Upload rehearsal?

Crosby_M (CrosbyM@po1.cpi.bls.gov)
Wed, 6 Nov 1996 18:13:04 -0500

Before this thread disappears into the archives ...

On Tuesday, October 29, 1996 11:54 PM, Chris Hind wrote:
<The whole concept of uploading reminds me of Aladdin where Jafar becomes
the genie (ie. The universe is mine to command! to control!) Just hope
humans left behind don't destroy our magic lamp!>

On Friday, November 01, 1996 12:12 PM, Anders Sandberg replied:
<Designing an organism (say a dragon) from scratch is equivalent to having
a genie machine that you can tell "Build a working spaceship!". [SNIP]
Until I get my neutron star computer, I plan to make small worlds.>

On Tuesday, November 05, 1996 2:55 PM, Eugene Leitl insisted:
<AR, not VR. VR is something you can buy even now. Requiring an artifical
reality closely modeled after the pre-upload physical world is a weakness,

In these recent discussions, no one appears to considered the 'alternative'
of 'ER', the type of things that Alexander Chislenko has written about
ENHANCED REALITY at http://www.lucifer.com/~sasha/EnhancedReality.html
(also published in Extropy #16):
<[A]ugment human senses with transparent external information
pre-processors ... create personalized interactive illusions ... propelled
by real events, but would show the world the way a person wants to see it
... wiring exosomatic sensors to our nervous systems may allow us to better
feel our environments ... virtualize and superimpose on the image of the
real world your favorite mythological characters and imaginary companions,
and provide other educational and recreational functions.>

This seems much more economical than trying to develop an AR from scratch:
you wouldn't have to rely entirely on your own creations (the whole world
is 'off-the-shelf'), you could interact with billions of other conscious
beings all slicing and dicing and reaggregating the real-time feeds from
around the wired universe along with you.

The BIG problem with this scenario, however, is that it might kill the
sacred cow of "H. accelerans". The need (under ER) for real-world
interaction and the desire to make use of *all* available substrates for
data storage, communication and computation makes it unlikely that
gradually uploaded, or augmented, minds would be much faster than analog
meat minds (at least initially). Also, an ER-based mind would likely want
to use distributed sensing and computing components.

On Thursday, October 31, 1996 12:04 PM, James Rogers objected that:
<Being able to "jack in" to cyberspace is only marginally useful if you
don't have the processing power to go with it. Sure, you may have access
to vast quantities of information, but if you are still processing it or
thinking about it at tissue speeds then you aren't much better off. [SNIP]
Bandwidth and latency is also an issue. A distributed intelligence would
require some level of synchronization between its distributed components to
operate in any type of coherent fashion. Imagine if our neurons had to
communicate with each other via UUCP!>

Still, on Monday, November 04, 1996, Michael Lorrey declared:
<I believe that the technology for slow gradual uploads will develop much
sooner than a flash upload capability.>

And, 'way back' on Tuesday, October 29, 1996 6:34 AM, Algimantas Malickas
<I have wrote a paper "Gradual Uploading as a Cognition of Mind". It is
placed in

In this essay Malickas proposes:
<The gradual uploading requires addition of artificial neural network (or
other means of AI) to the brain. After this, the brain and the external
system would operate as one system. During this common coexistence, the
memory and other functions of mind would gradually grow into the external
system and would survive after the brain's death.>

Gradual uploading and ER have the advantage that they are things that can
be worked on now (as opposed to John Clark's destructive "pulse gamma ray
laser that can make a hologram of the human brain"). BUT, a serious
disadvantage is that a gradual uploading approach, such as that proposed by
Algimantas Malickas, might not be able to capture *all* of the memories and
emotional/value preferences that might be burried in deep neural structures
because, as Malickas admits:
<The gradual uploading would be uploading of mind functions, not uploading
of a morphological brain architectures.>

This might even have advantages over simply copying the existing brain
structure: we could throw out any emotional quirks we no longer want to be
burdened with, experiment with removing obsolete structures left over from
evolution, optimize various functions for the cyberspace environment, etc.
Still, judging from the recent posts from people fearful about losing
their unique stream of consciousness, this might not be acceptable to those
who want to be uploaded with all their organic experiences intact.

However, as Lyle Burkhead wrote in his Fri, 11 Oct 1996 post on
"made-to-order cells", eventually:
<We will be able to design a very small "monitor cell" whose job it is to
insinuate itself into the brain, and, in conjunction with millions of other
such cells, keep track of everything that goes on in there. [snip] If we
are going to have a very fine-grained model of the brain, something like
this will have to happen. We have to have sensors in there, picking up
real-time information about how the neurons work, and this has to happen
while the brain is "on," so to speak.>

Under this scenario, uploading would be a gradual process of 'raising your
consciousness', slowly growing it into other, more permanent and flexible
substrates, until eventually you've uploaded and *taught* your systems all
'they' need to know about your data, rules, forms, views, experiences and
goals, so that you've actually succeeded in *implanting* your consciousness
into these cybernetic extensions of your biological being.

Now, if you go to all this effort, is the upload that remains really 'you'?
That depends on how good a job *you* did in creating and informing your
'higher' self. Even an instantaneous and perfect upload of your current
brain won't eliminate the need for alot of hard work at self

Mark Crosby