Personality Cafe banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since you smart NTs live so much in your minds and are constantly considering what's ultimately possible, perhaps I could get your thoughts on the question:

What do you think about mind uploads?

Originally, I was going to ask if anyone here would be interested in discussing Transhumanism, but that would've been too general to start. So, I thought it would be more productive to frame and scope the discussion by considering mind uploads in particular, and hopefully the discussion may naturally develop into transhumanism in general and thoughts concerning the following question:

What do you think about transhumanism?

I'm excited in anticipation to hear what you have to say and to learn from you. There are some ridic smart people here...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
you should've trusted your instincts and made two different threads , one for transhumanism and one for mind uploads

but..

I once thought that we could solve the "problem" of mortality with some sort of consciousness upload technology , we would only then become limited by the hardware's ability to survive in the physical universe

i think from a technical standpoint it could be possible in the future but it is difficult to fathom because i personally don't understand the true nature of consciousness, it may not be as simple as the electricity in your brain and may be tied deeper to our biology than we now understand. As soon as that is figured out we could probably figure out some artificial environment to house consciousnesses in.

existentially speaking though , how could a consciousness tuned to the human condition exist outside of the human condition? What would they do in this artificial universe when our motivations are tuned to experiencing a physical universe as humans

and what about reproduction ? would the first humans who had their brains uploaded be that last generation of humans to exist, as they would become super AI's ?

and for that matter how would other consciousness's coexist with each other ? would they meld into a hive mind or could 2 consciousnesses exist independently?
maybe some would conflict while others would meld ..who knows

just speculating
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I subscribe to the strictly materialist view of consciousness, that is, all that exists to permit a consciousness to exist resides "just" in the physical world. Using the term "just" there to highlight its misleading nature since the physical world is a wondrous place with phenomena such as quantum superposition, entanglement, and non-local influences - things that even the most imaginary science fiction writer may not only have not thought of, but may not be able to even in principle. Max Tegmark, a very cool cosmologist at MIT, interpreted consciousness as how computations feel like.

I think that the term "mind upload" is a misnomer, in the sense that it implies a one-time and immediate transfer of consciousness. What will be more realistic will be a neo-neocortex (both in terms of tangible neural prostheses attached to our physical brains, and where the computations supporting our enhanced consciousness reside, for example, in distributed servers that may be physically disjoint).

Ray Kurzweil stated that he disliked the term "post-human" and preferred instead the term "post-biological". Although we're no longer predominantly preoccupied with such things as whether that rustle in the bushes is a predator about to eat us or that we will have enough food to eat (all this in the first world), we're still worried about whether terrorists may harm us or whether we have enough in our bank accounts. So, many biological concerns will remain as we transition to a post-biological state since the overarching themes will remain timeless and substrate-less, for example: economic wealth, freedom, meaning, isolation, death, etc.

As for social structures related to mind uploads, I would say that this would probably follow the trend of mind uploading in a single individual, that is, instead of a one-time immediate transition, there'll be gradual transition. I think one thing we have to worry about is the intelligence explosion that a purely artificial AI might experience. If we were to create an AI that could change its source code and self-improve, it may be the very last invention that humanity has created, more powerful than all the nuclear bombs we've created. Since I believe in the materialistic view of consciousness and computation, I would say that we'd be able to detect this super-intelligence explosion in the form of increased physical resources required to support it such as, for example: increased energy consumption of servers, increased information exchange on our networks, and more discernible patterns in information exchange across those networks.

As for the last point about consciousnesses melding together, that's a fascinating topic. Even at the more mundane DNA level, genetic engineering will allow the fractional combination of the DNA of 3 or more people to create new life based on their DNA. Now when you take it to the consciousness and information-processing level, the possibilities are much greater. At the moment, humans are limited to exchanging information by sounds (speaking) and visual signals (body language, formal language systems, etc.), an extremely inefficient process. Imagine if we could know what the other were thinking explicitly? Or what N people were thinking? Delves into issues of identity. Where does my thought end and yours start? Could we have thought certain thoughts without the input and feedback from external thoughts? What do external thoughts mean if they were fundamentally informed by our own thoughts?

Just speculating... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,641 Posts
damn, good topic, i will reply here soon.

But in the mean time, Long live the Cyborg race!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tyrant

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
Don't know if uploading will ever become practical. I think you'd want to use something like MRI to get the image, and there's a limit to how tight of a resolution you can get before you start boiling the brain in its own juices. Once you got that problem wrinkled out, there would be the small problem of habitat. Could you *imagine* being stuck in Second Life or WoW for the rest of your life? We'd need to get some fancier virtual realities going, or the first uploadees are going to go nuts from sensory deprivation.

Transhumanism? I suppose a key turning point would be when people get voluntary amputations so they can strap on prosthetics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,641 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,025 Posts
In short; I agree wholeheartedly with the basic principles of transhumanism, and I don't think the arguments against it outweigh the benefits that humanity as a whole would get from making transhuman projects a much higher priority in our consciousness. I want to know more about it, though; my knowledge on the transhumanist community is sadly less than I wish it was.

