[ExI] The Upload Game

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Apr 27 00:38:40 UTC 2008

Michael Miller writes

> For my own understanding... 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...

It amounts very much to the delightful thought experiment
wherein you swap memories with some stranger from
Mongolia, and then (since you are now in Mongolia)
travel back to whatever city you currently reside in.
How could you convince your spouse, your children,
your parents, your co-workers, the police, and so on
that you are really the same Michael Miller?

I don't think it would take very long, granted that you
already have fairly normal relationships with a number
of people. To their incredulity and amazement, you'd
rather quickly convince them that you *had* to be
Michael Miller.

Suppose that I agree to be "uploaded", where the quotes
indicate that the process is as yet unproven, and, of course,
the process is non-destructive. For example, reputable
scientists claim that by attaching electrodes to the skull
of an ape, they've been able to upload the ape, but, for
example, it thinks at only half normal speed (they promise
better CPU performance will be available next year).

Even if he was talking only half as quickly as I, but nonetheless
speaking English, I could confirm after a few hours that this
entity was indeed me. 

> 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.

If you mean that the possibility of uploading is even conceivable,
I would say "yes", but many will demur. We have a number of
people who cannot entertain the idea that they could be in two
places at once, and so by definition an upload cannot be them.
They would accept only proven, demonstrable, but destructive

I would call the uploading view (where what happens to the
original is philosophically immaterial) to be the "objective" view.
But I understand your 'externalist', I think: doesn't it simply
amount to "objective"?

> 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"

Wait.  What about your best friend?  Can you look at two
copies of him and say that they are the same person?
Recall that they act completely the same, and if named
"Fred", each resembles the other Fred even more closely
than he resembles the Fred of last week. (So therefore
if each really is the same person as Fred of last week, it's
obvious---to me, at any rate---that they are the same
person as each other. But too many people simply find
this conclusion unacceptable, despite the logic.)

> - not for any reason of a soul etc., but because "I" implies
> a subjective perspectival quality; 

Only on *one* meaning of "I".  There really wouldn't be
any trouble for those who agree with me being able to
say "I am here, but I am also in Nebraska. Here I'm
attending conference A, but there I'm visiting relatives."
It really becomes inescapable were memory merging to
be accomplished. I "prove" that under this hypothesis
duplicates are self: http://www.leecorbin.com/dupproof.html

> 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.

Naturally, I'd just press you to practice the *objective*
or 'externalist' point of view. It would hardly be the first
time in your life that your subjectivity has mislead you.
Why, subjectively, the Earth isn't even moving!

> Does this make sense? Have I misrepresented anyone?

You make sense to me, and I've noted where I don't agree
with at least your terminology.


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