of 'bad' you can hit before that alone justifies consequences for the amnesiac?"
FireNexus wrote:
2017-10-09 04:33pm
If scenario 3 were ever to happen, there would need to be a legal framework in place. But if the cloners can’t expect such a contract to be enforced, the service would be pay-ahead or nothing. Practically, though, I can’t see a fundamental difference between enforcing the clone contract (if the price can be reasonably borne by the clone based on its skills and abilities, which would have to be the case if a private company planned to take on the risk in a fairly regulated economy) and the “social contract” or the debt of care one owes to their parents. The clone owes its existence to the company, and if it can reasonably afford to pay their fee while maintaining decent quality of life, it should pay. If not, the fee should be dischargable in bankruptcy.
Am I obligated legally or ethically for my parents or my children once they are of age? I recall a mother trying to sue her daughter for "backpayment" of services in raising her. She was laughed out of court.

Is it ethical, even if legal, to hassle children for the debts of their parents? What if the parents kicked the child out when they were 10? What if the child was given up for adoption at birth and creditors only found out the people who owed them millions had a child through their own investigation?

While that clone essentially IS that person, they also aren't. This would of course lead to some weird restructuring of how... a whole load of stuff is done. Maybe not for the average person though.
In this scenario, though, one thing: Is the original dead/dying and implanted from a scan, or still alive concurrently with the clone? If you can grow a clone to adulthood in a tank, why even clone yourself and not just become a retread?
Either or. There wouldn't be anything, aside from the law or morals, to stop someone from cloning themselves at any point. My question is though, how much responsibility can you ethically put on a copy? Even legally.

Say the whole thing is made illegal, but someone does it anyways. He goes to jail. What about his clone which contains all the memories of him committing the crime. But can you make it illegal to make yourself exist? We kill the clone? Lock it up?

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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by Elheru Aran » 2017-10-09 06:54pm

Broadly my answer will default to: The original person who did the crime should suffer for it, more or less regardless of whether or not they remember what they did.

To pull out a well-worn example, take Nazi war criminals. Suppose Fritz slips on a banana peel the day after the Americans retake Auschwitz (or was it the Russians? whatever) and completely forgets everything he ever did there. Oh well, guess it doesn't count... except no.

If it's a situation where you aren't remembering what you did when you did it, like I dunno schizophrenia or split personality disorder or whatever... you still have a problem, you still did the deed but mental problems are a mitigating factor. Like say you're a kleptomaniac, but whenever you lift a box of candy from the corner store, Fenix is actually Xinef. The split-personality thing isn't a crime, but a.) how do they know? and b.) personality issues or not, you are still in some degree responsible.

As for the clones: No, they aren't culpable, they're just really fucked in the head in #2, and as for #3, I don't really see why the hell the clone has to pay for anything like that unless the genetic donor died, in which case it might work like debts used to (go after family/friends to pay off the debts) rather than the clone. It was never the clone's decision to be... born? conceived? created? so they had no part in that agreement and thus it's not their responsibility to pay the bill. We don't stick kids with their own hospital bills today. They are the responsibility of their parents/their caretakers, and that includes any financial responsibilities that they may incur.
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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-10-10 12:13am

Elheru Aran wrote:
2017-10-09 06:54pm
Broadly my answer will default to: The original person who did the crime should suffer for it, more or less regardless of whether or not they remember what they did.
Is that still the same person that did it? I find myself in mild agreement with you, then I think about who is FeniX when you take away the memories that I've accumulated over the years. This is of course all dependent on if you can PROVE my memories are actually gone. For a more easily proven example, if a blow to the head knocks my IQ into the 50s, I might actually still have my memories, I just have a problem understanding a fair amount of them. Am I still the same person after an incident like that?

If you lock me up in prison, am I ever going to understand why? Imagine I coded a slick new computer worm that did millions in damages and now I'm at a point in intelligence where I can't begin to understand even the concept of a computer virus. Am I going to believe I did that, even if the memories are rolling around in my head?

Then I think about what if those memories were just gone and a bunch of people were telling me, this guy they say is named FeniX, that I did all that and I've got no idea what they're talking about.
To pull out a well-worn example, take Nazi war criminals. Suppose Fritz slips on a banana peel the day after the Americans retake Auschwitz (or was it the Russians? whatever) and completely forgets everything he ever did there. Oh well, guess it doesn't count... except no.

