Re: Consciousness/Uploading

Harvey Newstrom (
Tue, 7 Jul 1998 17:09:36 -0400

We keep having this rehash over and over. Neither side gets convinced by the other. Both sides accuse the other of mystical or unverifiable assumptions. I still have never understood the idea that if we can duplicate all the functions of a human that the human would then consider suicide.

I have an identical twin. Many people claim they can't tell us apart. I still want *my* body preserved cryonically for future animation. Preserving his body does me no good.

Now some people will say that they can use nanites to make his atomic structure more like mine. No matter how close they get to duplicating me, I still want to survive independent of my brother. Even if his thoughts and memories are modified to mimic mine, I still won't commit suicide.

Finally, nanites get my brother so close to being a duplicate that there is only one atom different. That last atom is fixed, and suddenly we are identical duplicates. I do not see that anything mystical has happened. I will not suddenly decide to kill myself now. Even if my functional ideas, thoughts, and appearance lives on, I'm still the same person I was before, including the desire not to die.

There is no mystical connection between the two bodies. My experiencial reference point of being inside this body won't suddenly change to start experiencing being inside the other body. That other body may be programmed to "remember" my thoughts, even though they never happened to that body. It may be programmed to "remember" that it was in this body, and then suddenly it was in that body. But that doesn't change my point of reference, that I am in this body, and that I still want to live.

If you would kill yourself because there is an exact copy that goes on living, this suggests other questions. Would you let yourself be tortured to death because there is an exact copy that goes on untortured? Would you let yourself be sold into slavery, because there is an exact copy of you that is still free? Even if "one" of you goes on with the desired outcome, the version of "you" that was the first will go on to experience the undesired outcome, up to and including death.

Harvey Newstrom                                   <>
Author, Engineer, Entrepreneur,              <>
Consultant, Researcher, Scientist.           <ldap://>