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Old 10-18-2017, 11:24 PM
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Ending death for most people in the United States is feasible. What's your excuse?


Here's an article from MIT technology review, showing in clear detail an extraordinary effort to copy a tiny piece of rat cortex.

Here's what I conclude from this :

a. The rat brain was completely preserved for this scan. The human brain is bigger, but not so much bigger than comparable methods could not be developed.
b. Once this effort is complete, scientists will have an exact map of a small piece of the rat's cortex. With a map and calculated neural strengths, it would be possible to resurrect the rat as a digital equivalent.
c. Nothing I see in this effort couldn't be eventually applied to humans. Scanning an entire human brain could be done the same way. Sure, it could not be done affordably now - but human genome sequencing wasn't affordable 15 years ago, either.

Extraordinary advances in scanning speeds and costs are entirely feasible.

How can this be used to end death? It's obvious. Develop a method that preserves human brains for terminal patients, before their deaths, where you would slice the brain samples and scan from randomly selected samples of the patient's brain.

If randomly selected samples are scannable - that the tissue is preserved well enough that a complete synaptic map can be created - it is possible to recover the person's personality and memory data.

You don't have to actually scan a whole brain, not without first making the technology to perform such scans faster and cheaper over 20+ years of R&D, just scan tiny pieces of a well preserved brain to show it's feasible to do it all.

Then start licensing hospitals to perform this procedure. Cover it as a medical procedure under medicare. Fund through medicare long term care facilities, which are basically underground vaults protected by armed guards, where the patients will be stored for the next 30-300 years. Since each vault could store hundreds of thousands of patients, but have costs no greater than maintaining and guarding a nuclear missile silo, it would be quite cheap. Cheaper than spending $100k+ on each patient for futile end of life care.

You'd save many billions of dollars not having to provide dementia or Alzheimer's care, which is not only futile, but in fact I would argue is actively evil.

If you have the ability to preserve a patient's brain with memories and personality mostly intact, but you instead give them a bed in a nursing home and keep them fueled and at body temperature, it is ethically equivalent to leaving a car engine running that you know is failing badly and is going to fail explosively without maintenance.

So, what's your excuse? There are thousands of members of this board, many of whom are senior citizens. All of you are bound for the grave in the next few decades. The Straight Dope says there is no evidence for an afterlife. Who the fuck cares about Trump or taxes or gun control, this is the issue that we should be discussing here.

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-18-2017 at 11:25 PM.
  #2  
Old 10-19-2017, 12:08 AM
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I think you've leapt far beyond where the science is.

First off, the article is describing something scientists are planning to do. So they haven't actually completed a brain scan.

Second, while this detailed mapping of the physical structure and activity of a brain will undoubtedly advance neuroscience, there's no guarantee that any understanding of how a brain works will unlock how a mind works. Certainly not to the level that you can study the brain and tell what that brain is thinking.

Third, deconstructing a brain is not the same as constructing a brain. The process that's described does not leave you with a working brain. It reduces the brain being studied to mush. And nobody is offering suggestions on how to build a new brain and insert the old brain's activity into it.
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:33 AM
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Why?
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:51 AM
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First, code an emulator that's capable of running "SamuelA.exe".
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:59 AM
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Preserving what's on the hard drive doesn't of itself keep a computer working.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:57 AM
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In addition to the issues raised so far there is of course the philosophical issue of whether duplicating a brain is the same as transferring it.

We might argue that we talk about "moving" programs all the time. But in reality, with regards to software, we interchangeably describe the same operation as "Move" or "Copy and delete original" because we don't actually care about the distinction.
With consciousness, which remember we don't have a model for yet (beyond basics like it being something which happens in brains), is a situation where the distinction matters.

Or, since I know from experience some Dopers will handwave all the above, let's just focus on what that means in terms of uptake: many people will refuse to undergo the procedure, as they would not be sure their consciousness would really be transferred.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:46 AM
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Another article on the subject.

tl;dr: Don't hold your breath waiting for that upload.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:55 AM
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I am not an expert on mammalian brain but I feel confident that any brain expert would dismiss any possibility of doing what OP envisions in the foreseeable future.

Synapses are not binary switches — though I think even recording a binary value for each synapse is much more than the MIT project is attempting. Synapses encode continuous variable(s) and are dependent on local variations. Some brain researchers think the microtubules in a neuron (not needed for mitosis) participate in learned responses. If so, the brain might be unusually hard to copy: Although there may be even less than one quadrillion synapses in human brain, each of the hundred billion neurons may have about a billion microtubules.
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
I am not an expert on mammalian brain but I feel confident that any brain expert would dismiss any possibility of doing what OP envisions in the foreseeable future.

