[extropy-chat] Cryonics and uploading

ben benboc at lineone.net
Sat Jan 28 21:35:55 UTC 2006

Brandon wrote:
"It boils down, for me, simply to the subjective experience. If the copy 
boots up, would I experience its state subjectively? Sure, everyone else 
would interact with it just as if it were me. But I don't want to 
preserve my objective self, I want to preserve my subjective self."

Er... what's the difference? I don't really see how the terms 
'objective' and 'subjective' are relevant here. We are talking about a 
copy of a mind. In other words, an information process. Granted, a very 
complex and as yet barely-understood one, but that's what it boils down 
to. After all, what else could it be?

You talk of 'the copy' as if somehow it wasn't you. But that's the whole 
point of the exercise. Copying you. If the copy isn't you, then it 
hasn't worked, and the faulty procedure needs to be fixed. As far as the 
copy's (your) subjective experience is concerned, it (you) will be you (it).

Slawomir wrote:
"If I like chocolate (and I do :)) and and my brain has been scanned
destructively in order to make a copy then it's the copy that will
experience the pleasure of eating chocolate, not me. Instead, I will
subjectively experience nothing (death). That's not my idea of imortality."

So who's this 'i' you are talking about?

Once more: The copy *will be* you, if the procedure works properly. 
(This has nothing to do with the original having been destroyed, either. 
If it wasn't destroyed, then there would be two of you. Not an original 
and a copy, not a 'genuine' and a 'fake' one, but simply you * 2).

Consider it this way: Your brain IS being 'destructively scanned', right 
now, and has been all your life. It's part of the normal metabolic 
processes that go on all the time. The physical bits that make up your 
brain are constantly being destroyed, and identical copies are put in 
their place.

So, by your logic, 'you' are long dead, and the current 'you' is an 
impostor, enjoying chocolate instead of the 'real you'. In fact - 
horror! - maybe the 'real you' didn't like chocolate at all!
I hope you can see that i'm talking nonsense now. 'You' is an immensely 
complex, ever-changing flow of information. It can, in theory at least, 
be stopped, restarted, copied, transcribed into another form, and run on 
a different substrate (at least that's what many of us hope!), without 
ever losing the tiniest bit of it's internal qualities, including all 
the qualities that people refer to as consciousness, subjectivity, soul, 
spirit, whatever.

I don't really understand why so many people have difficulty with this 
concept of the mind being an information process (i'm not comfortable 
with the term 'pattern' for this. It implies something static, and the 
mind is anything but static). Perhaps it's something like the problem 
that creationists have with evolution, thinking that it somehow demeans 
us if we are 'descended from monkeys'. Is it a problem if our minds are 
the same kind of (very) general thing as a telephone exchange or a web 
search engine? (I know, very inaccurate examples, worse even than 
'descended from monkeys', but i hope you get my meaning).

No matter how they twist and turn, and use fancy language, people who 
insist that the 'essential them' is *not* an information process that 
is, at least in principle, copyable, storable, etc., are subscribing to 
a supernatural explanation for their minds.

If anyone has a third possibility, i'd be fascinated to hear it (unless 
it contains the word 'quantum' ;)).


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