[extropy-chat] Avoid Too Much Change.

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Apr 10 15:56:06 UTC 2007

John writes

> "Lee Corbin" <lcorbin at rawbw.com>
>> Yes.  Now, would you explain the difference between (A) the Alien granting
>> your request and (B) the alien killing you, and then creating an IQ 12,000
>> entity that the alien names Isador  which just so happens to have
>> incredibly complete biographical information about you?
> The difference is that in case (A) there is a living being that remembers
> being me, and that's all you could ask for of survival; in case (B) there is
> not.

I totally agree with you about the cruciality of the requirement "a being
who remembers being you".  In fact, many years ago I called any such
being a "memory superset", and declared that I was any and all of my
memory supersets, regardless of how many copies they were, or 
whether they also included trillions of other people's memories on an
equal footing with mine.  I changed my mind a couple of decades ago.

Your simple characterization of (A) seems to me to leave out important
information.  Recall that in describing (A) in my original post I also wrote

>> The only issue," he goes on, "is that some of you may have a problem about
>> identity.  You see, the moment that your IQ becomes 12,000 and you know
>> everything about Earth history and the pitifully primitive life forms that
>> you used to be, you no longer resemble the same person that you used to
>> be at all, any more than you currently resemble the fetus that you were
>> eight months before birth.

That's important!  Take "you know everything about Earth history and the 
pitifully primitive life forms you used to be" very, very broadly. Doesn't it
bother you, before you jump up and say "TAKE ME!", that perhaps you
have been taken in by the *form* of my last sentence in which I said
"you [sic] know everything about... forms you [sic] used to be."   All
that is really being postulated is the existence of an IQ 12000 entity
who has vivid recall of what happened to me on every day of my life,
and what happened to Max More on every day of his life, and, yes,
what happened to John Clark on every day of his life.

You don't see any problem at all here?  You don't worry that this vast
entity actually isn't "you", not really?  The phrase "remembers being you"
is now, to me, full of hazard and ambiguity.


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