Re: IDENTITY- What it means to be 'me'

Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 12:29:34 MST

Wei writes:
> I think this is a very attractive approach, but there's an issue of whose
> behavior are we interested in? If we look at software copies then we'll
> probably find that most of them think identity is preserved by uploading
> and copying. If we look at physical copies then we may find that most of
> them think identity is not preserved by uploading and software copying but
> is preserved by physical copying. If we look at originals then we may find
> that most of them think identity is not preserved even by physical
> copying.

That's a good point. By analogy, fish might think the whole "life
conquers the land" thing was a big waste of time. On the other hand it
seems likely that the number of replicators would be greater in the more
flexible environments like software, and so the remnant of originals
would not be very significant numerically.

> Another way to think about this is what does fitness means in a posthuman
> world? For example someone who is very promiscuous about allowing his mind
> to be copied might end up having many copies of himself, but most of them
> may become permanently enslaved by others. Do these slaves count toward
> his reproductive fitness? Or consider a superintelligence that manages to
> maintain mind coherence as it expands in space and stays a single entity
> (think the Blight). Does it have low fitness because it doesn't reproduce
> in the traditional sense? Or consider a physical copy versus a software
> copy, or a running copy versus a static stored copy. How do each of these
> count towards reproductive fitness?

You could take a count of the proportion of physical resources devoted to
each mind's descendants/continuations as a measure of its reproductive
and survival success. Ultimately such measures are somewhat arbitrary
of course but then evolutionary success in biology suffers from the
same problem in principle. Those replicators which reproduce more
efficiently come to be more numerous. It's kind of tautological.
Depending on how you measure the outcome, you automatically get a
definition of reproduction which corresponds to maximizing the numbers
under that measurement.


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