[ExI] Wrestling with Embodiment

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 31 13:22:26 UTC 2012

On Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 7:36 AM, Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Um, not if you put in blue contact lenses.

Is wearing glasses good-enough to be equivalent to natural 20/20
eyesight?  If so, are contact lenses better?  I'm curious how many
add-ons we need use to make everyone equally capable.  Not that I have
this goal, but as a point of reference.

> OK, these are practical concerns, not philosophical ones.  They are addressed by improvements in the relevant technology.  Assuming that an upload can go 'perfectly', and these practical concerns can be easily fixed (analogous to the blue contact lenses example), there should be no theoretical considerations of anything being lost, should there?

I am more interested in practical concerns than philosophical ones.
If I need to get from New York to London, I only need to know that the
plane is guaranteed sufficient safety and reliability to complete the
task - there's no point discussing man's inherent right to flight.  In
the same sense, I would not have been the first to fly over the
Atlantic.  I appreciate that a more daring adventurer took the risk to
establish our new norm.  I wonder how many longevity-intentioned
transhumans are living similarly risk-averse lifestyles in order to
see a farther future.

> Please, not 'disembodiment'.  I know you mean 'dis-organic-embodiment', but using the term 'disembodied' for this is just asking people to misunderstand.  There's enough confusion over terminology here without adding to it unnecessarily.

Understood.  I'm not a big fan of that word in the first place.  I was
using it only because of the subject of this thread.  It reeks of
Cartesian mind/body distractions.  Do you have a more succinct
replacement terminology for the set of ideas being discussed here?
I'll gladly adopt them instead.

> I think the problem is that people tend to assume 'embody' only refers to the kind of bodies they have now, whereas it can refer to any kind of embodiment, including a virtual body and environment (which is itself necessarily embodied in a physical substrate).  The contrast is between a 'natural' and 'synthetic' body, and using the word 'embodiment' to refer to only one of these implies that the other is inherently inferior.

Devil you know...

> I know there are people who assume that a natural body is bound to be superior to a synthetic one, but the great difference between them is that the synthetic one is constantly improving, whereas the natural one isn't (not in any timescale that matters, anyway). So an assumption like that is going to look pretty stupid in a very short time, I think.
> If we persist in (mis)using the word this way, I'm going to have to claim that I'm currently disembodied, and am hoping for the chance to become properly embodied in a suitable substrate that is vastly superior to a biological 'body'.

Cool.  'cept that state of being makes it very difficult to go on
rides that have a requirement "you must be at least this tall..."

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