[ExI] Uploads

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Sat Mar 28 21:59:31 UTC 2020

On 28/03/2020 20:21, billw wrote:
> What you are describing is more or less Heaven on Earth, but without 
> golf. I have serious doubts that this will happen the way you say, but 
> who cares about my opinion?
I have no idea if things will happen the way I describe, but so many 
people have what seems to me to be false (and frankly, ridiculous) ideas 
of what uploading would be like. I wanted to give a more realistic (in 
my view) description.

> As a libertarian I'd let just about anything happen.  Who besides some 
> religious people would have any objections?

Oh, you'd be surprised. Some people are dead against the idea on 
philosophical grounds (quite aside from religious ones). Extremely bad 
philosophical grounds, imo, but compelling to them. The worst thing is 
that some of these people don't just want to avoid uploading for 
themselves, they don't want /anyone/ doing it, they regard it as 
fundamentally evil or at least fatally misguided. Talk about uploading 
enough, and you'll soon find them crawling out of the woodwork. If you 
really want to expose yourself to this, just ask the dreaded (and silly) 
question: "Will a copy of you really be you?", then sit back and wait 
for the mouth-foaming to begin.

If you want some solid ammunition against the usual objections, read "A 
Taxonomy and Metaphysics of Mind-Uploading" by Keith Wiley. Highly 
recommended. Very clear, excellent logical arguments and well-written. 
For me, reading it was the culmination of a long path that started with 
the first four pages of Linda Nagata's 'Vast' (mentioned below), and its 
depiction of an uploaded spaceship pilot.

> What will the avatars be like?  Human body, computer brains linked to 
> yours?  Immobility would be a problem for me.  I'd want an avatar able 
> to go anywhere as if I were there.

Same answer as ever: Whatever you like (with certain limitations that 
have more to do with physics than anything else. Oh, and maybe legal 
questions. I don't suppose many people would object to a ban on avatars 
that guzzle woodland, belch out vast quantities of CO2 and manufacture 
nuclear weapons, for instance).

Like I said before, forget 'human body', 'computer brain'. The 
technology required to make uploading as I describe it possible will 
render those terms meaningless. You could maybe say something like 'a 
synthetic body, with even greater sophistication than biological bodies, 
containing a similarly sophisticated synthetic brain capable of creating 
and linking to multiple virtual worlds'. We'd probably need a shorter, 
catchier name, though.

> Will uploads vote?  Will anyone accumulate wealth enabling living for 
> centuries?

Will democracy still exist? Will living for centuries (let's say 
millennia, shall we? Centuries seems a very modest goal) require any 
special accumulation of wealth? These are questions we can't answer.

> I'd like to read a scifi book that has all this stuff in it.

So would I.
I know of none that has all of this stuff, but can recommend some 
authors that I've found interesting and inspirational, at least in parts:

Greg Egan, Neal Asher, Linda Nagata (her 'Nanotech Succession' books), 
Richard Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks ('Culture' novels), 
Charlie Stross (Singularity Sky, Saturn's Children, etc.), Greg Bear, 
Gregory Benford, Robert Reed ('Great Ship' books: 'Marrow', etc.), Olaf 
Stapledon, among others.

>   There is very often no progress in those books, no visions for the 
> future.
Plenty visions for the future, not all good, but very few actually try 
to chart an optimistic progressive path. Hardly surprising, though. 
Wars, murders, conflict etc., make for much better stories

> Very long before what you describe happens, the human race with evolve 
> itself genetically, and quickly.  Yes, why wait for regular 
> evolution?.  It has already started on a very small scale. That is 
> what interests me more than the uploading, though of course I am 
> interested in that too.
Time will tell.

> It's a great thing and a curse to have all my interests.   bill w

I can only agree with that. I try to practice attentional triage, but 
it's not easy...

Ben Zaiboc

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