[ExI] simulation as an improvement over reality

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 31 17:21:03 UTC 2010

The Avantguardian <avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com> wrote:

John K Clark wrote:
>> By definition, a copy, even a perfect one, would be not be experienced >> by you from within. It would be experienced by a copy of you.

> I'd love to respond to that by asking whose definition you are talking about, but I cannot do that, I cannot respond in any way because for many years you have persisted in sending nothing but copies of your Email messages to this list; in the future please send only the originals.

I can't put it any better than John can.

I also find it difficult to comprehend that the people who elicit this response (and there have been a few), don't see that a copy, especially a perfect one, would BE you.  Of necessity.  By definition.  Any other interpretation must imply the existence of what we can call, for want of a better word, a 'soul', with all the woo that it implies.

I'm a big fan of Occam's razor.  Mainly because it seems to work (which is really the central theme of all science).  Souls complicate things unnecessarily.  They aren't needed to explain, well, anything, really.  It's fairly straightforward to extrapolate from the distributed neural net of something like a jellyfish to something like John K Clark.  To assume that a perfect copy of John K Clark would not BE a John K Clark is as silly as assuming that a perfect copy of a particular jellyfish would not be that particular jellyfish, or that a perfect copy of Beethoven's 5th Symphony would not be Beethoven's 5th Symphony. (Or that a copy of an email would not be that email)

> > > You don't get to live forever. Instead a bit-pattern that very quickly diverges away from you gets indefinite run time.

> > > That's not any closer to immortality than having kids or writing a book.
> > Hmm.
> > What is 'you' then?

> I am the consensual illusion that a ripple on a pond is distinct from other ripples and the pond itself.

And what distinguishes one ripple from another ripple with exactly the same characteristics?  If you were to measure all the characteristics of this ripple, and make a copy of these measurements, would it make any sense to say you were then showing the characteristics of two different ripples?

>> Afaik, there are only two things that could possibly be 'you': atoms or
>> information.

> As far as you know. That is because you seek simple answers and?I am not

That is conflating two different things.  zn+1 = zn2 + c is simple.  The Mandelbrot set is not.  Yet the equation is sufficient to completely specify the Mandelbrot set.

Let me put it slightly differently: As far as *science* knows, there are only two things that could possibly be 'you': atoms or
information.  Just because it's simple to state that, doesn't mean that they can't encompass incredibly complex things, including human minds.

> By definition, a copy, even a perfect one, would be?not be experienced by you from within.

This makes no sense.  We're talking about a copy of *everything that makes you you*.  By definition, this must include whatever it is that is the 'you-ness' of you!  Therefore, a copy of you *is a you*, exactly as a copy of Beethoven's 5th is Beethoven's 5th.  The copy will be experiencing being you.  How could it possibly be otherwise?

> But even if the copy was perfect, it would diverge away
from you by lifetimes?spent within?an alien environment within?minutes of your time.

You're saying that if there are two copies of a person, they will diverge.  Of course.  So what?  I'm quite confident that the me of two days time will have diverged from the me of right now, and would diverge differently if I did different things in the meantime.

>> Identity is not inherently meaningless, but even if it were, an upload would still? preserve it.? If it didn't, it wouldn't be an upload.

> Which parameters of you would be conserved by an upload of you after?the
upload?starts evolving in virtual time? If it's little more than?a property
like?file.name="Ben Zaiboc", then you're dead, Jim.

Just as dead as the me of now will be in 12 hours time.  I'm about to go out, meet some friends and kill a few neurons with alcohol. In the morning I'll be waking up in a different bed, will be in a different mood, wearing different clothes, have some different memories, even.  I won't care.  I'll still think of myself as the same person as last night, and be happy about it.  I expect that uploading, once it's perfected, won't be that much different. 

Ben Zaiboc


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