Object 96

Neuroethicist Identity Exam

2066, Sol System


As a junior neuroethicist, you will provide expert advice and judgment in a wide range of cases. It is not your job to worry about the intricacies of the law; that's what legal agents are for. Your job is to communicate the options available for identity manipulation to other humans in a clear and empathetic way:

In your own time, please answer five out of the ten questions below.

1. Alice makes a full backup, indistinguishable from her own personality and capable of operating independently. Who owns this backup? Does the status of ownership change if:

a) the backup has never been run

b) following the backup snapshot, Alice undergoes a significant psychological discontinuity (e.g. amnesia, major desire modification, neurodegenerative disease, etc.)

2. Bob fissions, creating an identical clone (Bob2). Shortly afterwards, Bob is discovered to have committed a crime, pre-fission. Who should be held responsible for this crime? Both Bob-prime and Bob2, or just Bob-prime?

3. Cheung signs a contract. Some time later, she performs personality reconstruction. Is Cheung still bound to that contract? Does the nature of the contract, or the result of the contract, have any relevance?

4. Davinder signs a living will stating that if he develops a neurodegenerative disease, he should be euthanised. When this occurs many years later, the 'much later self' (MLS) of Davinder argues that circumstances have changed and the living will that his previous self signed should no longer apply. Who is correct?

For extra marks: If a backup of Davinder was made at the time of signing, should the MLS of Davinder be able to sue it for distress caused?

5. Should backups be provided by society? How often should these backups be offered?

6. Enrique decides to undergo an experimental narrative injection therapy. The narrative that wove together and gave coherence to his experiences is modified with original insights in order to improve his view of his own life. After the therapy, he decides he is unhappy with the change. Will reversing the therapy restore him to his original self?

7. To what extent should someone consider the wellbeing of their 'much later self' (MLS) when undergoing desire modification that could benefit like-minded people who may share a greater degree of similarity to their present identity than their MLS?

8. Faith is a minor. Her religion prohibits her from creating a backup. Her parents are killed in an accident, and she is critically injured. Her remaining legal guardian wants to perform a backup on Faith. What should happen?

9. Glory is a Rovane-type group mind that meets the conditions of ethical personhood and agency. Glory comprises 245 individuals, but that total may increase or decrease over time. Under what conditions should Glory be considered to have become a different person or to have ‘died’? How do these conditions differ from those applying to non-group minds?

10. Henry is a self-identified fictive otherkin. He wants to permanently remap his personality and senses onto a My Daring Dragon gaming character. What criteria would you use to assess the seriousness of his request?