Re: uploading

Freeman Craig Presson (
Sat, 26 Jun 1999 12:22:34 -0500

Many femtoseconds ago, Hal Finney wrote:
> The question I like to ask in regards to this kind of "gradual uploading"
> scenario is this. What about the case of a person who is already uploaded
> into a computer? Let's ignore for now the question of whether he is the
> same person he was when in an organic body. Hopefully we can agree that
> there is "someone" in the computer.
> Should he have concerns about identity when his program is subject to
> similar kinds of transformations as uploading? Modern operating systems
> will move programs around in memory, or even swap them out of memory
> altogether and put them on a disk for a while before swapping them back in
> to run some more. If you were a program like this, wouldn't moving you to
> a disk "kill" you as certainly as uploading? Where is the continuity in a
> system which shoves around bits and pieces of your program willy-nilly?

Hal, I agree with your basic point, but it raises another set of questions.

Swapping, paging, dynamic load-balancing, and all that other interesting "modern OS" crud (that I used to do for a living) is all based on the economics of computer hardware circa 1965-1990. The situation in 2020 should be a lot different, although no doubt there will still be some legacy systems to deal with (job security for computing fossils).

It's getting a little ahead of the argument to speculate about optimal architectures for an upload host computer, but we can think about some requirements. Being rather fond as most of us are of our personal boundaries, I doubt that we'll want to be hosted on some server running AIX 11.20 <grimace> with a bunch of other uploads: $ ps -ef

 halfinn 0 10834   Jun 08   0:01 univgen
    root 6  5838   Jun 13   0:06 telnetd
 nanogrl 0  5838   Jun 25   0:00 nanogrl: aminomodel -c
 nanogrl 6  5838 16:10:53   0:00 nanogrl: vworld 
     fcp 8  5838   Jun 22   0:00 gnuchessv200.3
 halfinn 6 36456   Jun 13   0:00 -univgen
     fcp 6  5838   Jun 23   0:00 - mediatron -ch Remedial-
     fcp 8  5838   Jun 23   0:00 - mediatron -ch Vorgy
    root 6  5838 11:39:39   0:00 telnetd
 nanogrl 4  5838   Jun 24   0:00 mediatron -ch Vorgy
     fcp 2  5838   Jun 23   0:00 - make -k univgen.cpp
anders++ 2 5838 Jun 22 0:00 anders++: STOR univ3.2 [...]

You said that right at the end -- our upload host will be the ultimate PERSONAL computer; we'll be gravely concerned with its security and reliability. We'll also want all the raw power we can get. Processors will be cheap, there will be processors everywhere, maybe one per neuron/synapse in the neural net part, and way more than we need to run the rest of it (assuming a hybrid machine, part NN and part symbolic).

I'd say at least 2/3 of the mass of a typical mind machine would be tied up in support, defense and security systems. So you'd need three grains of salt, sugar cubes, or planets, depending on how ambitious you are, to instantiate a design whose core function takes one.

So definitely no virtual memory for this old ndn's main system. Plenty of backup and a monster 'Net connection, though.