Mind Wipe

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Mind Wipe

Postby lorien1 » Wed Oct 15, 2003 11:29 am

Hi There.If mind wiping was possible today (like in B5) what would be your view point to it being used on criminals as a sentence? Colin.<*>.

(Their memories are wiped clean,and they are given a new I.D.They then work in a job to serve the public good. Added this in case anyone had not seen this on Babylon 5)
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Postby Gigafrost » Wed Oct 15, 2003 2:07 pm

This seems like a moral issue, so I'll move it into the Twilight Zone where it's less likely to get spammed up...

Well, I think it wouldn't be that bad, actually. An alternative to the death sentence, perhaps? You could argue that it would be a death sentence in itself, as in you're killing the old personality.

I suppose the major downside is that a person could be called a murderer even though they don't have the memories or personality that made them do it before. With a clean memory, they might decide that, since they're being called a murderer anyways, they might as well "live up to their role" and be one.

What'd be even worse is if this actually happened fairly frequently and statistics started showing that mind-wiped people still had a high occurance of repeating their crimes, and people treated such people as if they were going to repeat their crime, making matters worse. It'd be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Postby TerraFrost » Wed Oct 15, 2003 3:23 pm

some say (and i think i would agree with them) that prisons should rehabilitate people... make people productive citizens, as it were. is this the ultimate form of rehabilitation, or the worst form of it? i would probably lean towards the later - you rehabilitate people because they might be able to assist society in some way other than through crime. that assistance could involve them using their past experiences, etc. if you whipe their memory, you prevent them from using that experience to do anyone any good, and as such, just isn't much better than killing someone.

also, i guess this would finally tell us whether or not personality is based on past experiences, as hume believed, or whether people were genetically predisposed to act certain ways...
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Postby shadows_revenge » Thu Oct 16, 2003 12:06 am

This could work both ways. It could help us get crimanals out of jails making us pay less money to build jails. But once they are out on the street, random people would come and make fun of them even thought they had a new I.D. Unless the criminals weren't well known, they would be chased and hunted down for what they did.

Just my opinion, though.
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Postby Roadkill » Fri Oct 17, 2003 11:06 pm

mind wiping -- to my knowledge, would consist of spazzing the brain up and turning it into mush -- but not so much as to where it wont recover. Then it would have to rebuild those neuro pathways from scratch, and the person has to learn to think again. But wait scratch that -- nuerons dont regenerate.

So it consists of degerating neurons to where they are almost dead, and spazzing certain portions (since im not entirely sure how memory works). Euther way, the criminal has to learn to think again. And you may have to treat him as a child until he does that.

Of course it wont be as slow as a child, but you have to feed them, clothe them, monitor them, teach them (everything, including possibly language) for the long (couple months) until they are rehabilitated. In effect, costing even MORE than the current system.

Also consider the lesson that is supposed to be learned from his punishment. If he is merely forgetting the crime, how iwll he know the outcome?

You could use that as a form of punishment -- delete a bit of his memory other than the memory of what he did. Then he'll be sorry. But america would outlaw that.

Thee are all sorts of technical and moral hurlds that have to be crossed before you impliment it. What will probably be found, though, is it is not cost effective.
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Postby Gigafrost » Fri Oct 17, 2003 11:35 pm

A couple of things...

First off, it seems that neuros *do* regenerate, but most so slowly they might as well not. The memory\learning area of the brain, though, regenerates like crazy, if I recall correctly.

Anywho, I'd argue that a mind-wiped adult would take longer to re-learn things than a child. As you grow older, it takes longer to form new neural pathways and they're weaker when they form. Of course, if we had to turn their brain into mush, we might as well give them new cells to begin with, perhaps.
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Postby TerraFrost » Sat Oct 18, 2003 3:37 am

mind wiping -- to my knowledge, would consist of spazzing the brain up and turning it into mush -- but not so much as to where it wont recover. Then it would have to rebuild those neuro pathways from scratch, and the person has to learn to think again. But wait scratch that -- nuerons dont regenerate.

So it consists of degerating neurons to where they are almost dead, and spazzing certain portions (since im not entirely sure how memory works). Euther way, the criminal has to learn to think again. And you may have to treat him as a child until he does that.

Of course it wont be as slow as a child, but you have to feed them, clothe them, monitor them, teach them (everything, including possibly language) for the long (couple months) until they are rehabilitated. In effect, costing even MORE than the current system.


people with alzheimer's disease, and varrious forms of amnesia don't forget how to walk or talk, whilst they may forget where they are, who they are, etc. so, while mind wiping is probably not possible, now, it may well be possible in the future.

Also consider the lesson that is supposed to be learned from his punishment. If he is merely forgetting the crime, how iwll he know the outcome?


you are, of course, assuming that just that would be learned. mind wiping, as it is being used, in this thread, involves complete loss of a certain kind of memory. of course, it will only work if we, as hume believed, are what our memories make us to be, and not, as studies involving identical twins have shown, that we are what our DNA allows us to be.
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