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Old 11-28-2006, 09:07 AM   #1
Temrek
 
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Default What is murder?

The Technology in Transhuman Space doesent make it so clear to what constitutes a murder in that setting. How would the following be treated?

Killing someone with inactive backup copies while deliberatly leaving those copies be?
Destroying an inactive backup copy?
Killing one version of someone who is (illegally) xoxoing?
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Old 11-28-2006, 09:20 AM   #2
Jürgen Hubert
 
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Default Re: What is murder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temrek
The Technology in Transhuman Space doesent make it so clear to what constitutes a murder in that setting. How would the following be treated?

Killing someone with inactive backup copies while deliberatly leaving those copies be?
Assault.

Quote:
Destroying an inactive backup copy?
Destruction of property.

Quote:
Killing one version of someone who is (illegally) xoxoing?
If you didn't knew about the xoxing, attempted murder. If you did, probably assault unless you are a licenced xoxhunter.

(Most legal systems will probably frown on citizens destroying xoxes on their own - at the very least, they don't want the "But I thought he was xoxing!" defense to be used for murder...)


My takes on it, anyway.
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Old 11-28-2006, 09:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: What is murder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temrek
The Technology in Transhuman Space doesent make it so clear to what constitutes a murder in that setting. How would the following be treated?
I assume you are talking about SAI´s and about societies that treat them as people. Also, one should take into consideration that borderline cases will not be adressed explicitly by written law. In most legislations they are adressed to by judicial precedent, even in continental european law. Such precedent might or might not exist. In the latter case, someone might be in for a rude (or happy) surprise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temrek
Destroying an inactive backup copy?
Deleting a backup copy is Modification of Data, a crime similiar to Damage to Property.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temrek
Killing someone with inactive backup copies while deliberatly leaving those copies be?
Already difficult. The active copy is a person, without doubt. And this person will be deleted, that is, killed, as far as digital minds go. But he has the option

Jurgen is right in calling this Assault, but I would also go for Attempted Murder, since the reviving procedure might not work, that is, through some computer error or something.

Also, you could argue that this IS murder, since he will be dead for some time. Especially since you could also argue that the activated copy isn´t exactly the same person, since it has at least lost some time of its life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temrek
Killing one version of someone who is (illegally) xoxoing?
Illegal xoxes are a difficult case. I guess the trial will be quite interesting. But I would argue that different xoxes are different persons as far as criminal law is concerned. They do develop in different ways after their creation.

That xoxing itself is illegal is irrelevant, at least in my eyes. It is not the xoxes fault, that it was produced by illegal means and the original copy does not forfeit its right to live (if it is granted as much) by copying itself. (Today) a baby produced by illegal means of reproduction medicine still has the right to life.

Of course, the xox hunters lawyer will argue differently.

Also, in this case specific law might allow to erease xoxes anyway, in which case it might only be Illegal Employment or something for someone who is not an authorized xox hunter.

Remember that xoxes of living persons are only ghosts, which might not be treated like people anyway. In that case, it is only Modification of Data.

Now that we are at it, I guess this is a very interesting subject. As a lawyer myself, I have always been fascinated by how to legally approach problems in a fantastic or ultra-tech environment.
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Old 11-28-2006, 09:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: What is murder?

While I agree with most of what Jürgen says, he is probably somewhat imprecise. So let me nitpick a bit by saying that what constitutes murder depends also on the exact nature of the "someone" in question and the place where you commit the deed. Simply because it is only murder to kill someone who is regarded as a person by the law.

Some examples: in some Transhumanists exclaves like for example Luna City nearly all kinds of sapient infomorphs including Ghosts, sapient Shadows and self evolved SAI's have citizen rights and even Fragments are treatet as minors. In the EU Ghosts and SAI's are regarded as citizens while in the USA Ghosts are citzens while SAI's are not - they have the legal state of animals (its quite interesting to reflect about the consequences of this for the use of SAI's in the US - apart from the fact that the US handling of the matter could easily be critizised as "hidden biochauvinism"). In India and China even Ghosts have only the legal status of "inferiors" - wether that means that to kill them is punished with less severity is open to debate. Finally, in the TSA all kinds of informorphs are seen as largely information, even Ghosts have only animal rights.

Apart from that there are some other issues one could have with Jürgen's opinion. To delete an informorph regarded as a person or to destroy the cybershell running it could be regarded as assault, alright. But there are all kinds of nice twists that could appear. Like for example what if the infomorph in question had no safety copies of himself stored away (because he is careless or because he strictly believes that those copies are just copies and do it no good) and the death is therefore is final? What if the perpetrator didn't know that? Still assault? Or is it murder now?

