[ExI] Uploads

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Sat Mar 28 10:42:10 UTC 2020

On 28/03/2020 00:46, billw asked:
> Thanks for all that, Ben  - just one question:
> The body is designed not to die or suffer injury.  It will attempt to 
> shut down things that will do that.  Now suppose that we have an 
> uploaded person:  Suzie.  She is a sex maniac and spends most of her 
> time having an orgasm.  If she had a body, that would probably produce 
> heart failure or blow out blood vessels .  It might produce 
> inhibitions in the brain trying to dampen the orgasms.
> Is there anything to keep an uploaded person from just spending all 
> their time with peak experiences like orgasms?  I assume that issues 
> of tolerance and addiction will not apply. Those are biochemical 
> changes.  Or will the totally uploaded brain try to do what the 
> biological body would do?  This is far from clear to me.
> One more related example: your taste (tongue plus nose) diminishes 
> with each bite you take of something.  Will this happen to Suzie?
> bill w

OK, good questions. The main answer is, I don't know. But I'd expect 
that any upload would be well aware of these potential problems - 
perhaps through an 'orientation package' for all uploads - and be able 
to come up with sensible solutions.

One thing that I would probably want to do would be to define a set of 
conditions under which automatic systems would override my conscious 
decisions. Eg., if  the decision threatened my survival.

Another factor is that Suzie the Sex Maniac could very possibly keep the 
sensations of orgasm from having the effects you describe. It should be 
possible to subjectively experience something that normally involves 
bodily sensations without those sensations causing the usual 
'real-world' bodily reactions. I've been musing for quite a long time 
now about such a dual-world existence, where you can choose whether what 
you experience comes from - and affects - the external environment 
(meaning, in this case, the body), or is purely in a virtual 
environment, or is a mixture of the two.

i have no idea if this would be practical or feasible, but I don't see 
any theoretical reasons that it wouldn't be possible. You could for 
example, call up virtual overlays on your normal sensory input (an 
extension of the 'heads-up display' concept), that gives you information 
that comes from other sources than your bodies senses, or you could take 
your attention into a totally synthetic virtual world for a time while 
your body is occupied doing something mundane and easily automated, and 
have 'firewalls' between these two domains of experience, that only 
allow through signals that you specify.

"I assume that issues of tolerance and addiction will not apply. Those 
are biochemical changes.  Or will the totally uploaded brain try to do 
what the biological body would do?  This is far from clear to me."

This is one of the main points: We will be able to specify whether or 
not we want to apply the features of naturally evolved brains to our 
experience, and to what extent. Biochemistry is nothing special, it can 
be emulated (if that's not true, the whole uploading thing is a 
non-starter). To whatever degree you want. And of course, once emulated, 
you have much greater control over what happens. You're in the position 
of someone with a thermostat who gets it replaced with a digital 
temperature-control system, and realises that they have far more control 
over how it works now. Whereas before all they could do was set the 
temperature of the house, and hope it works well enough, now they 
realise they can set a huge range of conditions and responses, so that 
it automatically keeps the house nice and cozy when you're in, and lets 
the temperature fall when you're out, adjusts for sunny vs rainy days, 
makes it a bit cooler when there are a lot of people in the house, maybe 
learn that you often get up earlier than normal on a Tuesday, so put the 
heating on earlier on Tuesdays, etc.

So the answer to your question is, issues of tolerance and addiction 
will apply to the degree and type that you specify. The uploaded brain 
will try to do what the biological body would do, to the degree that you 
want it to, including not at all. Suzie could potentially learn to be in 
a state of constant orgasmic bliss while going about her normal life 
unimpeded. Very likely, we'll discover other modes of being that aren't 
possible at present, and that nobody has even imagined.

The potential for this all going horribly wrong, is of course immense. 
People will need to be educated to use these abilities properly, and 
will probably need to be protected from themselves until they know what 
they're doing. In the long run, though, we'll all know a hell of a lot 
more about ourselves than we do now. And of course, it will lead to 
people becoming something different to what we are now, not just 
physically, but mentally as well. We will hopefully, become proper 
Post-humans, not just monkeys with more bananas.

Ben Zaiboc

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