David Musick (David_Musick@msn.com)
Tue, 5 Nov 96 17:54:00 UT

We've been discussing uploading and whether the upload is really the person
who was uploaded, or whether they are some new person who only thinks they are
the original person.

First of all, if we're assuming that we can be uploaded into a computer in the
first place, we are assuming that our consciousness is basically a type of
computer program. A computer program can be looked at as a way of
transforming numbers into other numbers. In the case of a person's
consciousness running on a computer, the computer would be transforming a very
LONG and complex number into another very long and complex number from moment
to moment. It doesn't matter how long the moments are in between
transformations of the numbers that represent the process of someone's
consciousness, it only matters that the same process is being carried out. An
interruption of a million years would make no difference to the upload, if
they carry on then just as they were before. The "stream of consciousness"
doesn't have to be flowing all the time; it can stop and start, but as long as
it always picks up right where it left off, it is still the same "stream of
consciousness". As long as uploading faithfully copies the computational
process that is your consciousness, you will be uploaded AS you. There may be
disagreement about how accurately an uploading process can copy your
consciousness however. But as long as it doesn't alter it any more than it
typically gets altered in the normal course of events, I see no way to argue
that the upload isn't as really you as you are. But, we'll just have to wait
around and see how good the technology is (of course, those of us who are
interested should actually get out and work on this technology, rather than
sitting around waiting for someone else to do it).

- David Musick