I don't see the point in mind uploads. If it were possible to transfer your actual consciousness (as in, the original you that is thinking and breathing and aware) into a sort of central hub, and from there, transfer it into whatever body you found convenient, then I'd be all for it. However, the way I've seen it described reminds me more of copying and pasting your mental processes and cells into a seperate entity; it would be a copy of you, but you wouldn't see things from its perspective, wouldn't experience things from its perspective, and wouldn't be any different than you already are. In short, you would have given something your brain, that brain could be called you, in a sense, but there would be no link between the you that passed that brain over, and the you that has the brain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
I don't see the point in mind uploads. If it were possible to transfer your actual consciousness (as in, the original you that is thinking and breathing and aware) into a sort of central hub, and from there, transfer it into whatever body you found convenient, then I'd be all for it. However, the way I've seen it described reminds me more of copying and pasting your mental processes and cells into a seperate entity; it would be a copy of you, but you wouldn't see things from its perspective, wouldn't experience things from its perspective, and wouldn't be any different than you already are. In short, you would have given something your brain, that brain could be called you, in a sense, but there would be no link between the you that passed that brain over, and the you that has the brain.
Yeah, so a write capability would be a good thing to have as well as a read capability? But I think people are mainly interested in uploading because it brings with it the possibility of immortality. Rapture of the Nerds, eh?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,025 Posts
Yeah, so a write capability would be a good thing to have as well as a read capability? But I think people are mainly interested in uploading because it brings with it the possibility of immortality. Rapture of the Nerds, eh?
That's my point, though; how would it bring you (that is, the you that's thinking and breathing and conscious at this very moment) immortality, when all it would be doing is copying your thought processes onto a different entity? I would enjoy having some part of me live on forever, don't get me wrong, but I fail to see how it would affect my own perception of the affair. That's why I said that if my consciousness could be transferred (I realize that we have yet to come to a satisfactory definition of consciousness), rather than simply my mind, it would be true immortality, while the way I see it now, it's closer to giving an android a perfect replica of your brain, and then saying that it's you (it's you in the sense that it's got your thoughts and sees things the same way you would, but it's not you in the sense that your perception has switched from being human to being an android).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,620 Posts
That's my point, though; how would it bring you (that is, the you that's thinking and breathing and conscious at this very moment) immortality, when all it would be doing is copying your thought processes onto a different entity? I would enjoy having some part of me live on forever, don't get me wrong, but I fail to see how it would affect my own perception of the affair. That's why I said that if my consciousness could be transferred (I realize that we have yet to come to a satisfactory definition of consciousness), rather than simply my mind, it would be true immortality, while the way I see it now, it's closer to giving an android a perfect replica of your brain, and then saying that it's you (it's you in the sense that it's got your thoughts and sees things the same way you would, but it's not you in the sense that your perception has switched from being human to being an android).
Heh. Ship of Theseus paradox. My solution to it is that identity is not a transitive property. Meat!You is the same person as you were before the operation. Virtual!You is also the same person you were before the operation. It's just that Meat!Space and Virtual!You aren't the same person. I suppose, legally, we could call Virtual!You your child.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,025 Posts
Heh. Ship of Theseus paradox. My solution to it is that identity is not a transitive property. Meat!You is the same person as you were before the operation. Virtual!You is also the same person you were before the operation. It's just that Meat!Space and Virtual!You aren't the same person. I suppose, legally, we could call Virtual!You your child.
So, in other words, a mind-upload would simply be a virtual clone of you, but clearly not the same entity. I agree. I wish identity did work like that, though, because it would more or less eliminate the need for a physical body (though, I happen to like mine quite well). All that would be necessary would be to maintain the digital hub, where all the consciousnesses were stored, and ensure that there were enough real-world interfaces which people could download themselves into, assuming they wanted to travel and experience the real world (though, I think with time, we would be able to create virtual landscapes that would make the real world pale in comparison). I wonder how quickly our consciousnesses would be able to travel? Would they be bound by the speed of light, due to being restricted to a light-based medium, or would they be made of a substance that would not be bound by the laws that affect matter as we know it (probably the former, since our neural impulses are light-based)?

The main issue I could see with that scenario is identity theft becoming much worse (since, rather than just stealing your credit card number, someone could just steal your body instead, go on a crime spree, and re-upload without being caught), and eventually, the idea that people may stop procreating altogether (I personally can't identify with this, but with enough time and technological progression, people may simply get tired of the outside world in favor of this new digital matrix).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the posts everyone.

I myself have struggled deeply with and felt existential angst about the idea that making a perfect replica of my brain, or even all the atoms (including their arrangements and quantum states) composing my brain and body, is not the same as preserving the consciousness I currently experience. It's useless to who I am, even though that would be a perfect replica of me.

The way out of that dead-end is to not view a mind upload as a one-time affair, but a gradual transition, for example, via more and more artificial neurons. In this case, you would still experience the consciousness you experience now (and perhaps it would be expanded in more ways as those artificial neurons become networked to the internet), but your consciousness would be preserved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey Monkey King (nice name BTW),

I don't have privileges yet to post links, though I will very soon. As for now...

