Re: Afterlife?

Anders Sandberg (
07 Dec 1999 13:09:04 +0100

Skye Howard <> writes:

> It strikes me outright that in order to figure the
> validity of such a civilisation's abilities I might
> have to go on a great deal of grave digging for
> proof.... of course, the signs of uploading from a
> civilisation advanced enough to do time travel might
> be hard to spot.

Actually, time travel is likely not the best way to do it. In the proposals I have seen, the idea is instead to gather as much information as possible about the present state of the universe, and then extrapolate backwards. This leads to the problem about uncertainty; essentially known historical facts and evidence will act as boundary conditions on history, but there will be uncertainties about a lot of things. One way of dealing with this if you have a *lot* of computing power (and now we are talking about converting most of the universe into computronium) is to simulate *all* possible histories. Once this is done, you can "upload" (rather, copy from the simulation) all people who have ever lived - or *might* have lived.

> Then again, there are other matters to be
> considered. For example, who would be a likely target
> for uploading?

In the above scenario, there is no particular reason not to upload everybody. The computing power necessary to run a few hundred billion uploads is much smaller than the history simulation. Sure, everybody wants to meet Leonardo da Vinci, but in order to get him we need his completely mediocre nephew in the simulation too.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y