Likewise, one could argue that to deliberately destroy safety copies of an infomorph person is more than just "destruction of property". It significantly increases the risk of the infomorph being killed once and for all - therefore some could say that this constitutes at least assault. And to do so as part of planned operation, let's say goon-1 destroys the copies, while at some other place goon-2 destroys the cybershell that runs the victim should probably be regarded as plain and simple cold blooded murder in the case of both goons.

Lots of interesting cases for "Law & Order 2100"...
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Old 11-28-2006, 10:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: What is murder?

For a dystopian spin - the punishment could relate to the value the victim represented to society or business, or simply the bereaved.

Assault and GBH put Stan out of work for the week. This costs his company $4,000. The attacker gets a fine for $4k.

The Murder of CEO Roberts means the company were without his chairmanship for a week whilst a backup was being sleeved in a new bioshell. The effect was a share plunge and loss of a large contract. His murderer either coughs up $25million to cover it, or they get his bio-shell sans the unwanted 'low grade wetware' in the cranium.


Perhaps illegal xoxes, created with the original's consent, could be considered a share in the net worth of the individual and thus attract feasibly lower fines. More xoxes devalue them more.

...or, since it is 'themself', the only person allowed to hunt illegal xoxes with lethal force is the original...

"It wasn't murder! It was suicide."
"Your other 'self' shot back..."
"Not the point!"
"No?"
"...I have a right to commit suicide..."
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Old 11-28-2006, 03:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: What is murder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agemegos
That's murder. The backup copies are people, but they are not the same person as the original.
legally I belive in nearly all THS jurisdictions backup copies are considered the same person as the orginal. Just as ghosts are legally the same person as the human that was made into the ghost.

In fact were this not the case an infomorph couldn't even swap shells without "dying" which while some people probably believe to be the case (I think it was even in Toxic Memes) would be a legal disaster.
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Last edited by zogo; 11-28-2006 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 11-28-2006, 03:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: What is murder?

Whether or not the 'death' of an infomorph (either SAI or ghost) is murder depends entirely on the legal standing of said entities in the location of the incident.... and on the GM's own beliefs on the subject.
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Old 11-28-2006, 03:53 PM   #8
dynaman
 
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Default Re: What is murder?

You want some real fun, have murder be killing a "person" - even if they have backups. Then have the backups be allowed to testify at the trial.
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Old 11-28-2006, 04:09 PM   #9
Phineas
 
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Default Re: What is murder?

Most likely, killing someone who has backups would qualify as murder (or manslaughter, etc.). However, it all depends on the judicial definition of death . Given the Preservationist tilt of most European courts - I'm assuming European courts because most others wouldn't recognize backups except for American ones, which are pretty much the same here - I'd say full charges would be pushed for the killing. The backup is a resurrection, and an imperfect one (just how up-to-date is it?), so the original still 'dies'.

To make a christian analogy: Did the romans kill Jesus? Yes. Did he come back? Yes. Did they still kill him? Yes.

Now, interesting side-note: let's say our intrepid hero is an American private eye, a ghost, who leaves on a complicated case on Titan that stretches across the Deep Beyond. After he's been gone for two months, he's assumed dead. Do you now activate one of his back-ups despite the fact he might be alive? If you do, what happens if the xox and the original meet?
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Old 11-28-2006, 06:44 PM   #10
malloyd
 
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Default Re: What is murder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temrek
The Technology in Transhuman Space doesent make it so clear to what constitutes a murder in that setting. How would the following be treated?
Among other things, this depends on jurisdiction, particularly for the case of new kinds of people. But it is going to be very, very difficult to find a jurisdiction that will allow you to get away with anything you can't right now. Keep in mind the key component in the definition of murder is not the "death" part, there are lots of situations in which you can cause death that are not murder, but the "malice aforthought" part.

Quote:
Killing someone with inactive backup copies while deliberatly leaving those copies be?
I can't see any way this can be regarded as anything other than murder. It just happens the death is theoretically temporary.

Quote:
Destroying an inactive backup copy?
Jurisdiction dependent. Are inactive backup copies people? If so then obviously murder. If not, then destruction of property, but creative prosecutors might be able to bring attempted murder charges if they think a convincing case can be made you did it in the hopes of ensuring the death of the original.

Quote:
Killing one version of someone who is (illegally) xoxoing?
Definitely murder if the xoxes are of themselves or somebody willing - there's no way you can stretch that to the kind of crime that justifies lethal force to stop. If they were xoxing somebody unwilling right at the moment you killed them and you can make a convincing case you couldn't stop them any other way you may be able to claim justifiable homicide though.
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