If it's a situation where you aren't remembering what you did when you did it, like I dunno schizophrenia or split personality disorder or whatever... you still have a problem, you still did the deed but mental problems are a mitigating factor. Like say you're a kleptomaniac, but whenever you lift a box of candy from the corner store, Fenix is actually Xinef. The split-personality thing isn't a crime, but a.) how do they know? and b.) personality issues or not, you are still in some degree responsible.
So, what do we do with people who enter a fugue state and commit a crime or endanger themselves or others? Many legal systems make certain exceptions for them without absolving them of responsibility. This is generally done under the guise of protecting them and others from harm rather than punishment, though it works out that way many times.

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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-10-10 01:46am

The way I understand it in modern legal princible "remember's performing the act" isn't needed for a conviction, what is needed is solid enough (aka beyond reasonble dout) evidence to prove that the accused broke the law and that (s)he is in mental state capable of understanding his/her crimes.

That said I understand that the reason for that is (at least) partly practical (to make sure "I don't remember a thing" isn't used as "get out jail free" card).

however if it can be medically proven that you're lost your memory to point where "you" cease to exist, an argument could be made that you're no longer in a mental state capable of understanding your crimes.

It all boils down to being able to prove that memories are gone at least for the foreseeble future, it's essentially the same reason why insanity defense is rarely used outside of TV and even when it is used it fails most of the time, it's so hard to prove that you're actually "in a mental state incapable of understanding you crimes" and not just pretending and even then more often then not you end in a mental ward of a hospital or under care of designated guardian rather then walking home a free man.
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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by Elheru Aran » 2017-10-10 09:49am

^ Mostly what Revan said. If you genuinely cannot remember what you did, and you are unaware that you have a severe mental issue, then odds are that (in this theoretical near-future) you would be declared incompetent. If you KNOW you have a mental issue and you don't take adequate precautions to prevent situations from this happening, then you are also liable for that.

I was thinking about this the other night and an example occurred to me. Say you have a bull, and you don't know whether it's a bad one or a good one (you just bought it). It escapes from its pen and goes and gores someone. You are responsible for keeping it penned, so you still get a penalty, even though you didn't actually do it. Now imagine how much more culpable you are if you actually do it, even if you have no memory of the incident.
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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-10-10 09:47pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2017-10-10 09:49am
^ Mostly what Revan said. If you genuinely cannot remember what you did, and you are unaware that you have a severe mental issue, then odds are that (in this theoretical near-future) you would be declared incompetent. If you KNOW you have a mental issue and you don't take adequate precautions to prevent situations from this happening, then you are also liable for that.

I was thinking about this the other night and an example occurred to me. Say you have a bull, and you don't know whether it's a bad one or a good one (you just bought it). It escapes from its pen and goes and gores someone. You are responsible for keeping it penned, so you still get a penalty, even though you didn't actually do it. Now imagine how much more culpable you are if you actually do it, even if you have no memory of the incident.
thing to remember that in order to be declared incapable of standing trial, you mental capacity must reduced to point where you're medically unable to understand (or at least have serious problems understanding) the very concept of responsibility, in essense it's the same reason who you don't jail a 4-year old for taking something from a store shelf without paying for it (granted you might jail the parent if it can proven they taught the kid to do this but never the child), it's simply because a 4-year old doesn't really understand the concept of responsibility yet.
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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-10-11 04:02pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2017-10-10 09:49am
I was thinking about this the other night and an example occurred to me. Say you have a bull, and you don't know whether it's a bad one or a good one (you just bought it). It escapes from its pen and goes and gores someone. You are responsible for keeping it penned, so you still get a penalty, even though you didn't actually do it. Now imagine how much more culpable you are if you actually do it, even if you have no memory of the incident.
That's just criminal negligence though. The same thing can happen if your dog gets out, runs into the road, and someone crashes trying to avoid it. Or even if you forget to put your car in park and it rolls into the street. You setup a dangerous situation: you pay the piper.

On the memory side, let me go with two scenarios:
1. You knowingly get black-out drunk and there's multiple witnesses at the bar to attest to this. You wake up in a hospital bed the next morning and the last thing you remember is fumbling with your keys to start your car. Turns out you plowed your car into a bus full of nuns.

2. You're the designated driver. You have nothing but soda and multiple witnesses can attest to this. At "last call" you down your last soda. Get into the car with your buds. Last thing you remember is your vision blurring and you wake up in the hospital with an obscene amount of Rohypnol in your system because one of your drunk buddies spiked the wrong drink. All your drinking buddies died because you hit a tree after blacking out.

If you choose to get yourself into a bad spot and bad things happen, then there's little ethical problems with holding someone responsible for something they don't remember. But, we give a fair amount of leeway if you unknowingly do something stupid. It's like if the FIRST TIME you found out you have narcolepsy you were driving a car versus you've known for years and take no precautions and still drove.

