[extropy-chat] Evidence for the self surviving brain disassembly?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Apr 1 14:27:17 UTC 2004

On Thu, Apr 01, 2004 at 11:08:38PM +1000, Brett Paatsch wrote:

> When you think of your physical, biological self, of Eugene, do
> you (also then) think of yourself as a system[s] in the quantum state?

No, that's for arguing hard cases (such as yourself) strictly. There are other layers to model
individually accurate biological infoprocessing, though, when addressing
implementation. I never rise abover compartmental level, and frequently go
back to atomic-detail level for gedanken purposes. There's of course no limit
to lowest theory level when using machine learning for parameter extraction,
wet data being the single validation acceptable.

Which is about the hardest problem in uploading (the machine learning part, I
mean). I have very little idea how to address this area effectively, apart
from vigorous handwaving and muttering 'evolutionary algorithms' a lot.

When I'm not doing that I'm just enjoying the drive, or being asleep at 
the wheel (not enough of that, lately).
> (Aside: By 'system[s]' I am just indicating I don't care much whether
>  you think of yourself as plural or as a singular self at the same instant.
> I think there is a criticism of the Cartesian *I* in the Cogito, which is
> that *I* could be singular or plural. I don't care about that for present
> purposes.)

I do not understand what you're getting at when using philosophy when I'm
talking technology. These both do not play well with each other.
> Understood. But "we (as in the community of educated thinkers)
> know" stuff differently to how you Eugene know some stuff - don't
> you agree?

I'm baffled, again. How does degree of understanding of something has to do
with that something working okay or not working?
> Your apparently not a solipcist.

I should hope not. These are might tasty with A1 steak sauce.
> So you think information existed in the universe before you

According to some people, this universe *is* information. I have no idea
whether they are correct, since they don't yet offer much by way of TOE. Time
will tell, I guess.

> did.  Do you think it existed before any pattern-recognizers
> existed?

Yes, of course.
> Sorry not following and not interested in that at this time. Maybe later.

It's your loss, not mine.

> I'm interested in "evidence for the self surviving brain disassembly"
> and there are already enough terms requiring pinning down.

Unfortunately, we're quite a few decades away from availability of such
technology, so I can't offer empirical proof (you'll probably also object to
being given a first-person view of subjective invisibility of inactivity
lacunes, dissassembly/reassembly, and similiar superficially impressive but pointless

As such I can only give you a walk-though through a sequence of gedanken,
an offer which you're so far also refusing. Damn. 
> "Evidence" for instance has variations in meaning. And "the self"
> is slippery too.

The self is implicitly addressed when we deal with the physical layer.
Denying that means denying materialism, which is cute pomo, but a waste of
everybody's time.
> Ok you found it interesting and I might too, but I'm not sure
> your honing in on the same thing as me yet so I'm not sure

I'm trying to get you to accept the first premise. So that I can start
introducing the others. You're making this impossible by refusing to accept
the first link in the chain of reasoning. As long as you don't swallow that
first step, I can't progress with presenting the evidence. 

> it's about "evidence for the self surviving brain disassembly".
> (Or am I mistaken? - if you've parsed the above to this point
> and still think it is - I may stand corrected.)

Physical system identity based on indistinguishability of systems in the same
quantum state is both a very strong and a very weak claim. It's strong
because it's difficult to deny, without having to falsify Tipler's proof
(you'd have to show that him deriving chemical equilibrium shifts from
premises is invalid -- if you manage to do that, you'd have absolutely no
problem getting this published anywhere). It's weak, because the other 
steps are only loosely based on this, and can be 
sucessfully denied in itself, without having to balk at the entry.
> Ok back to my inquiry. "In practice" then do you, Eugene, think that the
> neurons that make up your, Eugene's, physical, biological brain "encode"
> (bleah!) for two nontrivial systems that are your self or just one at any
> given instant?

You're putting the cart before the horse (see above chain of reasoning).
Before I've established the concept of spatiotemporal pattern for identity
(which needs an excursion into modelling, nature of randomness and
pseudorandomness, and the like) any claim that you can be in many "places"
simultaneously (or at specific times) doesn't make sense. (Above is an extremely artificial
scenario, including input and/or trajectory forcing in order to succeed. As
such you cannot make independant measurements on individual systems). Notice
that I've scare-crowed "places" because space is not labeled, and due to
above forcing boundary conditions all places look and feel exactly the same.
> I suppose one could but that's not what I'm trying to get at. I am
> exploring your, Eugene's in particular's, handling of the concept of
> self as an intelligent educated other.

My handling of it is problem-driven. I'm waiting for the physical tools to
make use of it. Unfortunately, the delivery schedule is slipping.
> Yes. Quite deliberately but not out of intellectual laziness or rudeness
> but because I am focussed on learning something specific and I think
> you guessed wrongly at what that was. I think you have been trying to
> help a person you perceived as more conventional asking a more
> conventional line of questioning and you were in two minds as to whether
> to help them or chase them off for not reading the FAQ.
> I could be wrong on that.

No, this is accurate. 
> You and I both have more than enough material between us already
> to use each other as test subjects in this thread. Of course participation
> is voluntary :-)

True, but email discussions rarely lead somewhere, and sap precious time from
other activities.

> [Eugene]
> > It is absolutely impossible to address the problem at philosophy level,
> > without diving into technical details, and using models (e.g., two
> > syncronized machine vision/robotics systems manipulating physical objects,
> > ditto two emulations thereof manipulating objects in virtual realtity,
> etc.).
> Crap.
> It's crucial to what I am trying to learn (and share-discover) in this
> thread.
> I invite you to think of philosophy as I do (at least briefly). As the love
> of knowledge and by extension of truth, practiced by a self. Me.
> All forms of learning including the various scientific knowledge
> domains and the scientific method in a sense subsets of philosophy
> thus conceived.

While above is fun, it's not getting things done. You can't build a nuclear
reactor by philosophy. You can't visit Europa by philosophy. You can't cure
poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma by philosophy. You cannot even fix a
broken car by philosophy, nevermind keeping a body from aging and dying.

So excuse me if I blow a raspberry at philosophy. Phpthpthpthtpthtpth.
> Don't hold your breath for more than an hour at least until you are
> done with this discussion.  (ref to Platt paper).

I've participated in those animal shutdown experiments, thanks. They're
surprisingly difficult to do in practice, vs. theory.
> Slightly more seriously, perhaps you ought to 'get out' more often.

Email is a poor medium to build people models.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07078, 11.61144            http://www.leitl.org
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http://moleculardevices.org         http://nanomachines.net
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