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Mind Uploading and Continuity of Existence
#1
So, (hopefully), the thread title pretty much explains it.

For the longest time, I have viewed mind uploading as being the best method to immortality. However, (and I can't believe I haven't thought of this prior to a few months ago.............) wouldn't the situation be similar to that of Voldemort's horcruxes in Harry Potter?

The uploaded copies (similarly to the horcruxes) would be you; they would have all the same memories as you and their cognition would be exactly the same. But, the thing is, they wouldn't share your continuity of existence.

After the creation of the copy, the original you would persist, and your experience would continue, but it would not include the experience of the copy. And, after biological death, original you would not begin to experience what the copy is experiencing.

See................... the thing is, we are always changing. We are gaining new memories, and thinking new thoughts, and thinking in different ways. So what ties us into a person who persists through time? Continuity, or stream, of existence, I would argue. The continuation of us as consciousnesses that think and recognize our thinking.

In that way, the uploaded copy is not really "you", and "you" would not really achieve life after biological death.

Of course, I've considered actually transferring your consciousness, somehow. In the same manner that, instead of scanning something and copying it, you could pick it up and move it to a different location.

But I don't know how one could possibly turn a biological organ (the brain) into an electronic version without scanning and copying. I just..................... don't know, and, this is actually something important to me because immortality (or, at least, the closest to it that I can achieve; I'm still not too optimistic about surviving the heat death of the Universe), not just for me but for everyone I can bring myself to give a s*** about at any given time (although, still primarily myself) is one of my most important goals. After all, existence is one of the things, if not THE thing, that I value most of all.

And there's nobody else I know whom I can discuss this with without being laughed at, told in a condescending manner that they once wanted to be immortal and that I should learn to accept natural death so that I can finally be at peace, or simply being stared at blankly.

So, yeah. Thoughts on the concept of self and what it is (philosophy is happy today; he is not generally useful or relevant) mind uploading, and immortality methods, anyone?

P.S. For quite some time, my go to response to the question "how are you" when among friendly company has been "confusedly". The word "are" is a form of "to be", and "to be" is the same as "to exist". Thus, the question "how are you" means "in what manner do you generally exist". And, generally, I exist in a rather confused manner, mainly due to cogitations of the nature expressed in this post.
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#2
Perhaps you've already seen the waitbutwhy article: http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/12/what-makes-you-you.html

I now present to you the Ship of Theseus. Is there anything preventing us from replacing, say, a small part of our brain with electronics (such as a neural lace) and later, after that computer component was thoroughly a part of us, replacing another, and another, to maintain continuity?

On other topics, I know exactly how frustrating it is to talk about immortality to a fatalist. Some people just avoid thinking about death all together, some people decide that God will make them immortal (which is a big reason why it is so hard to talk intelligently to a theist; if Noah's ark didn't actually happen, then the claim to inerrancy is null and maybe that means heaven dosn't exist . . . ), and some people decide that death is a part of life, or even that death gives meaning to life, whatever that's supposed to mean.

It can be quite vexing, if you'd rather they didn't die.

Post Script: Your post script was quite awesome.
I came up with a very clever signature, as a matter of fact it's cleveritude was so clever that merely listening it would cause you to ascend to godhood. But then I forgot it, so instead you can listen to my gibbering inanities. I'm sorry.
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#3
No; actually, I had not read that article before I posted. Nor any related article, actually (CatGoddess is all smug mcsmuggerson about independently concocting the idea that continuity of existence defines a person. Bow down to her logical prowess).

However, I have now read the article, and I must thank you for directing it, as well as the Ship of Theseus, to me. I suppose that's what this forum is for: the sharing of encyclopedias and the furthering of human knowledge (which makes it sound pretty noble considering that my main usage of it is to play pathfinder over private messaging...........). I've now got a potentially feasible avenue toward immortality to investigate, and my horrible existential angst is alleviated.

Hmm........ Oh. Yes.

Quote:It can be quite vexing, if you'd rather they didn't die.

Understatement of the century. Sad

My best friend has, in their own words, simply "given up" on immortality and seeing the stars and exploring the ends of the Universe and making it past this frankly rather comparatively sucky prologue of human existence. And, the person whom I am currently elevating to friend status is a theist.

Really, I should feel sadder about people I care about planning on facing untimely utter annihilation, but all I've felt so far is vexation. Inferior Fe, perhaps, but, then again, I shouldn't blame all my issues on personality type. Ugh. And I should really try harder to convince them, considering what's at stake, but, like most humans, my brain just doesn't seem to be naturally wired to make good cost-benefit evaluations and act on them.

Quote:death gives meaning to life, whatever that's supposed to mean.

It means that, regardless of how wildly inaccurate people have frequently been when telling me that I'm experiencing sour grapes, Aesop really did have a point with that fable.


Hmm, yeah. I always struggle with ending posts, so..................
Thanks for presenting me with the Ship of Theseus idea, and for causing me to exist in a mildly less confused state.

(CatGoddess does the internet skedaddle.)
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#4
CatGoddess Wrote:(CatGoddess is all smug mcsmuggerson about independently concocting the idea that continuity of existence defines a person. Bow down to her logical prowess).

