Re: >H soft incremental uploads

Roderick A. Carder-Russell (
Sat, 10 Aug 1996 12:13:38 -0400 (EDT)

On Fri, 9 Aug 1996, Eric Watt Forste wrote:

> What about the near-future use of cognitive prostheses? I mean neural-net
> chips that are trained to mimic functions of very small pieces of human
> brain tissue that might be used to cure the kind of aphasias and other
> cognitive deficits that small ischemic strokes and other brain injuries can
> cause. I think economic demand within the health-care industry will lead to
> heavy funding of this technology path, and once the engineering research to
> develop silicon cognitive prostheses is well underway, the same
> technologies can be used to enhance and expand "normal" function.
> Once people start using silicon neural-nets to expand and enhance normal
> brain function, one can imagine a smooth path to a point in which one's
> "identity" has gradually moved "into" the silicon prostheses, because
> eventually there would simply be more and faster computational power on the
> prosthesis side. The sorts of computational structures that neural networks
> support (minds, in this case) can be extremely protean and flexible.
> The logical end result of this technology path would be something similar
> to Greg Egan's "jewel" or Ndoli device. I don't think the possibility of
> soft incremental uploads can be so easily dismissed until after we learn
> more about the way neural networks (both artificial and natural) work.
> Eric Watt Forste <>

Much agreed! I think that the probability of an upload is much
more practical when approached as a soft incremental process. As one
gradually replaces portions, or rather enhances portions of the brain, one
slowly begins to become more dependent on those implants (or whatever they
turn out to be) as a significant part of there individual identity. If
you were to remove any portion, they would be "less themselves". As
technology develops, I can see not only adding to and enhancing the brain,
but actual replacing parts with more efficiently functioning implants.
Thus becoming not only more "artificial" but less "naturally biological".
The key to replacing parts would be in the ability to do it as a slow
"growth" process, it would be very dangerous to attempt replacement of a
large portion, possibly leading to loss of a significant amount of
information and identity, but when allowed to replace small portions and
then given the time to grow accustom to it, accepting it as part of
oneself, you can bit by bit replace and augment without significant
information loss. We must grow into the machine.
>H >H
Roderick A. Carder-Russell
specializing in man-machine symbiosis

e-mail: WWW:
>H >H