Re: Mind Survival Strategies (was "Mind machines, a badly ..")

Hal Finney (
Mon, 2 Nov 1998 16:36:42 -0800

Doug Bailey, <>, writes:
> If it were me, I would have a two backups stored of the latest acceptable
> version of my mind (heuristics, knowledgewebs, etc.).
> Backup One: The Judge
> There would be a gatekeeper AI that would be in charge of one backup. After
> a 24 hour period (objective time), the gatekeeper would boot-up my backup

Don't you mean "subjective time"? In objective time 24 hours might be a subjective century for you.

> and let me scrutinize the current me (the end state of the last 24 hours of
> mind morphing). If the backup me thinks the new me is acceptable, the
> gatekeeper overwrites the new me over the backup copy
and the cycle begins
> again anew. If the backup me thinks the new me is unacceptable (e.g.,
> suicidal, psychotic, just plain "weird") then the new me
is overwritten with
> the backup me and the cycle begins anew.

This is an interesting approach. I can conceive of cases where it might not work well, but they are not very convincing. Maybe you could drift into an uptight, restricted mindset, and the only way out of it is by some kind of mind-blowing, consciousness-expanding experience, the very thing which would be rejected by your Judge. More serious might be a subtle memetic trap, like some kind of cult where you get sucked into it gradually. Now your Judge is helping to enforce your new mindset and it's going to be harder to break free.

Still, I can understand the theory that if a change is truly worth making, then it will still seem attractive the next morning. Even the situations I have described here can be overcome, via a gradual process of awakening and enlightenment. Giving up the ability to have overnight mindquakes may well be a good strategy in the long run.

Certain aspects of this approach may make people uncomfortable. Some people will be squeamish about the "death" the Judge faces when he allows himself to be overwritten by the next day's copy. When in the role of Judge, they might find themselves tempted to preserve their train of thought even at the cost of losing a day's experience. This kind of identity management would not be not appropriate for people with such views.

I suspect, thought, that given the ability to do the manipulations described here, most people would be forced to adopt more sophisticated approaches to identity.