Re: [UPLOADING] Is an exact duplicate "me"?

Hal Finney (
Sun, 12 Jul 1998 10:35:56 -0700 (Harvey Newstrom) writes:
> Same old argument...
> [...]
> Would either individual agree to commit suicide based on the fact that
> the other would continue in its place? I say no. Others would say yes.
> I have a deeply personal desire to live and to continue on forever. I'm
> not sure why I feel this way. It may be based more on fear of death
> than anything else.

Suppose you are an upload. Someone proposes to pause your program for a moment, then resume it. Will this kill you? (Note that such behavior is an inherent property of timesharing computer systems, and that in fact the discrete nature of computer simulations implies that there can be said to be a "pause" between each clock tick.)

Someone proposes to pause your program and then resume it on another machine. Will this kill you? (Note that such behavior is an inherent property of load-balancing multi-processor systems.)

Suppose the computer has redundancy internally so that everything is duplicated, two copies of each processor side by side, likewise for memory elements, communication circuits, etc. You are run on such a computer. Someone proposes to remove some element of the redundancy so that there will no longer be this internal duplication. Will this kill you?

Suppose the two copies are run on two different computers. They are in perfect synchrony and all signals on one are duplicated on another. This is another way of providing redundancy. Someone proposes to turn off one of the computers permanently. Will this kill you?

The last scenario seems essentially to represent the situation you describe where you would view it as commiting suicide. I have tried to set up a chain of situations where the first is clearly not a matter of dying, and where there is a relatively small change between each step in the chain. Presumably you will draw a line somewhere and say, this step does not kill me but the next one will. This may help to clarify what the elements are which seem important to you as part of your identity and which you want to preserve in order to "stay alive".