[ExI] The Upload Game

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Apr 26 06:14:32 UTC 2008

Ben writes

> Stuart LaForge said:
>> It relates to whether an otherwise healthy individual has
>> any rationale to destructively upload since presumably no
>> subjective spark jumps the gap. Or does it?
> Aaarrgghh! <bangs head against desk several times>
> WHAT spark? WHAT gap?
> What on earth are you talking about? This is dualist thinking. There is
> no 'subjective spark'. We are soulless automata, and i don't mean that
> in a pejorative sense.

Quite right.

> It's very (very!) simple.

Quite wrong.

> In your scenario, there are 2 people. One is the
> uploaded continuation of the original person.
> The other is the non-uploaded continuation.

And if you have a bit of amnesia, are you still
a "continuation", Ben? The whole stupid word
"continuation" was spread about by Nozick and
his inane "closest continuer" idea way back in
the 80's.

> The very instant that their experiences
> become different, they become 2 different
> people.

Be very careful of saying that something happens
at "an instant". Remember what the pro-lifers say
about "the instant of conception".  Nature does
not go for "instants"---almost always, it's some
human misconception that is causing us to attribute
some dramatic difference to "an instant".

> If the upload process had been destructive, then
> there would continue to be only one person.
> There can be no such thing as 'delayed destructive
> uploading'. Either the person is transferred from
> one substrate to another, or there is a
> copy made, and now there are two. The instant
> that their experiences differ, you have two distinct
> people,

Not so. Everything about them is COMPLETELY
IDENTICAL.  From the point of view of physics,
just how can you say that there are now *two*
people?  As soon as a copy of a book is made,
are there now two books?  In the *important*
sense, there is just one book (the information is
what is important, not the substrate!).

> neither of whom could be expected to be any
> happier to sacrifice their life than they were before.

Then IMNSHO, that's because they're not up to
speed on identity. If your identical duplicate is in
the next room, your instance should be approximately
as disappointed as he is the one of you who has to die.
It wouldn't matter that much to me which of us has to
die, given that extremely unfortunate stipulation, just
as the removal of 24 hours' memories wouldn't matter
that much to me (and here we are talking about suitable
compensation, say, $10M for starters).

Alas, I suppose that one instance of you would 
desperately try to see to it that it was the other
instance who had to die, even if that meant Ben
Z. was to be $10M poorer as a result. Again,
the *physics* of the situation says that there is
no important difference between you---and you
just have to get used to that idea.

> Why do people who profess to not believe in souls
> have problems with this?

There are two basic reasons. The first is that people have
not completely expunged the feeling that they have a soul.

The second reason is that people still cling to the very
first thing they learned as infants:  anything outside my
skin cannot possibly be me.

Yes, Stuart appears to be in the first category, but you
are still in the second.


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