Re: Upload motivations (was SPACE: Lunar Billboard?)

Mark Grant (
Wed, 8 Jan 1997 13:00:30 +0000

On Mon, 6 Jan 1997, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> While many in this "Machine Stops" world are fully satisfactory with
> telepresence, I am not, except when unavoidable, for the important
> experiences.

Me too (sorry ;-)). Having just returned from six months of travel I can
certainly say that the real thing is a lot better than photographs and TV.
You also have the problem that if uploads are a thousand times faster than
humans then the other side of the Earth will seem almost as far away to
them as other planets are to us. That is, 1/7 of a second (rough minimum
round-trip time for communications) will seem like three "human" minutes
to them, making teleprescence very difficult.

As Chris said, downloading into a physical drone is the obvious solution,
but I wonder how many uploads would be willing to take the risk of
downloading into a potentially untrustworthy physical body when they could
sit safely inside their own computer at home. You can encrypt yourself
while you pass across the network, but who knows what 'Kangaroo
Rent-a-bod' will do with you when you get there? Your competitors or
enemies might pay a lot of money for a copy of your software[1].

The solution to that would seem to be to make your own computer mobile,
make a backup and jump on a 747. Hmm, haven't we been here before ;-) ?


[1] This seems to be a fundamental problem with the standard concept of
uploads, where you simply exist as a distributed process on the Net and
travel around whenever you feel like doing so. If you build your own
computer to run on then you can trust that it's not bugged, but if someone
taps the link you travel over or the remote computer you're running on
then they can copy your software and run it on a 'supercomputer' (i.e.
something a lot faster than the normal computers you run on) to simulate
you. They can then run the simulation as often as neccesary until they
find a reward that will motivate you to do whatever they wish. This won't
be perfect because your experiences in the intervening time will change
you, but it should often work.

Does anyone know if this has already been covered in fiction? I think
Anders once mentioned something similar occuring in an RPG.

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