Re: advantages of uploading (was Re: re [2]: What is "New Age"? )

Anders Sandberg (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 10:36:48 +0200 (MET DST)

On Wed, 11 Jun 1997, Max More wrote:

> At 04:37 PM 6/11/97 -0600, Brent wrote:
> > And the ability to spontaneously install things like doctorate
> >degrees and/or life time memories such as practicing the piano for a
> >life time or studying math for a life time...
> How exactly do you think we will do that as uploads? It's not obvious that
> a change of platform will instantly make us totally malleable or give us
> the ability easily to simply plug in new abilities. I'm not saying it can't
> happen, but I do think this assumption is usually made without argument.

Adding new skills and memories would be nontrivial even if we could
modify the neurons of the brain at will. Memories are stored in a
distributed fashion, most likely as the synaptic strengths of widely
interconnected neural networks in the cortex. This means that the
memories of practicing and playing the piano are very hard to
untangle from (say) the memories of the piano teacher, childhood
memories, the experience of first using a computer and a lot of other

Moving a skill from one brain to another is equivalent to, but likely
many orders of magnitude harder, translating a book from one language
to another, where many words are completely lacking or have different
meanings. You don't have the same neurons as I do, and the
microstructure of our brains differ quite a bit. Even the
macrostructure is noticeably different in identical twins! Finding
the "right" neural nets to modify in skill or memory transfer is
hence very, very hard. It is likely easier to do some "compressed
training" in the upload brain, where an external (possibly AI) system
trains, monitors and modifies the brain during training, possibly
even running the trainee in paralell and merging the results.

What we will need to truly be able to transfer skills, memories and
experience is some kind of "neural lingua franca"; maybe add-on lobes
of our uploaded brains which are identical in all people and
information inside them hence can easily be transferred.

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