Re: Extropian Events

From: Jim Fehlinger (
Date: Sun Apr 15 2001 - 18:21:17 MDT

Spike Jones wrote:

> Adrian Tymes wrote:

> > wrote:

> > > By the way... if an actual bio-engineered body were to become
> > > available, how would you transfer your consciousness over?

> > ...send a flood of nanites into your head to nondestructively record
> > the connections and relative positions of all neurons in your head,
> > then use the same or different nanites to model the upgraded body's
> > brain the same way, and see if that person can pull off a reasonably
> > good imitation of yourself. (Of course, that then leaves the question
> > of what to do with the new body if it fails, or with the old body if
> > it suceeds and you'd prefer that there be only one you at a time).

This is almost, but not quite, Eliezer Yudkowsky's modified
version of the "Moravec Transfer" (first described in Hans Moravec's
1988 _Mind Children_): see .

However, the Moravec Transfer, and Yudkowsky's variant, both
accomplish the transfer without creating a duplicate. There
is a single consciousness (the most vivid form of this Gedanken
experiment is performed while the subject is awake) whose
physical substrate is gradually replaced while the subject is
reading _Cosmopolitan_, or watching daytime TV ;-> .

The "reasonably good imitation" part happens neuron by neuron;
after this is achieved, the biological neuron is cut out of the
network and the simulated neuron patched in, without the
conscious awareness missing a line of dialog of _General Hospital_.

> We had the notion that if an appropriate neural net computer
> could be carried around with one, then the computer would
> observe all conditions and how the person reacted under
> those conditions. This observation/learning phase would go
> on for many years, creating a giant state-machine-like
> table, that would tell the computer how the person would
> react in any given sitch. Then when the human perished, the
> software would imitate the human...

This has been done by Greg Egan in the 1990 story "Learning To Be Me",
published in the 1995 collection _Axiomatic_. In this story,
every human receives a "jewel" (colloquial for Ndoli Dual),
a neurocomputer which learns to be that person as the person
grows up. The creepy part of the story is that replacement
of the biological brain by the jewel doesn't wait for the
human to perish; it's done in early maturity (early 30's).

"I was six years old when my parents told me that there was
a small, dark jewel inside my head, learning to be me."

This story reminds me very much of the old (1964) _Twilight
Zone_ episode "Number 12 Looks Just Like You"

Jim F.

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