[UPLOADING] short-term memory suicide

Joe Jenkins (joe_jenkins@yahoo.com)
Thu, 23 Jul 1998 15:40:16 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 23 Jul 1998 "Peter C. McCluskey":

>I think the important question is whether the person involved should
>consider consenting to such a termination the same way we currently
>consider suicide objectionable.

I wrote on Tue, 14 Jul 1998:

>I would go to great lengths to ensure that the information processing
I >call ME was not being processed by a duplicate. Shortly after two ME >processes diverged there would be two instances of an individual calling >himself Joe Jenkins. This individual would be accustomed to ownership of >all Joe Jenkins' property. He would be accustomed to relationships with >my relatives, and insist on living in my house, and sleeping with my wife. > He would know many secrets that I prefer kept out of the hands of someone >who might eventually have a conflict of interest with me. On >thanksgiving, two people would show up at my parents house claiming my >identity.

My earlier post above gave just a short sample of reasons an individual would not want to diverge two copies. Give it a few minutes of thought and you could come up with many more. Short of dividing my wealth, one of the copies would be destitute. Most people are not in a financial position to comfortably wing its division.

I've seen a lot of talk in this thread about the original being murdered shortly after the copy upload is completed. I get irritated when I see the word MURDER come up in this context. Short-term memory suicide is NOT murder. It is by definition voluntary and falls within libertarian principles. Some of us are so jaded with the issues, we occasionally let the word murder or the issue of murder slip into these discussions for dramatic purposes. Like:

On Sun, 19 Jul John K Clark johnkc@well.com wrote:

>I thought he was trying to mock me, so I reached for my 44 magnum
that I >always carry with me (I wonder why people think I'm strange) and pointed >it at him. I noted with alarm that my double also had found a gun and he >was pointed it at me. I shouted "you don't have the guts to pull the >trigger, but I do". Again he mimicked my words and did so in perfect >synchronization, this made me even more angry. I pulled the trigger, he >did too, my gun went off, his gun jammed, I buried him in my back yard.

In this case it was short term memory murder (if you can call that murder) rather than short term memory suicide. But the character here was not IMO acting rationally and therefore should not have been given the name John K Clark. Both John K Clark's either would or would not want a duplicate to diverge. If divergence was undesirable, the only rational thing would be for one to commit short-term memory suicide. BOTH rational John K Clark's would be willing to do this provided the other stayed alive. As was the main point of my "Harvey Newstrom vs. United Utilitarians PPL" post. The decision of which one "snuffs it" would be trivial to both rational copies. Therefore, the fiction above propagates a fallacy of competition between the two copies when there is in fact no conflict of interest shortly after duplication. This fallacy is dangerously infectious to many who are new to the issues and IMO should be carefully avoided.

If two copies are allowed to diverge more than a short time, the issues get messier. After a year of divergence, Mr. Original and Mr. Copy would have to consider how much they have changed in personality, acquired knowledge, worldview, etc. and each would have to decide if not having a divergent copy is more valuable than losing what was acquired in that time frame. Now we have a possible conflict of interest that could lead to limited murder. That is, a medium-term (memory/individual change) murder. Nevertheless, up until a certain point during the process of divergence, both copies value their short-term memories and personal growth changes SO LITTLE there is no conflict of interest. The amount of time of divergence for this problem to be incurred would be different for each individual and only they could use their value system to determine the breaking point. But I think it is fair to say that most of the scenarios discussed in this thread have been before that breaking point (including John Clarks fiction) and I think the word murder or even suicide (as opposed to short term memory suicide) is misleading, inappropriate, and confusing to new-comers.

This subject is so dependent on our own values and so critical and life threatening that it is difficult to spoon-feed the uninitiated with the issues. So we all end up talking past each other in frustration. That's why I sort-of butted out after making my two posts "Uploading for Dummies" and "Harvey Newstrom vs. United Utilitarians PPL". In those two posts, I virtually made the same points I've made here but I felt like I was talking past the recipient when the only response I got was:

On Thu, 16 Jul 1998 harv@gate.net (Harvey Newstrom) wrote:

>I don't know what to say... except maybe that fictionalization is
the >sincerest form of flattery???

As a result, I'm trying to spell it out a bit more clearly here.

Another issue we have talked a little less about in this thread (this time around) is when the original DESIRES to have multiple copies diverge. Again, this is a value-oriented decision that has a lot to do with the circumstances. The circumstance easiest to imagine is during space colonization. The financial problem could be overcome by collaboration with friends. Lets say five friends are each able to completely finance a space colonization trip for a party of five. Everyone could make four copies of himself or herself and five ships could head off in five different directions with a full party of five each. When they get to the "far side party" after much time has past, and all 25 participants meet again, the conflict of interests would probably be nil due to the great amount of divergence by historical accident. It would be interesting to see the differences in pecking order and niche filling that evolved among the five groups, no? Anyway, it is remarkable to see how the conflict of interest could be nil with very little divergence then become substantial with medium divergence and then come full circle to nil again with much divergence.

Joe Jenkins

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