One good source specifically is:
Whole Brain Emulation Roadmap by the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford

One good source in general is:
Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil

(Though Kurzweil is very famous and has been a very big influence in my life, I don't want to be someone who promotes him exclusively since there are so many smart and talented other people out there.)

Otherwise, a lot of my development has been due to chatting with people and thinking during very long walks/runs in particular and just obsessively thinking about the topic in general. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,102 Posts
Mind uploads is a long way away. We still have a long way to go understanding the brain before we start interfacing with it to that extent.

Transhumanism... essentially cyborgs... is very near (if not already here) but will happen slowly over a long period of time. Not suprised if its a common thing in the next 20-50 years. It will start with the handicapped, disabled, and other people in need and slowly creep into everyday life.

I think people from that time will have a huge ethical battle in determining where the lines should be drawn: things as serious as immortality and as trivial as athletes. Maybe that conversation is already here:

Oscar Pistorius - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Like steriods, athletes might need cyborg enhancements in order to be competitive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think two important axes in which to view mind uploading are:

1. Abrupt vs. Gradual (which was considerd a bit already in an earlier post)

2. Emulation vs. Simulation

Simulation:
- More science
- Based on high-level, abstract, and compressible principles, that require fundamental understanding

Emulation
- More engineering
- Concerns itself with pure one-to-one copying, that doesn’t require a fundamental understanding
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,397 Posts
You know, it's interesting...has anyone else noticed that NT-ish types are by far the least likely to have moral problems with immortality and transhumanism, and are generally pretty excited by the idea...more so than the other temperaments?

Not that it's the least bit surprising...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Interesting observation, nevermore. :)

I would say that one main reason is that NTs tend to be more scientific and rational and less likely to be religious and believe in mysticism, and therefore follow scientific and rational principles to their ends. Here are some of my thoughts regarding that, and why I don't have any moral problems with mind uploading and am actually excited about the idea.

1. Substance: Strict materialist view of the brain

Previously, I stated that I subscribe to the strictly materialist (and perhaps implicitly reductionist) view of the mind. Essentially, our minds and consciousnesses arise from physical processes in the brain and there is not some extra supernatural substance or process that affects our consciousness.

The brain is composed of atoms, which are no more and no less different from any of those same atoms in the rest of the when they are not arranged in a way to create a brain. This is so because every atom in the universe is the same as any other. (Perhaps you can say that atoms may be different because of the excited states of their electrons or of their nuclei, but to this point I would then say that ultimately the protons, neutrons, and electrons of every atom are the same as any other atom.)

Now continuing to follow this line of reasoning, then if we can somehow duplicate that arrangement of atoms, then we can create the original and there's no difference if it ultimately hinges on the physical atomic consituents of that brain. This is not to say that "your" consciousness will be contained in that identically created brain, but that in principle a consciousness could be.

2. Pattern: More abstract, and information-based view of the brain

But let's consider consciousness from a more abstract and information-based point of view. The brain exists to process information. Let's consider an alternative, instead of focusing on the the constituent matter of a brain and or its arrangement, let us now focus on the information-processing capabilities of the brain.

Is this substrate dependent? Why would it be? In other words, as long as we reproduce the information-processing capabilities of our biological brains, why does it necessarily matter that that processing takes place on biological neurons? I take the view that that information-processing is substrate-INdependent. I don't see why it would be substrate-dependent if we could simulate these real-world neurons on some other substrate, either virtual (in a program) or physical (a huge system of mechanical pulleys that emulates the information processing capabilities of the brain).

3. We are still special

Reducing our brains to "just" the matter and the static arrangement that constitutes it and/or the information-processing and more dynamic processes that emulate it does not take away from its special-ness. A physical system like our brains does not arise very frequently in nature, and instead requires a very special context, specifically, earth's proximity to the sun to provide the right evolutionary conditions that ultimately lead up to the development of our brain. You don't see an arrangement of matter nor the information-processing capabilities found in the a brain just anywhere abundantly in the universe. Our brains are rare. We are special.

4. Existential angst... Relieved

The first time I encountered the idea that our universe may be part of a larger multiverse or even a computer simulation, I felt deep, painful, terrifying existential angst. My muscles tensed up. My heart beat faster. I was truly scared.

What if our universe is simply a program running in a higher-dimensional multiverse? Then I started to ponder how, even if that were the case, there needs to be some process in that higher-dimensional multiverse responsible for the happenings in this one. If we could emulate or simulate our thought processes taking place in our biological neurons in, say, silicon-based or graphene-based neurons, then that would imply (at least in my mind) that our physical universe then has some isomorphic connection to that higher-dimensional multiverse.

Who we are is substrate-independent. We are more pattern (information-processing), less substance (biological neurons in a human body).

Existential angst relieved...

5. Information is the key

So, I believe the unifying theme of all these points is information. What is it? What happens when it is processed? You need information to provide the arrangement of the atoms in our brains. Information is what is getting processed as our brains work. I think we need to better understand information's nature to better understand the brain and mind uploads, as well as provide a richer context in which to consider all transhumanist ideas.

...

I need to sleep now since I have work in the morning, I can't believe I wrote that much...
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top