RE: Sincere Questions on Identity

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Mon Dec 17 2001 - 07:13:01 MST

Robert J. Bradbury wrote,
> > Therefore
> > it may not be possible to duplicate every single atom in the
> environment.
> > Random motion, carbon-14 decay, external radiation and the like
> will make
> > the environments subtly different. If both copies flip a coin,
> I doubt they
> > will always get the same result in all cases. Not only are
> these conditions
> > rare and contrived, they are unstable to the point of unmaintainability.
> Harvey, for any reasonably accurate copying to occur you will
> probably need
> to map the brain to the synapse level (a few micron), perhaps to
> the protein
> level (10-40 nm).

Agreed. I wasn't referring to the brain copy at this point. I was trying
to dispute the idea that we could build duplicate rooms so exact that coin
flips and die tosses always come up the same for both duplicates in separate
rooms. I doubt we could maintain such duplicate environments for long. I
think copying the brain structures are much easier.

> I think some of the examples I've seen are pretty contrived and
> a huge amount of energy is being spent on definitions and thought
> experiments rather than exploring what may be some of the more likely
> scenarios.

I agree here too. In fact, I personally do not require a surviving version
of myself to be very similar to my current self at all. I participate in
these thought experiments for fun, but I doubt they will ever have an impact
on my actual upload choices in the future.

> a) Outloading -- a gradual offloading of mental function onto
> external hardware, followed by up-evolving such that our current
> brain, mind and identity concepts have very little significance.
> b) Inloading -- a gradual replacement of neuron function with
> designs that are much more efficient, have built-in I/O port
> features that allow high bandwidth data sharing with equivalent
> copies. These utilize architectures like the Space Shuttle computers
> (majority logic among the different instantiations). So your
> extended mind "collectively" creates your identity.
> c) Recreation -- using the fine-grained information about the
> brain structure to recreate the original identity on
> different hardware (or within a VR).

The first two pose no problems for me since they seem to add functionality
to my one and only consciousness. The third possibility creates a better
version of me, but leaves the original me still suffering under its original
design flaws.

Harvey Newstrom, CISSP <>
Principal Security Consultant, Newstaff Inc. <>
Board of Directors, Extropy Institute <>
Cofounder, Pro-Act <>

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