Re: Does a copy know ?

den Otter (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 14:23:38 +0200


Berrie Staring <> wrote:

> Hello All,
> Referring to Arjans ">H is spreading….." , last weekend
> When we were forming EXCEDO (the Dutch >H group )
> Dalibor and I had a very lengthy discussion regarding copy and
> original.
> Dalibor: if I quote you wrong please correct!
I'll sure do!

> Anyway the case was:
> If you make an exact (very important word) copy of an
> original person, will it be the same, or will the original
> know it is the original and the copy know it is the copy!
> I claim that this is related to time!
> So: if you copy a person " PERFECT" when everything (atoms)
> Is put on a hold. I mean a complete "standstill" The copy
> Will not know that he/she is the copy. They can however
> go different directions. (Like twins). And when they meet
> They start discussing who is who!
> Dalibor claimed the original will always know he is the
> original. I claimed that he then, still is thinking of
> one original "spirit"
No, I claimed that even the most perfect copy of yourself (your brain)
is just that, a *copy*. It isn't *you* anymore, because your thought
processes have ended with the destruction of your original brain
(assuming the "destructive method" is used when you're uploaded).
If you could upload without damaging the original brain, the situation
would be much clearer. There would be 2 (or more) individuals,
undistinguishable to "outsiders". The fact that they are *exact* duplicates
doesn't mean one has become "redundant" or something. Just like
twins (very poor duplicates) *both* are "unique" individuals, and if one
of them dies *his* life is over, end of imput/output. It is *irrelevant*
the dead person how many "perfect" duplicates of him are out there.
They are all separate individuals, eventhough they have exactly the same
neural nets etc.

If you asked a duplicate if it's ok to shoot him, 'cause there are 10 more
of him anyway, what would he say? "Yeah sure, shoot me"? More likely
it would be something like "no!! take one of *the others*!"

Now, if you copy a brain, and vaporize it while making a "virtual" replica,
you are in fact killing one individual and creating another. There is *in
essence* no difference with the "shoot one of the copies" example.
If all the copies had a constant link things would probably be different,
because they would *feel* as one, and the loss of one of them would
feel to the rest like the loss of a small (insignificant?) portion of the
would feel to us. Connectedness and constant interactivity are crucial
to the sense of a "self". If you turned the experiment around, and split a
brain in two [hemispheres] you would also create 2 distinct individuals
who would both think and "feel" they are the only "real" one. Death would
feel to, say, the left lobe like death would feel to any "whole" person:
maybe first some fear and pain, then NOTHING...roll the credits!
The other half could live happily ever after, but that wouldn't help the
half very much, IMO.

> To give you one example of my opinion:
> I freeze a person.
> When he is in cryo-suspension.
> I put all relevant data in a computer, destroy the
> original. Build a new one, and wake him
> He will claim, he is the one who went into
> The Cryo-suspension.
> There is no way this person, will have a memory,
> That tells him he has been copied, since I gave
> Him the exact brain-pattern where he started with.
I fully agree with this. No doubt the copy will think and firmly *believe*
that he's the original, and that he never died. However, IMO he stays
a copy, and there is no continuity of your present "self". To yourself
you've died (of course you'll never know this).

> If you copy one alive though (living in time)
> He'll know when he's been copied, therefore
> It will become a part of his memory, and that's
> Why he can tell he is the copy or the original.

> Anyone an opinion.
Apparently we agree after all on your original question (does a copy
know he's been copied---> probably not). Now there's this tricky ID
thing: is a non-connected copy of any use to "the original"...???

> Greetings,

Non gratum anus rodentum