Our Metaphysics Creates Westworld

I have been following the TV series Westworld recently and enjoying its unique take on the standard sci-fi metaphysical questions it directly poses to its audience. Is artificial life morally indistinguishable from human life? What is consciousness? What is real?

A lot of the power of the show comes from the premise. The premise is a robotic theme park where its human guests can do as they please. And this setting immediately raises a number of philosophical questions and it has these philosophical issues staring right back at you on the screen. Often times it can be difficult to not feel uneasy as 'human-appearing' robots are treated as nothing more than the robotic parts with which they were made.

Such scenes immediately bring to mind the clarity with which the Metaphysics of Quality can bring to understanding these issues. The unease of watching 'human-appearing' robots treated that way can be explained because robots aren't just the inorganic parts they are made with. The robots express and reflect the cultural values they have been programmed with. What the MOQ makes clear is that these values are just as real as the physical parts they have been created with. Even though these robots may not be able to directly respond to the undefined betterness of Dynamic Quality(are conscious), the static values with which they are created still exists and so those values are just as real as if they were expressed by a human being. Therefore raping or killing such a robot so that they are reduced once again to their inorganic parts is immoral.

And this is what's unique about the MOQ. Within those few words, we are able to quickly get to the heart of the matter. We can describe with a clarity not found before - exactly why it feels so wrong to watch what the guests do to the robots in the park. We're also able to easily describe what is and is not consciousness - something our current Metaphysics struggles with greatly.

The Logical Correctness of Fair Trade

When money is the driver of a corporation's behaviour - creating goods in the most economical way possible makes sense.

Not all goods are created equal however and while the cheapest manufacture process for a corporation may be valuable - there are workers rights to consider as well. It's no coincidence that the cheapest places to manufacture are those which have the loosest labour laws. Looking after workers costs money.

And therein lies the problem of modern day neoliberal policies. Simply put, neoliberalism supports the use of foreign countries to manufacture goods whose low prices exist, in part, because of substandard conditions.

And conversely, this is the problem that Fair Trade companies solve. They respect all levels of the individual and don't treat them as just expendable pieces of biological meat. Fair trade rules dictate policies such as reasonable working hours, a livable wage, health insurance, along with sick and personal leave. All designed to improve biological quality, provide equal social dignity, and give time away from work for the individual to grow.

That's what makes fair trade goods better than their non fair trade counterparts. They're supported by many of the codes of the MOQ. From 'the law of the jungle' in that they improve the health of their workers, 'The Law' in that they respect the workers right to not be abused, and finally the Code Of Art by providing downtime and space for growth.

That's why being on the right side of these codes is what makes, when possible, buying fair or locally made goods moral and supported by the MOQ.

The Evil of Disregarding Climate Science

The MOQ is a beautiful intellectual framework. As an intellectual framework, it uniquely shows that it’s both immoral and illogical to not change our behaviour in response to global warming. Traditionally, the argument to change our behaviour goes something like this:

“We are running a dangerous experiment to see how much CO2 we can pump into our atmosphere. At its worst, global warming threatens the existence of mankind. The right thing to do is to heed the dire warnings of climate scientists. They speak of rising water levels and increasing global temperatures. With these increasing temperatures and rising water levels, mankind may be no longer able to survive. So we should, we must change our behaviour.”

This argument has many opponents however. From those in power who like things the way they are to those co-opted by power with bogus arguments about the validity of the science.

That’s because, without the MOQ, climate change opponents and even proponents are easily able to question the validity of truth and scientific fact. They are also easily able to immorally question the content of those facts for their own monetary gain.

With the MOQ however, we can make the argument for change much stronger. With it – the issue of climate change becomes not only a matter of fact but as a matter of quality. It does this by showing that not only is it moral to change our behaviour, but it’s evil not to. An MOQ argument for changing our behaviour follows:

“If we don’t value the biological quality of the life in our oceans and allow inorganic particles of CO2 to fill our planet. Then allowing this lower level to subsume the higher level is immoral. If we allow the social values of money and power to trump the intellectual truths of scientists explaining the threat. Then this is immoral. The threat of CO2 winning in the fight against life on earth is very dire. Biological quality is necessary for the social and intellectual quality of human beings to exist. Without it, the existence of these two levels is at risk. The moral thing to do then is to act to no longer allow CO2 to win its fight against biological quality. The moral thing to do is to follow what makes sense intellectually and not succumb to social greed. The moral thing to do is to change our behaviour in response to Global Warming.”

This is the unique thing about the MOQ. With the MOQ we can reject excuses of cultural relativism or scepticism about the existence of truth. We can call out paid arguments for the non-existence of global warming as the evil that they are. And we can logically say that responding to global warming is moral. This is true not just for some people in some such a place and time, but for all people -everywhere. And that’s very powerful.

The Diagnosed Threat Of Artificial Intelligence

With Elon Musk having recently said he will be giving away a Billion USD to fund research into AI to ensure risks are minimised – I wonder if there’s not already a free solution to the unique problem presented by AI in the codes of a moral philosophy we know.

In the Metaphysics Of Quality the Law of the Jungle declares that biological quality should always prevail over inorganic quality. In this case – I propose a simple AI rule. If a machine, controlled by software, is capable of taking a life in its day to day operation – then the machine must be able to detect life and avoid killing or injuring it where possible, unless of course specifically designed to do so (weapons).

That’s it. Doing scientific research to solve what is fundamentally a philosophical issue seems a lot like declaring war on an international policy issue [The War on Terror] that is – lots of money spent and bad results. Unless, of course, the research improves the life detecting capabilities of machines to be more affordable. I live in hope.

There’s a great video on Youtube(above) called ‘The War on Science’ by ASAPScience which outlines an oft misunderstood conflict. That conflict is when:

“Science and society are often at odds”.

Putting the conflict in these terms clearly shows the wrong-headed thinking of those who are undercutting the intellectual values of science with the social values of society. Current social norms may be more convenient to defend and continue for society but it not intelligent to continue thinking the same thing when evidence shows otherwise.

In fact, rather than simply wrong-headed, such defence of social values in the face of intellectual values to the contrary, is immoral and not supported by the MOQ.

The historical risk though, is that without the Metaphysics of Quality the intellectual level can start to undercut the quality of society and defend biological values at the risk of social cohesion. This could well explain why many a political conflict throughout the world simply are between those who defend social values vs those who support intellectual ones.

The MOQ however, shows there is a more nuanced way to view social vs intellectual conflicts such as this. Within the structure of the MOQ is the ability to morally defend intellectual values while not risking social decay in the process. This is clearly shown with the MOQ’s ‘Codes of Morality’ and in the difference between ‘The Law’ and ‘Intellectual Morality’ the latter of which is not acknowledged with our current Metaphysics.