[extropy-chat] How to be copied into the future?

Heartland velvethum at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 27 00:43:13 UTC 2007

>>>> For all
>>>> you know, you might be dying all the time.

>>> A living thing can die at most once. It is wrong to think that death
>>> behaves just
>>> like sleep. If you're sleeping, you can wake up. If you die, you're
>>> never coming
>>> back.

>> But suppose science discovers tomorrow evidence that you die during
>> sleep, according to some definition of death you agree to, eg. your
>> EEG goes flat for a few seconds between REM and non-REM sleep every
>> night. Most people would say, "Oh, that's interesting" and get on
>> with their lives (or "their" lives, or their "lives"). You might
>> still claim that this is a very bad thing, but the point is it
>> doesn't make any difference; a perfect illusion of continuous life
>> is just as good as continuous life.

I hear this kind of argument all the time. What you're saying here does not really 
question the fact that flat EEG means death. You merely observe that you find no 
difference between an illusion of continuous life and a continuous life. Why you 
don't appreciate the difference? It's probably because you have been conditioned 
into assuming observer POV which effectively prevents you from seeing this 

Imagine you have a servant. As a master it makes no difference to you if the 
servant who does chores for you is being replaced by a perfect copy each time he 
escapes your field of vision as long as the job is being done. In other words, as 
an observer, the fact your servant is being constantly replaced makes no difference 
to you because you *benefit* equally from services of the original or the copy.

But you must realize your servant is a person too and you must be able and willing 
to assume his POV also. Let's say he likes chocolate and looks forward to eating 
some of it tomorrow. Unfortunately for your servant, you've just lost sight of him 
and evil forces drag him into your basement, kill him and send his copy to fulfill 
your new orders. The guy rotting now in your basement you have no awareness of has 
just been denied the benefit of experiencing the pleasure of eating chocolate 

The tragedy here is not that servant dies. It's that he permanently loses access to 
future benefits while you still maintain that access. That's the difference.

>> I could further claim that you
>> die and are pseudo-resurrected every instant because there is
>> nothing "between" quantum intervals of existence. You might
>> disagree, arguing that it isn't really complete and permanent
>> cessation of physical activity. I could counter that it *is*
>> complete and permanent cessation of physical activity, and the
>> person in the next quantum interval isn't really you, he just thinks
>> he is you.

And as I argued several times before, any process is defined over time interval 
bigger than 0 which means that there's no such thing as a "snapshot" of an 
instance. Snapshots apply only to types (patterns).

Besides, if there's nothing between quantum intervals, how is it possible that 
things exist during multiples of those intervals? After all, nothing times anything 
should still result in nothing.

>> Each life is an instance. Once it expires, resurrection of that
>> instance is physically/logically impossible unless posthumans figure
>> out a way to upload from
>> the past.

> It's not so easy.
> If you leave my desktop on over night, it stays on, but my wife's
> laptop is a different matter.
> Depending on how it is set up, after various times of inactivity, it
> shuts down the screen, slows the memory access to a crawl, then
> writes the contents of memory out to disk, stops the disk and goes
> into a sleep mode with memory refresh off.  Next time someone moves
> the mouse it loads memory from disk and continues from where it was
> with every bit in the same state.
> Where would you say it expired?

Before I could answer you would have to specify what "it" refers to, that is, which 
subset of all computer processes you want to track.


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