Re: meta-selves

Anders Sandberg (
28 Oct 1999 15:04:27 +0200

"Robert J. Bradbury" <> writes:

> > what if I could clone/copy myself millions of times and send all the
> > copies throughout the universe, telling them to return at a given time.
> The problem is how do you gurantee that "you" will follow "your"
> instructions?

What guarantee do I have that my future self will not squander all my hard work to become a Ph.d. by becoming a hippie, move to Western Australia and spend his days surfing? I don't have a guarantee, but it seems unlikely given my current personality. The same goes for making a lot of copies of myself - statistically, a few of them might become hippies, but most will likely remain transhumanists and scientists at least over a timescale of decades.

> The only way I can see you getting a favorable
> return rate is to have the instruction *hardwired* at the level
> of drives like "eating" or "breathing" and having a lot of
> error-correction code to prevent any mutations in the "directive".
> If you do manage to do this you are crossing over the line of
> enslaving conscious entities (even if they are yourself). While
> I'm of the opinion that this is reasonable if you are doing it with
> your property, I know there are others, (Greg Burch for example),
> who feel quite the opposite.

I think it all depends on your views of self-ownership. Would you do this to yourself, it is OK (even if I might advice against limiting oneself so much). The problem comes when you do it to existing individuals - if you focus yourself and then make a lot of copies, I would say it is OK (if a bit too limiting). If you copy yourself and then modify the copies (without changing yourself) then I would disagree - your copies have the same rights as you. The real quandry comes when you do it to the copies before they are up and running, while you hold your own source code in a buffer and edit it and then let it loose. In this case I would still claim it is unethical, but is it less unethical than changing already existing copies?

> > when they did return, I could form a direct mind connection with each of
> > them, forming a large "collective" entity. i would have all the memories
> > of all their experiences, in effect, living a meta-life instead of living
> > linearly.
> You have to assume that none of the entities have evolved to the
> degree that "merging" memories is infeasible. I could imagine
> scenarios when they would be so different that the "mix" could
> short-circuit the individuals involved.

The hard problem is mixing individuals - you cannot for example mix two neural networks (usually) to get a new that has learned what both has learned on their own. If you have a bad representation for merging the merging might be infeasible. My guess is that one of the greatest breakthroughs in posthuman psychology and psychodesign will be the object oriented mind encoding system or something similar, enabling easy knowledge transfer. That might be much harder to achieve than mere uploading :-)

> I think it might make more sense to send the individuals off,
> maintaining communications with them letting them ship you
> idea & experience "objects" (IEOs) from their lives that you can
> try on from time to time. If you have a standard protocol for
> idea & experience exchange then you don't have the short-circuit
> problems. You also don't have to wait until the rendezvous time.
> Since there is some cost for sending the IEOs around through space
> there is probably some incentive & competiation to give as good as
> you get. Otherwise you get a situation like -- "Spike3472 hasn't sent
> me anything good in 20,000 years! Thats it, he gets nothing from
> me for the next centamillenia, we will see if he gets the message".


Pass this IEO around - and you could be the lucky recipient of a transcendent stream of knowledge, information and experience from all of the galaxy! Just add your name to the list below and send at least 10^6 copies of this IEO to your friends. Whenever you receive an IEO, send a copy to the names below. This way you will soon receive a huge flood of IEOs, without having to move around the galaxy at all! You will be guaranteed fantastic experiences and great ideas to ponder without having to lift a fractal finger. Get involved now - who knows what you might be missing?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y