Re: IDENTITY- What it means to be 'me'

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Dec 01 2001 - 08:51:06 MST

On Sat, 1 Dec 2001, Damien Broderick wrote:

> As John has noted in the past, *no* copy can be `exact' if its spatial
> location is a relevant attribute. [snip]
> If A and B were not messages but *persons*, they'd squeal when swapped.
> QED.

It depends how attached you are to an instantiation of yourself.
If one is living in a nano-enhanced world which is pretty much
a given in this situation -- then there probably aren't any "real"
consequences of being swapped.

Sure, you wake up one morning and find you have a different wife,
different car, different kids, different friends, different job,
live in a different part of the solar system, etc. Now, since
swapping has to be based on the technology to move memories and skills
around presumably there are representations of the "essential"
stuff relevant to living A's life before B woke up as A.
So you suspend consciousness for a brief moment, load up
all the "A"-ness specific information, resume consciousness
and now you are B+A. It could get kind of interesting
playing musical chairs with all of your copies every morning.
It might be a challenge to give yourself increasingly less
"A"-ness, "C"-ness, "D"-ness, etc. to see if B + 0.9A + 0.8C + 0.7D
can actually survive in D's life or whether he turns out to
be completely incapable. One might have some interesting results
because A+B may not equal B+A. The next day one would have an
interesting dilemma as to whether to resolve the conflict
by subtracting the difference from one side, adding it
to the other or splitting the difference.

It seems likely that the transhuman mind that could be developed
would be a meta-mind with data streams coming in from various
copies at various levels of compression and data rates (communication
bandwidths, costs etc.). You would presumably be trying to optimize
your self-development through the experiences of your sub-minds.
At that point you have evolved to the level where your IDENTITY is not an
individual instantiation of yourself but the entire collective set of


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