Re: Uploading, info theory, and threads of consciousness

Hara Ra (
Fri, 01 Nov 1996 23:56:18 -0800 wrote:

> Yes, but I think that most people here want to *experience* the
> upload, not generate a bunch of clones who *think* they were
> uploaded. In a destructive upload, our stream of consciousness would
> cease to exist. We would be dead and there would be a computer
> program running that would swear it was us, and would in fact be us,
> albeit running on a separate stream of consciousness. I don't think
> too many people would terminate their own stream of consciousness to
> create new independant ones. What would be the advantage?
Well.... I AM a cryonicist, which implies an interruption in the stream
of consciousness. I can't prove I am not already in an uploaded state,
simulating my mundane physical existence. Perhaps "god" loaded me from
a backup this morning....

> For information to exist it must be encoded. This *requires* that
> information can only be copied or destroyed. "New" information is
> only the reorganization of existing information into a format that is
> meaningful to us. Even our imaginations are constrained by the limits of
> our experience.
Not quite. It's information AND the system which uses it.

> If I am not mistaken, the "Information can not be moved, only copied"
> theorem has been proven mathematically.

I disagree. Information is readily sent via moving media, whether a disk
in snail mail or a laser beam...

> Unfortunately, this reflects
> the strong entropic property of information.

Please explain.

> I am not saying it is impossible to upload; it is impossible only in
> the sense of uploading a single, existing stream of consciousness as opposed to
> creating a new stream of consciousness.

I'm sorry, this argument sounds like "soul" to me. If the SOC is based
information, it can be copied, uploaded, etc. If not, I see creeping
here. IMHO, the SOC is actually information whose content is along the
of "I exist" and consistency in the memories of same.

> This, of course, IS the big question. If consciousness is based upon
> information and information processing, my above statements hold. If
> not, then everything I said becomes irrelevant to the question.
Per the above, you have this backwards.

> Personally, I believe that consciousness is a result of the
> architecture of our information storage and processing systems. If
> this was not the case, we would be delving into the fuzzy world of
> metaphysics.

Almost all discussions of consciousness are metaphysics.

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