Heuristics and Identity

The Baileys (nanotech@att.net)
Tue, 22 Sep 1998 11:03:13 -0400

How integral are our heuristics to our overall indentity? If we plan on upgrading our minds in the future, this question becomes extremely important.

For example, I've uploaded my mind into some artificial substrate. I'm browsing the heuristic libraries looking for the latest heuristic sets developed by the top Weak SIs. I copy my mind (along with my heuristic modules) into some form of temporary backup space (just in case something goes wrong). I instruct some third party agent to delete my existing heuristics and upload the new Weak SI heuristics into my mind. (I suppose I could conduct a simulation of how my mind would function with the new heuristics first but this might create a problem since such a simulation - if completely accurate - would technically be a new intelligent entity.)

What is the impact of the new heuristics on my mind? Of course, it will greatly change my "identity trajectories" from the time I upload the new heuristics going forward. But will I still be me? Is the method with which I filter data inextricably linked to my identity. Identity might be some combination of the information (experiences, knowledge, etc.) stored in my mind and the interpretations derived from that information by my cognitive filters. If this is the case, then changing my cognitive filters might be a traumatic and identity-altering experience.

Another problem may arise incompatibility between my mind's current information storage techniques and the new heuristics. My mind is probably organized a particular way based on my existing heuristics. How compatible will drastically new heuristic sets be with my mind which has been organized by less efficient heuristics? (It might be necessary to gradually reorganize the information organization of a mind through incremental step ups in heuristic sets.) Will the new heuristics perform some form of house cleaning procedure and discard or re-prioritize certain blocks of information? The identity that emerges after such a shuffling might diverge significantly from the mind that initially selected to upload the new heuristics. "Identity Death" might be the new risk in a era of uploads and Weak SIs. [As always, I'm eager to hear comments, refutations, extrapolations, etc. on my meanderings.]

Doug Bailey