This is just a copy

John K Clark (
Sat, 18 Jul 1998 21:09:06 -0700 (PDT)

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- (Harvey Newstrom) On Sat, 18 Jul 1998 Wrote:

>>If they were standing side by side and not facing each other they
>>might have an irresistible urge to grab the round table in the
>>center of their symmetrical room and move it to their right.

>But then they wouldn't be seeing the same thing.



>Their identities would diverge, by your definition.


>I believe that you asserted that the symmetrical room would
>prevent such divergence.


>I believe that I have shown that it does not. Are we now agreed on
>this latter point?

No. If the table is moved to one side the room is no longer symmetrical.

If you have an innate asymmetry and a passion for moving things to the right and I put you into a symmetrical room you will soon rearrange things so that the room is no longer symmetrical. If I put both you and your copy facing each other in such a room you will both engage in your respective hobby but your activities will cancel each other out and the room will remain symmetrical, both will receive the exact same information from their senses so nothing will diverge. If they're side by side then, contrary to what you said, they can find a way to agree on a direction to move the table, however things will rapidly become asymmetrical and so the two will diverge into separate beings.

In example with them facing each other the fingers of the two will indeed be pointing toward different walls but I don't find that disturbing, if one copy was in London and the other in Paris they would also be pointing at different walls, but as long as the walls are identical the information received from the walls will be the same and no divergence will happen. If you have doubts that the information really is the same then convert it to a binary sequence and see if the train of ones and zeros is the same.

In none of these scenarios does the position of the brain of the "original" or the "copy" make the slightest difference, only the information the brains receive is important and that's a function of the position of the sense organs.

>As far as we know, it is impossible to produce such an identical
>copy, so all the copy-and-kill scenarios are theoretical and
>philosophical arguments.

It's far beyond today's technology but Nanotechnology could do it and I know of no law of Physics that would make Nanotechnology impossible.

>For my money, I would like to see one neuron at a time replaced with
>a new one. I think everyone has agreed that this is an acceptable
>way to end up in a mechanical body.

I'd like to do it that way too, at least if I was one of the very early uploaders, the reason is very practical, it would be the best way to catch small bugs in the replacement protocol before they became large bugs. Philosophically speaking however the speed of the change would make no difference.

                                           John K Clark

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