[ExI] Let's play What If.

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Thu Oct 28 18:37:58 UTC 2010

2010/10/28 John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net>

> On Oct 27, 2010, at 1:38 PM, Dave Sill wrote:
> That assumes a lot of things, primarily that the upload universe is
> indistinguishable from the real universe.
> That seems a reasonable assumption because from your point of view the
> computer simulating you can be infinitely fast. If there is a data
> processing crunch then the computer can just stop your simulation for a
> second or a minute or a millennium while it calculates exactly how that
> teacup you just dropped should shatter, when it figures it out then then it
> can start your simulation up again; from your viewpoint the computer was
> infinitely fast with its calculation it even if objectively it was as slow
> as an old Radio Shack TRS-80.

That's an argument for the feasibility of implementing a virtual universe
indistinguishable from the real universe--though not a terribly strong one.
Since the thought experiment didn't specify that either way, I won't argue
the point.

> Another is that no attempt is made, as part of the uploading process, to
> make the upload aware that it is, in fact, an upload. I consider
> that immorally deceptive.
> What you consider immoral is irrelevant, what Mr. Jupiter Brain considers
> immoral is not.

Mr. Jupiter Brain wasn't specified either. We know nothing about the motives
behind the entities doing the upload.

> I'd never agree to allow a non-destructive upload of myself without it
> being made clear to the upload immediately upon activation that that's what
> it is.
> If you are very very very lucky maybe someday Mr. Jupiter Brain will give
> you that choice, or at least pretend to give you that choice.

I'm assuming that the experiment is being conducted by benevolent,
trustworthy parties. If that's not true, all bets are off.

>  There would be only one conscious experience provided the two were
>> identical.
>> How's that? You've got two independent instantiations running on
> completely different substrates and you don't think there are two different
> consciousnesses?
> No I don't think there are two different consciousnesses. The concept of
> position is not very meaningful when talking about consciousness, and what
> particular substrate a consciousness is running on is so unimportant that it
> often has no idea what it is. For thousands of years many thought the liver
> was the organ that generated consciousness, others thought the heart, and
> the ancient Egyptians carefully preserved every part of the body EXCEPT for
> the brain which they just threw away.

It's not just a difference of position. As you've pointed out above, the
clocks of the different substrates can run at different rates. And,
obviously, the "universes" available to each can be different--there's
nothing that says they all have to implement the same physics.

> Even if there were two uploads running in identical, synchronized virtual
> realities, there'd still be two different-but-identical  consciousnesses.
> Huh? If they are identical then how are they different?

If I have two identical apples in my hands, they're still two separate
apples, not one.

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