Re: Uploading

Joe Jenkins (
Thu, 27 Aug 1998 12:36:29 -0700 (PDT)

---John Clark <> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Joe Jenkins Wrote:
> >My first shot at defining identity is as follows:
> >Identity - A slightly dynamic but mostly stable fuzzy area
> >within the design space of all possible information
> processors
> >as defined by the ego.
> I don't know what you mean by "design space", as far as I know
> we were not designed. Perhaps you mean the set of all
> conceivable
> experiences, but some experiences I can never have, such as the
> experience of reading every Chinese book ever written.

No, I don't mean all conceivable experiences. Your mind is an information processor. Therefore, A universal Turing machine can emulate your mind. If you were to make a graphical representation where every point in its space represented one and only one possible state of that universal Turing machine you would have what I call the "design space of all possible information processors". This is regardless of whether that information processor was designed, evolved, or just happen to drop out of the sky from a disordered blob and accidentally self assemble into an SI. I prefer to think of this graph in terms of 3D. In reality the graph would have to be assembled such that the smallest of changes in the human mind would always be associated with adjacent point plots. I'm sure this would cause it to end up being Nth dimentionnal with N being very large. This concept is not new to you. You recently wrote about Tipler's Omega creating a copy of all possible minds. Here its assumed that all possible minds means those in the "the design space of all possible information processors" that are compatible with the biological configuration of the human mind.

All of your arguments so far seem to be exploiting the fact that there is a fuzzy boundary around identity. However, it doesn't follow from that that you can just throw up your hands and give up the clear difference between being inside and outside that boundary. Yes the transition between night and day is fuzzy, but I can say for sure that between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm in my time zone it is always daytime. To be consistent with your method of debating in this thread I expect you to come back with something about an eclipse. From my perspective you seem to be skirting the issues here. My debate with you hinged on your answer to the question posed in my modified thought experiment. In your response to that post that part of it was just conveniently omitted. So I'll ask it again:

My original thought experiment:
You've just completed 10 hours of mundane work at the office today in your normal biological state. You then documented your work more thoroughlly than ever before. A doctor shows up and completely convinces you beyond any shadow of a doubt that he has invented a flash light type device that can induce a perfect 10 hour amnesia with no side effects [or pain]whatsoever. You are 100% convinced this is safe and effective. He offers you $10,000 to let him use the device on you.

John Clarks response was:

> As you say it's a judgment call but I'd tell him no way.

I can accept this answer as honest, especially if you are a multi-millionaire. So I modified the thought experiment to more accurately reflect the situation in the original spawning of 1000 copies. I wrote:

My modified thought experiment:
Okay, then how about if he said he found out that your wealth had been divided by 1000 because of some unfortunate events in the U.S. economy today. And that your family and friends will welcome your interactions with them 1000 times less. This includes your friends on the Extropian and Transhuman lists. And then he continued to list many more unfortunate things that happened to you today. Then he says, "but I can fix it all if you just let me use the device on you". Would you do it if all this was true?

This question was conveniently omitted from your reply. Your answer is key to this debate.

John Clark wrote:

> Another problem, I'll bet any definition of "ego" will have the
> concept of identity in there someplace, it's the sort of thing
> that gives circular definitions a bad name. I'm sure the ego
> exists, consciousness too, but the chances that anybody
> will ever come up with a definition of either that's worth a
> damn
> is almost zero. This doesn't make me despair however because
> definitions are vastly overrated, most of our knowledge and all
> of the really important stuff is in the form of examples not
> definitions.

I agree with your comments above. I was pressured into inventing a definition by John Novak so I did the best I could with a first cut at it. This definition however is not key to my debate with you. Its for the reasons you mention above that I have been sticking with examples and thought experiments whenever possible. If I were so inclined, I'm sure my best definition of identity would be no less the size of a book - complete with a multitude of examples and thought experiments.

> [Me]
> >In order to self preserve and keep my ego intact 999 of my
> >point plots would not hesitate to commit voluntary amnesia.
> >With the above definition it is clear to me that we are in
> >fact
> >talking about 1000 minds with one ego because the ego defines
> >identity as the fuzzy area where all 1000 point plots reside.
[John Clark]
> Then why not look on me as an imperfect copy of you, after all
> from a Martian's point of view all humans are pretty much alike.
> If I could prove that I'm happier and more successful than you
> would it then be logical to kill yourself?

The point of view that matters here is not that of a Martians but that of your ego. So obviously, from my egos point of view, you are not an imperfect copy of me.

Joe Jenkins

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