Re: [UPLOADING] It's not all about you

Robin Hanson (
Wed, 15 Jul 1998 15:41:46 -0700

Harvey Newstrom writes:
>But it is about us. The current discussion on uploads is not about
>creating offspring, but extending our current lifespan beyond that of
>our bodies. Since most copy advocates require that the original body be
>destroyed during the process, we really need to figure out whether it
>will be life extension or instant death. This is not a question that
>can be put off until after we pull the trigger.

I think this needlessly focuses on one not terribly typical scenario. The earliest uploads will likely be cryonics patients, without much hope of getting a regular body anytime soon. When uploading tech is mature, making an upload copy of a flesh brain probably *won't* require destroying that flesh brain. And making a copy of an upload brain probably will never require destroying the original (though that may be cheaper sometimes). It's only in the early but not earliest upload tech era regarding meat to metal transitions when the issue might even arise.

>We need to know if uploading as described will make us live forever, or
>instantly kill us for trying. This is more than a vague philosophical
>question of "if I changed, am I really me". ...
>I think you are looking at copies as if they are offspring. In such a
>scenario, I agree that it is unnecessary to discuss how much like us the
>offspring will be.

I mainly want to point out that not only is there a lot of slop in deciding "is it a change me or a similar someone else", but even when you decide "someone else", you may still be willing to sacrifice a lot to create that someone else. Maybe even "die". When uploading is possible, many people *will* do it. Can't we get past this endless agonizing over who will do it, and wonder what their world will be like?

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627