[ExI] The Upload Game

Michael Miller ain_ani at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 26 13:25:54 UTC 2008

Ben said:

It's very (very!) simple. In your scenario, there are 2 people. One is
the uploaded continuation of the original person. The other is the
non-uploaded continuation. The very instant that their experiences
become different, they become 2 different people. 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, neither of whom could be expected
to be any happier to sacrifice their life than they were before.


This is a very good explanation. I think I understand now how yourself and Lee are looking at this.

For my own understanding (and I think perhaps continuing the thought behind the original thought experiment) I have two questions:

1. What criteria would be necessary to make uploading a "proven technology"? What experiments would have to be conducted in order to sufficiently convince you that the upload was in fact a direct continuation, rather than just a feeble simulation? For, while it may maintain the stuctural (physical) pattern of the brain, the temporal processes ongoing in the brain (and the way it processes incoming data) may behave differently purely due to its existence in a new strata.

2. This is more a point than a question. It seems to me as though this point of view is based on a rather 'externalist' understanding of the self. What I mean is, While I can look at two books which are identical and say "yes, they are the same thing" and this is acceptable, I cannot point to something outside of my own skin and say "that is myself" - not for any reason of a soul etc, but because "I" implies a subjective perspectival quality; if you are pointing, then clearly the thing you are pointing to is outside of yourself. While it may share all the traits, when both are looked at from the outside, I can see that object from the outside whereas it is logically impossible to see my own subjectivity from the outside. I think this perhaps could be called the 'subjective' sense of identity as opposed to the 'pattern' sense of identity. I think both are valid in their own way, but we need to accept that there is a difference here.

Thus, while I could say of someone else that the upload and the non-upload are to all intents and purposes the same, I could not say that of myself and my upload, for the very fact that I am a subject and my upload is an object. Whereas in the previous case, both the upload and the non-upload are objects.

Does this make sense? Have I misrepresented anyone?


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