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

Hal Finney (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 07:36:52 -0700

One good news/bad news aspect of uploading is that it should be possible
to run the simulation a lot faster than an organic brain. Rather than
electrochemical activity which switches on the order of milliseconds,
electronic circuits can switch in nanoseconds these days. You might be
able to have your brain sped up by thousands or even millions.

The down side is that this does not confer any immediate advantage on you.
In and of itself, running faster does not improve your quality of life.
What it does give you is a potential competitive advantage if you are
thinking faster than other people. So if the future world is one in which
competition is a significant factor, there will be pressure to run your
brain as fast as you can.

This is too bad, because actually in most ways the quality of life will
be worse for the super-fast brain. From the brain's point of view, it
is as though the rest of the world is slowed down by a huge factor.
Everything will be slow - computers, communication, any manipulation of
the physical world. If you need to do experiments to learn more about
nature, they will take (subjective) centuries to complete. If you want
to access those miraculous libraries from around the world, better plan
on (subjective) minutes or hours to get results. No more instant access.
If you expect to live in a nifty VR, think again: computers will be a
million times slower (subjectively) which will limit the quality of the
simulations they can provide. You may have to live in a cartoon world.

Some people look at this and say, "yeah, but I can get centuries of
work and thinking done in a single day!" I say, "wow, it will take
subjective centuries for even a single day's worth of change in the
physical world." I hope you like the weather, because you're going to
be stuck with it for a while.