Re: This is just a copy

Randall R Randall (
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 11:09:28 -0400

On Sun, 12 Jul 1998 20:59:03 -0700 (PDT) John K Clark <> writes:
>I have no idea what Randall R Randall really wrote, all I saw was a

That's what the digsig is for. :)

> >
> >I am trying to argue that there must be continuity of


> >to be sure that the uploaded one is the actual original
> >consciousness, instead of a consciousness that was just
> >while destroying the first.
>Perhaps true, perhaps not, it's irrelevant. Consciousness is obviously
>subjective so even if I stopped all your brain activity for a billion
>and then restarted it there is no way you could tell internally, you
>detect no gaps without observing the outside world, so your
>would be continuous.

If it is the same consciousness, I would agree. However, this begs the question at hand, which is: *Is* this the same consciousness, or a very similar consciousness which happens to have the original consciousness' memories?

> >you might need to simulate the entire structure to get
>Then simulate the mind, although "simulate" is not really the correct
>when dealing with information, a calculator doesn't perform simulated

Perhaps you will agree that consciousness is somewhat more complicated than arithmetic? :) When dealing with other simulations, it seems clear that the most straightforward way to run a Macintosh program on a PC is not to rewrite the program from scratch, but to simulate the Macintosh to the program. It may be that this will be the *only* practical way to transfer consciousness to a non-brain computer.

> >I don't agree that the entire brain is required [to understand


> >subjective experience]. Only specific memories are required,
> >of you thinking about being conscious.
>Interesting theory, but as we're talking about consciousness not
>or behavior, how will you ever know if you're theory is correct?

By subjectively experiencing the memories. This seems very clear to me. If I experience a memory from your brain, of you thinking about being conscious, then I know that you are (or were, at least, for that period) conscious, as that is the only way such a memory could be produced.

> >if I could experience a memory of yours, then *that* would

> >be me experiencing being you, for the length of the memory, no?
>Books, music or a painting, give me a different subjective experience
>these exact same things give you (I think), sometimes very different (I
>so why would you expect my memories to effect you the same way they do

They don't have to produce the same effect, I only have to *know* that you thought about being conscious, which is the same as being conscious.

>There is an even deeper problem, the only reason I think the 6 year old

>John Clark is not dead, at least not entirely dead, is that I remember
>him, if technology advances to the point (and it will) where you can
>remember being me then you are me, and Randall R Randall still has no
>what it's like to be John Clark.

I don't know whether the 6 year old John Clark (or Randall Randall) is dead. Perhaps further knowledge about consciousness will allow us to determine things like this.

> >If someone with plastic surgery and a really good imitation of


> >came along and asked you politely to commit suicide, so he
> >step into your life, would you?
>HELL NO, my momma didn't raise no dummies! The situation is not
>because the two act differently, one asks the other to sacrifice himself
>the other asks no such thing, so the two "copies" can not be anywhere
>to being identical. Let me propose a thought experiment of my own.

That's a good point.

>An exact duplicate of the earth, and it's entire ecosystem, is created
>a billion light years away. The duplicate world would need some sort of
>feedback mechanism to keep the worlds in synchronization, non linear
>would amplify tiny variations, even quantum fluctuations, into big
>differences, but this is a thought experiment so who cares. In the first
>cases below the results would vary according to personalities, remember
>there's a lot of illogic even in the best of us.
>1) I know all about the duplicate world and you put a 44 magnum to my
> and tell me in ten seconds you will blow my brains out, am I
> You bet I am because I know that your double is holding an identical
> to the head of my double and making an identical threat.
>2) I find out that for the first time since the Big Bang the worlds will

> diverge, in 10 seconds you will put a bullet in my head but my double
> be spared, am I concerned? Yes, and angry as well, in times of
> stress nobody is very logical. My double is no longer exact because I
> going through a traumatic experience and my double is not. I'd be
> at that huge gun and wondering what it will be like when it goes off
> if death will really be instantaneous. I'd be wondering if my
> was really as sound as I thought it was and I'd also be wondering why
> get the bullet and not my double and cursing the unfairness of it
> My (semi) double would be thinking "it's a shame about that other
> but I'm glad it's not me".

I agree with these two reactions, at least.

>3) I know nothing about the duplicate world, a gun is at both our heads
> we both are convinced we're going to die. One gun goes off, making a
> of a mess, but the other gun, for inexplicable reasons misfires. In
> case NOBODY died and except for undergoing a terrifying experience I
> completely unharmed. The real beauty part is that I don't even have
> clean up the mess.

But if no one died, who is that dead guy? Did the consciousness inside him magically jump to the other John Clark and combine with it? I would say that the fellow who used to own that dead body has died, even though this doesn't affect the fellow who is exactly like him, except for location.

>The bottom line is we don't have thoughts and emotions, we are thoughts
>emotions, and the idea that the particular hardware that is rendering
>changes their meaning is as crazy as my computer making the meaning of
>post different from what it was on yours.

Nor am I arguing that the hardware changes the meaning, if done properly. I am only arguing that it is very important to have continuity in consciousness, even while uploading.


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