Re: extropians-digest V1 #110

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Mon, 25 Nov 1996 13:47:05 -0600

> Freeman contends that mind only emerges at the crossroads of perception,
> action and learning. His studies, particularly research on EEGs in
> rabbits, indicate that mammalian brains are constantly being 'rewired' as
> life situations change. Thus, the common transhumanist notion that
> uploading our minds to a digital media will somehow give us a qualitatively
> NEW way to transform ourselves may be somewhat of a myth.

First of all, this Freeman character is either misrepresented (in the
article) or a crackpot, probably the former. That article wasn't
cognitive science, it was New Age philosophy with a slightly larger
syllable count.

Leaving that aside, at present there is no conscious entity redesigning
its brain on a neuron-by-neuron basis. There is a limited amount of
neural power available to the brain. No more than, say, 7.5 meg of
information is used to build the thing (assuming 1% of the genome is
devoted.) We are evolved to hunt and gather, not do mathematics or
design computers. describes how to build an
intuitive understanding of numbers into a Power, or how the Powers might
view the whole of human knowledge in a single flash of experience, and
how to continue the process. The basic concept is that of a "Perceptual
Transcend", which occurs when the semantic structures become semantic

All in all, I'd say that uploading to computer presents a tremendous
range of new possibilities.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I know.