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The Ethics of Azi production



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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
>Subject: CherryhList: AZI Ubermaunch
>Date: Wed, 9 Dec 92 9:37:54 GMT
> So I'd say that all notions of gender are left out
> of azi tape, and the azi are essentially 'clean slate humans' who can have
> anything their designers wish written on their surface.
It is one of the more chilling/unsettling aspects of Cyteen is the whole mentality underlying it all. We have Resune quite literally, and acknowledgedly, creating the human species of tomorrow. Like the project Justin was working on. They don't explicitly say too much about it. However he keeps testing stability to "50 generations". I.e. they are not just talking about feeding tape to AZI that teaches them how to do things. They are also teaching them how to raise children and how to pass skills on to them. And to their children. For at least 50 generations. Gehenna was just a "little experiment" of this sort of things.
You could consider this branching out from "Sociological Engineering" (I.e. tapes for AZI) to "Sociological Architechure" (constructing AZI societies). It is not unreasonable to assume that it could be done. I.e. a self-replicating stable societised culture could be constructed and planted somewhere to grow. However:
*Would they be "human"?* Biologically they are just as human as you and I. We are all "cultrualy programmed" to a certain extent as well. We learn what we are taught and (generally) stay within the norms encouraged by society. Such an AZI culture seems to me to be so very artificial. How do they advance? Can you build in creative adaption without introducing instability? One might assume so. If not then you end up with a rigid, monolithic society that would be devastated by any general change. So lets say you have this dynamic, stable, humane culture. Are they human or are they machines? If they are human then do they not have a superior culture? Which brings us to:
*Is it all ethical?* Resune creates humans in their own image, with their own "improvements". They are all healthier, more socially adjusted, and good looking (1). In short, they are better than their predecessors. Is this "extended evolution"? Is it "playing god"? Is it morally right to take on the role of The Creator or is it just primitive superstision that I might even think to criticise such a laudable benefit to society?
When you first read Cyteen you get caught up in the morals of the character's direct actions. Whether you would consider each character's actions right r wrong. When you step back and look at the whole thing from afar (Holistic Sociology? :-) that are larger web of moral tensions is revealed. I once heard C.J.Cherryh's works describe as "space opera". Bullshit. This is literature.

Gotta logout. I leave as an exercise :
1. Compare and contrast Union's concept of "Specials" with the American concept of "gifted students" (or equivelent). What are its affects on society? What are its affects on the individuals?
2. Develop on your arguments above and write a speech to be given to the Union parliment either for or against state sponsoring of Resune's "Immortality Project" for specials.

(1) Talking with some friends about their travels in Sweden they remarked how most of the women there were extremely attractive ("Statuesque"). Yet they ooohed, and ahhhed over one of them who was shortish with mousey brown hair. "She is so exotic!" One wonders what perceptions of beauty an AZI culture of Resune-perceived-beauty would have.

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>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Wed, 9 Dec 92 10:14:23 GMT
> >From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
> >Subject: CherryhList: AZI Ubermaunch

> 	*Would they be "human"?* Biologically they are just as human as
> you and I. We are all "cultrualy programmed" to a certain extent as well.
> We learn what we are taught and (generally) stay within the norms encouraged
> by society. Such an AZI culture seems to me to be so very artificial. How
> do they advance? Can you build in creative adaption without introducing
> instability? One might assume so. If not then you end up with a rigid,
> monolithic society that would be devastated by any general change.  So lets
> say you have this dynamic, stable, humane culture. Are they human or
> are they machines? If they are human then do they not have a superior
> culture? Which brings us to:
Azi can learn, it's just that they already have 'all' the knowledge they need to do their jobs. Obviously, azi in the military will need to be able to apply further experience to what they already know, and so on. What Emory introduced was a desire to teach what they knew and what they had learned on to their children. _40 000_ shows azi adapting and being creative where others failed.
> 	*Is it all ethical?* 
No. For all the moral posturing of the researchers in Resuene, I think the basic humanity of the azi has been lost sight of. Emory said she didn't want to create a slave caste, yet hundreds of years later azi are still slaves, now with a 40-year lifespan -- built in redundancy. It's disgusting.
> (1) Talking with some friends about their travels in Sweden they remarked
> how most of the women there were extremely attractive ("Statuesque"). Yet
> they ooohed, and ahhhed over one of them who was shortish with mousey
> brown hair. "She is so exotic!" One wonders what perceptions of beauty
> an AZI culture of Resune-perceived-beauty would have.
None, I would think, overall. Azi rate people by how well they do their job, not by their looks. Granted, Jin in 40 000 was vain, but this had as much to do with his abiliities as an alpha as his looks. Azi are just not interested in what they look like.
				Lesley

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