Re: longevity vs singularity/Question (fwd)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sun, 1 Aug 1999 15:01:42 -0700 (PDT)

> Gina Miller <> wrote:

> *Say that there are two "copies" of an original person uploaded. There are
> two persons with the same uploaded (or downloaded) data, consisting of one
> originals information, what is the perspective of the consciousness?

When you make two identical upload copies, you get the same thing as if you have an operating system that can "save" the entire memory/hardware state of a computer. If you "reload" it (virtually intact) [presuming the hardware is completely reliable and the computer hasn't been engineered "down" to the levels where the probability of quantum effects becoming "significant" is high (and then you don't have a "reliable" computer)], then you return to the same state each time. You should be able to do this as many times as you want.

> Are these to copies from two different viewpoints experiencing the same
> consciousness?

Consciousness is a function of "executing" an instance. If the copies are identical, each time you run one you get a different "consciousness". Now, the really interesting question is *iff* you run separate copies and give them *exactly* identical inputs, do the consciousnesses remain "identical"? I.e. if after a period of time you "saved" the executing copies, would they be bit-for-bit identical? I would argue that they should be (i.e. the brain should operate like a finite state machine) *unless* there are physical processes in the brain that are so sensitive to quantum (or chaotic?) effects (i.e. processes close to a 50:50 probability split in their output or processes that are derived from initial states that vary from pseudo-random starting states). Such variations would also have to transcend any "natural" majority logic/self-correction feedback loops built into the brain.

Only if you made the "copies" from different physical brain states, would you have different "consciousnesses". The brain states would have to be separated far enough in time (experience), that fundamental memories of events or mental biases were altered. (Otherwise I suspect the "return-to-center" tendency of the brain will have final say and the copies will evolve to a very similar state of consciousness.

> See I was having a conversation with someone and we were discussing consciousness.
> conscious is not tangable enough to be transferred into information to be
> dowloaded. I told him that the real question is "what is the definition of
> consciousness", until that is clear this kind of question is limited in
> answer. Any idea's?

Caca. Every day when you wake-up you "reboot" your consciousness. Because your brain (& mind) are "survival & reproduction machines", they have to reboot *essentially* the same consciousness. If you didn't do this you would forget all of the lessons you had learned, goals you had planned, etc. Presumably there is a fair amount of variation (subject to genetic influences) on how successful these "reboots" are. That accounts for forgetfullness, creativity, people driven to achieve goals, etc. But *iff* an upload is an exact copy running on hardware that exactly duplicates the brain, then the reboot processes should be identical (genetic variations are coded into the copy or the hardware on which it is running).

Now, if you are put to sleep, a copy gets made, and that copy gets "rebooted", it should be no different from the "reboot" that occurs when you wake up. The same would be true for all identical copies.

It seems to be true that some people can master injecting their consciousness into their dreams (lucid dreaming). I would view dreams as "partial reboots" with safetys "on" (kind of like a holodeck adventure).

Now, it looks from my reading of Nanomedicine, that nanobots should be able to "noninvasively" monitor neural discharges (they can detect the heat produced). *If* they can do this without generating too much extra heat (which could impact on brain functioning) *and* if they can "outmessage" this information (which requires a *really* high bandwidth link), *then* you could have "active" consciousness monitoring (and backup). You could even have this copy running in real time and probably "compare thought sequences". This would be kind of like the computers on the space shuttle that are constantly checking each other for errors.

There is a very interesting discussion of many interesting aspects of uploading/ conscious self-editing in "Permutation City" by Greg Egan. I think there were problems with the premise on which the book was based, but the exploration of the various aspects of this technology was very interesting.