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

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 07:33:11 MST

John Clark wrote,
> Information, and I don't just mean memories although that's part of it.
> A certainly sufficient (but probably not necessary) amount of information
> would be the position and momentum of every atom in your body and
> a identification of which of the 10 different sorts of atoms (elements)
> was involved.

My problem with data as identity is that it doesn't contain any of the
classical requirements for the definition of life. A printout of all my
data is not conscious, functional, cannot grow, cannot adapt, cannot
perceive, cannot learn, and cannot change. I would interpret such a
definition of "me" to be a dead copy of me. I believe that my dead body
would also meet this definition, containing all my atoms and data stored in
a meat substrate.

In addition to data, I require consciousness or awareness, access to my
memories, functional logical thought processes, the ability to grow or
adapt, and the ability to perceive and interact with the world. Or in
computer terms, I require a running process, with access to a database,
software subroutines, self-modifying code, and peripherals or sensors to the
outside world.

Data without a running process is like a brain with no electrical activity.
It is dead.

Harvey Newstrom, CISSP <>
Principal Security Consultant, Newstaff Inc. <>
Board of Directors, Extropy Institute <>
Cofounder, Pro-Act <>

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