[ExI] Concerning mind uploading

Jérôme aucun dynetis at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 17 23:12:58 UTC 2010

Good morning or evening or whatever, everyone.

I'm fascinated by mind uploading ever since I heard about it (and even since a little before actually), but the more I think about it, the more I think it's not made for us (or we are not made for it). 

This idea of moving our mind away from our usuals, thousands years old bodies, raises a lot of issues, especially considering that the development of our mind was closely related, and even determined, by our bodies. If uploading technology comes before it's possible to build human shaped containers, having to get used to a differently shaped will be a hell of an ordeal (even with boosted neuronal plasticity, or its silicon-based equivalent), with lots of psychological consequences. Imagine living without limbs. Imagine "living" in a box. Imagine having to deal with the fact that you're not in your body anymore, which might mean for you and/or for others that you left some part of your identity behind (physical appearance has a tremendous impact of how we define ourselves and how others define us).
The solution might be heavy virtual reality, in order, actually, to *forget* theses changes. I'm not sure those who hope to get uploaded want it in ordrer to be able to play Second Life for the rest of eternity.

In case we're able to be uploaded to high quality human-like containers, there are still some issues on the way. Spike mentioned that apart the brain, the rest of the body is useless, energy-consuming meat (correct me if I misinterpreted your words). But such a dichotomy doesn't fit to reality. An example: our experience of emotions (something one wouldn't want to lose in the process of uploading, I guess) depends powerfully of the physiological states these emotions arise in the body. Removes the body and you'll probably remove a essential part of our emotional system. 
Following the same idea, let's talk about sex. It's a powerful drive for humans, and it depends a lot of our sexual glands. Without glands, no sexual arousal as far as I know. Well, I didn't experienced it myself, but it's a key part of the hormonal mechanisms involved in sexual arousal, among other things. Actually, removing the body would remove most of our usual motivational drive, and it doesn't sound very exciting (one could argue these primitive biological drive will be replace by purely-intellectual motivations, and we sometimes experience that even if our flesh shells, but I'm not convinced this problem can be considered as solved as such).
Well, yeah, those missing inputs could be simulated. I guess once we'll be able to upload ourselves, we'll have enough knowledge about the brain to accurately simulate some inputs, leading the way to simulating emotions (and top notch VR). But it's not a simple solution. In such a debate, there is no such thing as a magic answer to the incredible problems that will emerge once mankind we'll be able to really play with it's minds. We'll see great things but some gloomy stuffs too.

The better scenario could involve highly advanced genetics engineering and biological knowledge, allowing to grow enhanced human bodies (let's say, slow aging, stronger, and so on), in which we could upload. A fully biological container, with all it's usual inputs and it's usual shape. Some kind of long lasting youth in an improved body. But it's bringing us very far away before that kind of feats becomes possible.

To summarise, I think that straying too far from what humans are might be very uncomfortable, even unbearable (without absurds amounts of simulated substitutes). I'm all in favor for enhancement and as I said, I'm also very interested by uploading, but there's also a lot of nightmarish scenarios coming to my mind when I envision it. 

PS: I apologize if my english has flaws, I'm working daily on improving it. ;)

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