Now, I imagine some weird setup, not something you could just hit someone with, but given enough time, drugs, and hardware: let's say you can completely erase someone's episodic memory (I assume I'm using the right term) permanently, while not touching anything else. Essentially, you can wipe out all the experiences someone has, while leaving them an otherwise functional person. They can't draw from experience, but normal societal functioning wouldn't be impossible. This process has been proven to be 100% effective, 100% irreversible, and 1000% illegal.

1. You're a murderer. Your contingency for getting caught is this system. The cops are coming and before they kick the door down, the wipe completes and you're John Doe. Are you the same person who "flipped the switch?"
2. You and your buddy are murderers. Unknown to you, after you hit the hideout, he/she drugs your victory drink, straps you into a chair, and wipes your memory after tipping off the cops with the intention of framing you for all of it. The plan goes South in that he's still caught and gives up ALL the details.

What do you do here? What's the justification for what you do?

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Re: Memory and Consequences

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2017-10-21 05:08pm

Scenario 1:
A killer, rapist, embezzler, jaywalker, whatever is running from the police. The physical evidence linking him (or her, but for the purpose of this, I'll just stick with the masculine) to the crime is iron-clad. Convinction is near guaranteed and there can be no question the person is guilty.

So, and while incredibly rare, there has been at least one recorded case of this: while fleeing the suspect trips and falls on his head. He lapses into a coma. When he comes out of the coma, he has no memory of his life but retains a fairly large portion of his working memory. He knows the basics of how the world works, but he couldn't recognize himself in a mirror. He couldn't tell you a single piece of personal information about himself even though he is perfectly capable of knowing how to use a computer to Google his own name.

Law Enforcement can't find a single professional that will argue against the idea that this person has no memory of the person they were before the accident. He knows nothing about the crimes committed and reacts with horror and denial that he could do "something like that." Months of exhaustive interrogation leads to nothing. Assume for the purpose of this exercise he's not capable of cheating the system to fake amnesia.

What do you do with him?
He's a different person. The brain damage is so extensive that his episodic memory is gone, leading to personality changes to boot. Hell, he isn't even competent to stand trial and never will be, because he lacks the memories necessary to assist in his own defense. You keep him in a mental hospital long enough to determine whether he will be a danger to himself or others, and then let him go.

The mind is what matters, not the shell it inhabits.
Scenario 2:
More Sci-Fi at this moment: A criminal, guilty of multiple murders, is finally found out in his hideout. Right as law enforcement find him, he presses a few buttons on his computer, removes a plug from his head, and gives up peacefully. He's tried and given life in prison for his crimes. Though before that, an artificial womb is found in the back part of the lab with a clone inside. It's kept for study. By the time the trial is over, the clone has matured to near the exact same physical properties of the (now convicted and sentenced) criminal. The clone is released out of the goo and asks, "So, what did I miss after being arrested?"

There is essentially an exact duplicate of the murderer with memories up until the point of his arrest. Is this clone culpable in any way?

Now, this one has boggled my mind a bit more because it's hard to come up with a situation where cloning and memory transfer exists and how they would interact with each other and society. So, I'll just leave that part out and focus on if it's ethical for a copy, while having the memory of the original, to be held accountable for actions it didn't perform?
Yes, it is, because it is the same person who committed the crime. The mind is what matters, not the shell it inhabits. Had he backed himself up to a time before the murders were planned it would be a different story, but as it stands the clone should go to prison, if for no other reason than he is a danger to himself and others.
Scenario 3:
Going even further, though less about "crime." Imagine a system where you can transfer your memories into fast-growing clones. But ONLY a clone (or any embryo) because the memory pathways have to be "primed" to take yours while it grows. This process is incredibly expensive HOWEVER, it is not completely out of reach and loans are offered for the clone to payoff over the course of it's lifetime. These clones are required to be released as "adults" (18-25).

Now, the clone is born. And says "fuck you, I'm not paying you back. Even though I remember signing that paper, I never actually did. It's the other guy."

How would a society function under a system such as this? Maybe I'm a moron, but I find myself just going in mental circles here. EDIT: By "function," I mean what safeguards who have to be in place. I assume you either make the clone pay by law or loans just aren't offered. So, maybe assume anyone with the modern equivalent of a U.S. Upper middle class lifestyle could afford this process.
I arrest the initial individual for fraud because he intended that dodge. The clone... tricky. He is culpable because the mind is what matters, but the contract probably IS invalid because you can't sign loan docs without someone's consent. I'd probably invalidate the contract, but arrest him for fraud as well. Then go ahead and pass legislation making loans for cloning paid back by the clone an illegal practice.
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