Synapses are not binary switches — though I think even recording a binary value for each synapse is much more than the MIT project is attempting. Synapses encode continuous variable(s) and are dependent on local variations. Some brain researchers think the microtubules in a neuron (not needed for mitosis) participate in learned responses. If so, the brain might be unusually hard to copy: Although there may be even less than one quadrillion synapses in human brain, each of the hundred billion neurons may have about a billion microtubules.
....bolding mine.

septimus nailed it.
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:54 AM
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So, if a patient is terminal, what do you download his brain into? The body is eventually going to fail, even if the mind has been preserved. Your mind can be as sharp as it ever was, but it won't help if you're dying from heart disease or cancer. Are you going to clone a physical body to host the new brain? Are you going to create a cybernetic body? These questions should be answered if you're going to talk about duplicating a human brain.
  #11  
Old 10-19-2017, 07:19 AM
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A good article, and an update to it.
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:21 AM
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should we end death?

why would this be beneficial, except to the individual? we already have 7+billion, would ending death be a good thing necessarily?

its interesting that we humans rail against something so natural as death.
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:44 AM
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Even if the technology existed to perfectly replicate a human brain artificially, there's still the sticky philosophical issue of the "teleportation paradox." Is that thing actually *you*, or just a copy of you? If it were so easy to copy the structure and processes that make up a person, if you made multiple copies of yourself, would they all, or would any of them, be *you*? Obviously these are questions that cannot be answered until the physical technology actually exists to find out, but it's quite terrifying to explore.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:48 AM
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Ending death for most people in the United States is feasible. What's your excuse?


What's my excuse for what? For not planning my life around technology that doesn't exist today and may not for the foreseeable future?
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:22 AM
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Do we WANT to have old people hanging around forever?

There's a fair argument that a lot of our social progress comes about by having the hide-bound, set-in-their-beliefs people GO AWAY.

Not to mention that all these ancient people will be clogging up the world. Right now every square inch of the planet is owned by someone (or held jointly by coalitions of existing people.) Where will those born in the future live? Older people hold the majority of the jobs, including government. How will younger people ever advance if old slots never open up?

Nope. People should die to keep the cycle going. (And I say this as a Golden Ager myself.)
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:22 AM
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1. Even if everyone in the world clapped their hands at the same time and shouted "I want to live forever!!", the science needed to make such a thing happen isn't going to pop into existence.
2. Even if it became possible in the far, far future to accomplish this, the expense will prohibit anyone except millionaires from benefiting from it.
3. Even if the first two problems are overcome, where are you going to put all these extra people that aren't getting out of the way of future generations, and what are you going to feed them?
4. The already mentioned "teleportation paradox" problem.

Last edited by Czarcasm; 10-19-2017 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:49 AM
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Sounds like someone has been watching too much Dark Mirror on Netflix.



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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Even if the technology existed to perfectly replicate a human brain artificially, there's still the sticky philosophical issue of the "teleportation paradox." Is that thing actually *you*, or just a copy of you? If it were so easy to copy the structure and processes that make up a person, if you made multiple copies of yourself, would they all, or would any of them, be *you*? Obviously these are questions that cannot be answered until the physical technology actually exists to find out, but it's quite terrifying to explore.
People can't agree on the legitimacy of copies of media downloads, let alone entire people.


IMHO they would all be "you". The stickier question is, if they are all indistinguishable from the original "you, which one has the legal right to all your stuff? Or, if you create a copy, does the copy have the same rights as you do as a person? Speaking of Dark Mirror, there was an episode where Jon Hamm sold a service where they duplicated people's brains for them in order to run their smart homes. The copy often had to be incentivized into doing it's job so they would stick it in a virtual white isolation box for weeks or months. Sometimes their mind snapped and became useless for anything besides cannon fodder for war games.

What if instead of creating copies of myself to run my thermostat and make my toast, I make a bunch of copies to run my corporation? Or I just hire one really talented engineer and clone his/her brain a bunch of times?

Once you can start copying minds, presumably you can edit the contents as well. Are you still "you" if you edit out a bunch of shit from your childhood?

Or, ultimately, does any of that stuff matter?
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:07 AM
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What if instead of creating copies of myself to run my thermostat and make my toast, I make a bunch of copies to run my corporation? Or I just hire one really talented engineer and clone his/her brain a bunch of times?
I remember a documentary about this.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:37 AM
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I don't understand why people think that some kind of copying of their brain and it's memories and processes keeps you from dying. You will die. Even if it can be done someone or something else will wake up with your whatever was in your brain but it won't be you. Maybe the brain-cloned rat won't realize the difference but your brain-clone will know that it's not you, and you won't because you're dead, and I can't understand how if you know you are dying that it will make you feel any better about it because you know that some copy of you continues to exist.
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:33 PM
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IMHO they would all be "you". The stickier question is, if they are all indistinguishable from the original "you, which one has the legal right to all your stuff [...]
No, the stickier question is your IMHO part: personal identity and the transporter problem is one of the most frequently discussed and contentious philosophical problems, and since we have no central model of consciousness, science is largely neutral on at this time.
As with many issues of consciousness, it's a whole different class of problem from the kind we're used to solving (that can be entirely described with objective third-person descriptions).