All right, all right. I'm bowing. I just thought that since you used some of the exact terminology I was making a fairly safe prediction. Tongue

However, before you get ALL smug mcsmuggerson on me here, you should bear in mind what you said on the 21st of June, 2016 (3:47 PM)
CatGoddess but a year younger and less smart Wrote:Thus, I think it is far more like that either:
1. We create new vessels to preserve our consciousnesses/ replace our cells with replicated nanobots, or
2. We upload ourselves.

To which I responded:
Yordle Sandwich except one year younger but still pretty smart but don't hold me to that if you pull up one of the things I thought or wrote Wrote:Also, even if you could make a replica of my mind, I'd still be dead. Me. Perhaps something very much like me could live forever, but I'd still be dead. My consciousness wouldn't transfer into your computer, you'd just make a new consciousness. I think I could come to be on pretty good terms with a replica of my mind. Certainly it would be interesting conversation, after enough time had passed that we'd've learned different information. But it would still outlive me.

So I feel pretty smug myself. :]
I came up with a very clever signature, as a matter of fact it's cleveritude was so clever that merely listening it would cause you to ascend to godhood. But then I forgot it, so instead you can listen to my gibbering inanities. I'm sorry.
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#5
Woah, double smug mcsmuggerson combo! Can we get an internet smug-five?

Hmm, wow. That seems like such a long time ago, though (despite the fact that it's not even a tenth of my current lifetime, much less a long time on any appreciable time scale). A lot has changed since then; I suppose I've gone on a journey of self discovery, of sorts? Not the usual high schooler self discovery that involves repeatedly dying one's hair different colors and wearing funny clothes and hanging out with different groups of people; even in middle school I understood that none of that made me *who I was*.

Rather, I've done a lot of philosophical pondering of the concept of self, and of what I want in life and why, and of the nature of existence, and it seems to have made its mark. While I didn't quite understand what past-Yordle Sandwich meant at the time and was somewhat confused about it, the idea behind it now seems abundantly clear to me.

I suppose it just goes to show that, while people change, they remain themselves due to the continuity of existence that ties each moment of them-ness together.

And, perhaps, that it is reasonable to think that, with the experiences and thoughts and new knowledge that come with age, I will grow less and less confused as I grow older. One can hope, at least.
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#6
(04-14-2017, 06:17 PM)CatGoddess Wrote: So, (hopefully), the thread title pretty much explains it.

For the longest time, I have viewed mind uploading as being the best method to immortality. However, (and I can't believe I haven't thought of this prior to a few months ago.............) wouldn't the situation be similar to that of Voldemort's horcruxes in Harry Potter?

The uploaded copies (similarly to the horcruxes) would be you; they would have all the same memories as you and their cognition would be exactly the same. But, the thing is, they wouldn't share your continuity of existence.

After the creation of the copy, the original you would persist, and your experience would continue, but it would not include the experience of the copy. And, after biological death, original you would not begin to experience what the copy is experiencing.

See................... the thing is, we are always changing. We are gaining new memories, and thinking new thoughts, and thinking in different ways. So what ties us into a person who persists through time? Continuity, or stream, of existence, I would argue. The continuation of us as consciousnesses that think and recognize our thinking.

In that way, the uploaded copy is not really "you", and "you" would not really achieve life after biological death.

Of course, I've considered actually transferring your consciousness, somehow. In the same manner that, instead of scanning something and copying it, you could pick it up and move it to a different location.

But I don't know how one could possibly turn a biological organ (the brain) into an electronic version without scanning and copying. I just..................... don't know, and, this is actually something important to me because immortality (or, at least, the closest to it that I can achieve; I'm still not too optimistic about surviving the heat death of the Universe), not just for me but for everyone I can bring myself to give a s*** about at any given time (although, still primarily myself) is one of my most important goals. After all, existence is one of the things, if not THE thing, that I value most of all.

This is actually the plot in a game which is pretty interesting. It's called Soma, and I'm sure that I'm going to do it a disservice in my description, but here goes:

(Potential Spoilers I guess...?)

It takes place in a futuristic world (possibly a different planet... it was a few years ago, so I don't remember) where the building/planet/whatever the location is, is no longer inhabitable. To overcome this everyone has uploaded their minds into a giant computer with the plan that the final people would send said computer to a new world while the inhabitants now living as data in the computer would have a paradise virtually, until they reach their new home.

There is, of course, some conflict in game regarding this procedure, as some of the people, once they have downloaded their brains, commit suicide so that their download won't be lacking any additional memories that could happen after the download.

You play as someone who is foreign to the concept, because your brain download was actually from modern times, before any of this happened.

It's very interesting, and a deep concept for a short game like that. It really gets you thinking about identity, and what is you vs. what was you, and potentially is still also you.
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#7
Hmm, interesting! I might consider playing it; gameplay-wise, is it any good? And, what genre would you describe it as being?
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#8
(04-18-2017, 01:56 PM)LadyGamer Wrote: There is, of course, some conflict in game regarding this procedure, as some of the people, once they have downloaded their brains, commit suicide so that their download won't be lacking any additional memories that could happen after the download.

Because.... ya know... committing suicide (or the intention to) is not a thing that would have ANY impact on your future self's mental health.....
;P
"Well if I were You-Know-Who, I'd want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it's just you alone you're not as much of a threat." -Luna Lovegood
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