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

Randall R Randall (
Sun, 12 Jul 1998 23:31:27 -0400

On Sun, 12 Jul 1998 10:35:56 -0700 Hal Finney <> writes:

>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
>the discrete nature of computer simulations implies that there can be
>said to be a "pause" between each clock tick.)

I would say probably not. (Note that I am *not* sure.)

>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.)

It seems likely that it would.

>Suppose the computer has redundancy internally so that everything is
>duplicated, two copies of each processor side by side, likewise for
>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?

It may depend on which one I am, or if
it matters. :( I don't know.

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

Same as above.

>The last scenario seems essentially to represent the situation you
>where you would view it as commiting suicide.

I disagree. Even this last scenario implies that each cannot consider the other, and each believes that it is the only one.

>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
>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".

Unfortunately, much of *my* discomfort with this lies in my ignorance of how consciousness works. I think if we understood it, I'd be able to delineate exactly where the problem lies. I do not think that it is likely that we *will* fully understand consciousness before the first uploads, however, so I will be satisfied if during the upload, the uploadee is fully conscious at all times, and at no point in the upload are there two complete copies of the uploadee. That is, a neuron by
neuron upload, while conscious, would be fine, I think.


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