Meanwhile, we can work out the legal issues in a taxi on the way to the duplication clinic... Or maybe that would be unwise, but it's certainly a more familiar class of problem to us.
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:47 PM
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Is the value of the Mona Lisa lessened if an exact duplicate is created?
If not, then what is the value of the duplicate?
If so, then by how much?
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:48 PM
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Summing up the arguments above :

a. Maybe the brain is doing something so complex, so magically difficult to reproduce, that it can't ever be emulated.

Maybe, but that's not where the current evidence is pointing. The essential reason why is that even if neurons were doing the most delicate, esoteric quantum operations, evidence says that their primary mechanism of communicating the results of those operations to other synapses are all or nothing pulses separated by fuzzy amounts of time. Evidence from actual data shows that neurons aren't particular reliable - which essentially disproves any such theories, because even if it were true that some neurons were using quantum physics to make decisions, if each neuron only gets one weighted vote, and routinely these 'votes' get destroyed by noise, other neurons that have failed and emitted a spurious signal, or other glitches, it drowns out these possible effects mattering to the outcome. Basically, Septimus, you didn't "nail" anything. The overwhelming consensus of evidence says you're totally wrong.

b. Ok, so maybe it's possible, but it wouldn't really be "you". You would be dead.

Yes. But less dead than the alternative.

c. Old people are useless.

Yes. But this is because their brains are failing. Old people with new, digital brains, after a recovery period where they learn to use their new brains, would most likely be smarter than any human being alive today.

d. Since the science isn't 100% certain that this would work, I'd rather take the certainty of being a corpse in the ground.

Ok. Stupid move, though.

e. I'm going to personally attack you, the poster, instead of contributing to the discussion.

Have fun, but it doesn't make you correct.

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-19-2017 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Here's an article from MIT technology review, showing in clear detail an extraordinary effort to copy a tiny piece of rat cortex.

Here's what I conclude from this :

a. The rat brain was completely preserved for this scan. The human brain is bigger, but not so much bigger than comparable methods could not be developed.
b. Once this effort is complete, scientists will have an exact map of a small piece of the rat's cortex. With a map and calculated neural strengths, it would be possible to resurrect the rat as a digital equivalent.
c. Nothing I see in this effort couldn't be eventually applied to humans. Scanning an entire human brain could be done the same way. Sure, it could not be done affordably now - but human genome sequencing wasn't affordable 15 years ago, either.
One minor problem - they can reproduce what they see, but if there are features of the brain, or interactions, that the scan does not catch they will not get a true copy. Even if they reproduce that small section, they can only test the copy against what they think is there in the original.

Quote:
How can this be used to end death? It's obvious. Develop a method that preserves human brains for terminal patients, before their deaths, where you would slice the brain samples and scan from randomly selected samples of the patient's brain.

If randomly selected samples are scannable - that the tissue is preserved well enough that a complete synaptic map can be created - it is possible to recover the person's personality and memory data.

You don't have to actually scan a whole brain, not without first making the technology to perform such scans faster and cheaper over 20+ years of R&D, just scan tiny pieces of a well preserved brain to show it's feasible to do it all.
Same problem with the rat's brain. You have to scan everything to be sure you have a good result. And while you say "just before death" slicing to scan kills you real fast. You'd hope that the last section you scan will be in good shape as the first - but that isn't likely. Plus, many at the point of death suffer from degradation of the brain, so you might get something showing the effects of oxygen deprivation, for instance.

I'm not saying this isn't possible with some sort of noninvasive scan, but it ain't going to be in my lifetime or yours or probably in that of my 18 month old grandson. It is a bit early to license.
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Summing up the arguments above :

a. Maybe the brain is doing something so complex, so magically difficult to reproduce, that it can't ever be emulated.

Maybe, but that's not where the current evidence is pointing. The essential reason why is that even if neurons were doing the most delicate, esoteric quantum operations, evidence says that their primary mechanism of communicating the results of those operations to other synapses are all or nothing pulses separated by fuzzy amounts of time. Evidence from actual data shows that neurons aren't particular reliable - which essentially disproves any such theories, because even if it were true that some neurons were using quantum physics to make decisions, if each neuron only gets one weighted vote, and routinely these 'votes' get destroyed by noise, other neurons that have failed and emitted a spurious signal, or other glitches, it drowns out these possible effects mattering to the outcome. Basically, Septimus, you didn't "nail" anything. The overwhelming consensus of evidence says you're totally wrong.

b. Ok, so maybe it's possible, but it wouldn't really be "you". You would be dead.

