[ExI] Uploads

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Tue Mar 31 22:39:44 UTC 2020

Ben Zaiboc <ben at zaiboc.net> wrote:


> Ah, I see.

> OK, that's not a problem with stories about uploads per se., it's a
problem with stories about anything more intelligent than the author (or
the readers). And it only holds true for uploads if you assume they will
inevitably be more intelligent (I'm not saying that's not a fair
assumption, just pointing it out).

There would seem to be little reason to upload if the process didn't
make you more intelligent.

> The solution is simply to write about uploads that are not more
intelligent than you are.

That works if you are just interested in writing stories.  It doesn't
work so well when you are trying to depict a post-singularity world.
All I could do in the story I wrote was to hint that the AI/uploads
who are assumed to be in control of the world had decided to stabilize
the human population.  Why?  Unknown, sentimental reasons perhaps.


> Telling stories isn't an exercise
in trying to get things right, or predicting the future.

In most cases this is true.  I, on the other hand, strive for
plausibility in the context of the early discussions on this list.

> I'd be quite
happy to read good stories about uploads that are no more intelligent
than I am, and I think it would be a worthwhile effort, because it's a
way to familiarise readers with some concepts that they may otherwise
find bizarre and uncomfortable (and frightening) when they actually turn
up in real life.

That's Accelerando.  Have you read it?  Stross was a regular on this
last way back in the dark ages.

> That seems to me a very good reason for writing such stories, no matter
how unrealistic they might be in terms of the psychology and motivations
of real uploads. If you want to frighten people and foster resistance to
a new idea, keep it unfamiliar, unknowable and intrinsically different
to what they know. I suggest doing the opposite with the idea of
uploading. I'd rate the chances of successful acceptance far higher if
there was at least a segment of society (beyond geeks like us) who find
the idea of uploading exciting, full of possibilities, something to look
forward to (even if they think it's all a bit pie-in-the-sky) than if
the only exposure to the idea that most people had was from the luddites
and bioconservatives, etc.

We are a long way from marketing uploads.  However, I suspect that it
will require being able to try reversible uploading.

> I just wish I had some skill as an author, or I'd be doing it myself!

This is a bad topic to try to write about.  It is hard to work in a
story arc.  In fact, The Clinic Seed does not have much of a story


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