[ExI] Destructive uploading.

Florent Berthet florent.berthet at gmail.com
Sat Sep 3 10:07:44 UTC 2011

I used to think that continuity of consciousness was obviously important for
uploading. My reasoning was "if I create a copy of myself, and if I die in
the process, that is as if I had created a clone of myself that would be
able to live in exchange for my life. But I don't want my clone to survive,
I want ME to survive."

So for me, a Star Trek teleporter that disassemble atoms and reassemble them
in an other place was out of the question, because it would kill the "real"

Then I thought "but when I go to bed, I wake up in the morning made of a
slightly different pattern of atoms (dreams have formed new memories, for
example). Nevertheless, I feel like I'm "the same" person. But what if I had
been scanned during my sleep, destroyed and instantly recreated in my bed? I
wouldn't even know it. This wouldn't make a difference. So, what I am afraid
of? And if there is no difference, do we "die" each night, waking up as a
whole new person? Should I be afraid of fallins asleep?

So I was like "well, my consciousness blacks out for several hours every
night, but there's still this background activity that keeps the continuity
on... so I'm the same person..." but things started to become not as sharp
and obvious, something was bothering me.

I thought: is continuity of consciousness even relevant? I mean, imagine a
guy in a coma who goes brain dead for a few moments. If we were to bring him
back to life, nobody would say "ha! He died! So he's not the same person
now!". So, damn, continuity of consciousness is not relevant...

The only things that could matter now are the actual atoms that compose the
brain and body of the guy. So, imagine that during that brief time of brain
inactivity, we could change one carbon atom of his brain and replace it with
another carbon atom. That wouldn't change a thing, atoms are the same, we
take one out and we put another back. Imagine that instead of one atom, we
replace a bunch of atoms, well, same thing, nothing has changed. Hell,
imagine we replace the whole brain by this process, it's still the same
thing! Atoms are the same, the pattern is the same. Physically, nothing has

Another example: if we could instantly move all your atoms 1 cm to le left,
I'm sure you would say you would end up the same person. Now if it wasn't
instantaneous but if you were out of this world for a millisecond during the
process, there's no reason you would object, what would have changed? What
about out for one second? One year?

That's when I realized that this whole "original" and "copy" thing was an
illusion. There is no "real" me, there is just a pattern that creates the
experience of me, a pattern that doesn't "belong" to me but just exists
because atoms have arranged themselves in this particular way. This
experience and consciousness is the same for every identical pattern,
regardless of how these patterns evolved and where they come from. There is
no "true" one, physics don't work that way. We must understand that there's
nothing special about us.

As counter-intuitive as it is, there is nothing to be afraid of concerning
destructive uploading, the pattern that makes your consciousness is the only
thing that matters. Gradually transferring a mind is no different that
destroying it a recreating it. Nobody else would make the difference and
neither would you, because there isn't any.

2011/9/3 Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com>

> 2011/9/2 john clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net>
>> On *Fri, 9/2/11, Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com>* wrote:
>> "The original what?"
>> "The biological pattern"
>> The biological pattern of an animal is the ordered arrangement of cells,
>> and the biological pattern of a cell is the structural framework of a system
>> of atoms; so biological pattern is a function of information on where to
>> place things.
>> Information can be duplicated, information can be uploaded, and its
>> meaningless to talk about an original bit of information.
> What's proposed to be emulated is the intelligence, not necessarily the
> animal
> itself.  Further, an emulation of a thing is, by definition, not actually
> the thing
> that is being emulated - even if a single identity may span from original
> to
> emulation, and even if the instances are identified by the same name.
> Thus, the silicon and wires that run the informational pattern are not the
> same
> as the biological network that originally ran that same informational
> pattern.
> "The original", in this case, refers to that biological network, which is
> replaced
> by the silicon and wires - even if the informational pattern is maintained
> during
> the transition from one to the other.
>>  what's so original about this mythical beast called "The Original" if
>> every single bit of it has been replaced many many times? I have asked this
>> question often over the last decade on this list but have never once
>> received a straight answer or even the hint of one.
> It is akin to a forest.  What is a forest, if not the combination of all
> the trees
> within?  But what if every tree is, one by one, replaced - is it the same
> forest?
> More practically, what about a ship, whose every part is replaced - again,
> one
> by one - over decades?  Almost all people will identify it as the "same"
> ship.
> You argue for and perceive a three dimensional snapshot.  This is where you
> err.  This is why you are frustrated: you insist that these things are only
> that
> which exists in one moment in time - but they are not.  They exist in all
> four
> dimensions.  They are collections of things *and* their coherence through
> time,
> which allows the parts to be gradually replaced - and, by the same token,
> does
> not allow all the parts to be replaced at once.
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