Yes. But less dead than the alternative.

c. Old people are useless.

Yes. But this is because their brains are failing. Old people with new, digital brains, after a recovery period where they learn to use their new brains, would most likely be smarter than any human being alive today.

d. Since the science isn't 100% certain that this would work, I'd rather take the certainty of being a corpse in the ground.

Ok. Stupid move, though.

e. I'm going to personally attack you, the poster, instead of contributing to the discussion.

Have fun, but it doesn't make you correct.
Summing up your response:
You might do better quoting directly-it would give you a better chance to respond to what was actually said, instead of the strawmen you have ready responses for.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:00 PM
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BTW, when I talk about things the scan misses I'm not talking about a soul or any such nonsense. One of the things you can do in chip debug is physical failure analysis, which involves slicing through silicon to see if you can spot the source of the defect. This is trivial in relation to the brain, but still really hard, and certainly does not detect anything like neuron connections. It works best finding shorts between signal lines from blobs of material or missing vias (vertical connections between one layer of signal routing and another.) And reproducing a chip this way is nigh unto impossible.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:14 PM
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BTW, if you can make one copy of yourself you can make several. Are all of them you? They then go on to lead different lives, different experiences and memories. If one of them is copied again later is that still you as well?

And if you are still alive which of you is you? I contend as in a story I read that the duplicates are unique individuals, who at the time of duplication are under the law considered newborn babies. If this were indeed achievable I can't imagine what kind of legal status could be awarded to a newly created human no matter what memories or identity it feels it may have.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:19 PM
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BTW, if you can make one copy of yourself you can make several. Are all of them you? They then go on to lead different lives, different experiences and memories. If one of them is copied again later is that still you as well?

And if you are still alive which of you is you? I contend as in a story I read that the duplicates are unique individuals, who at the time of duplication are under the law considered newborn babies. If this were indeed achievable I can't imagine what kind of legal status could be awarded to a newly created human no matter what memories or identity it feels it may have.
A pointless sci-fi distinction. If you actually had the technology to do this, you would resync copies with data transfers, such that post-transfer, all copies share the same mind state. At which point, removal of surplus copies causes no loss.

If you could do such a 'live upload', it would be philosophically preferable, because the digital "you" and the remaining dying meat "you" would share common information. However, the physical technology to do this is at the extreme edge of what is even maybe physical possible. (copying a living brain is basically magic and I concede this). Copying a preserved brain that was alive until seconds before being paused through chemicals or freezing is achievable, though it would take an extraordinary effort to perform such a copy using technology that could be purchased or developed in the near future.

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-19-2017 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:24 PM
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A pointless sci-fi distinction. If you actually had the technology to do this, you would resync copies with data transfers, such that post-transfer, all copies share the same mind state. At which point, removal of surplus copies causes no loss.

If you could do such a 'live upload', it would be philosophically preferable, because the digital "you" and the remaining dying meat "you" would share common information. However, the physical technology to do this is at the extreme edge of what is even maybe physical possible. (copying a living brain is basically magic and I concede this). Copying a preserved brain that was alive until seconds before being paused through chemicals or freezing is achievable, though it would take an extraordinary effort to perform such a copy using technology that could be purchased or developed in the near future.
Sorry, but I can't figure out if you think a copy is the same person, or a person at all, so I can't agree or disagree with what you are saying. But as I stated above, I don't believe under any circumstances that a copy is you. It's a copy of you, and I don't want any copies of me made, and I'm pretty sure no one else does either.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:31 PM
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So, what's your excuse? There are thousands of members of this board, many of whom are senior citizens. All of you are bound for the grave in the next few decades. The Straight Dope says there is no evidence for an afterlife. Who the fuck cares about Trump or taxes or gun control, this is the issue that we should be discussing here.
What's my excuse for what? I have no objection to researchers working on some form of virtual "ending death" if they want to. Good for them, sez I.

But you don't get to dictate to other people what subjects they must be interested in or must ignore in favor of subjects that you've decided are more interesting.

I think longevity extension research sounds kind of interesting, but I'm not so childishly terrified of the fact of my own mortality that I think it's the only thing worth thinking or talking about. I don't need any "excuse" for maintaining that opinion.

Quote:
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If you actually had the technology to do this, you would resync copies with data transfers, such that post-transfer, all copies share the same mind state. At which point, removal of surplus copies causes no loss.
Who's "you" in this instance? If multiple copies of "you" at some point acquire separate individual post-copy experiences, then ISTM that the original "you" has no right to "resync" the other individuals who originally started out as copies of "you".
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:34 PM
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Sorry, but I can't figure out if you think a copy is the same person, or a person at all, so I can't agree or disagree with what you are saying. But as I stated above, I don't believe under any circumstances that a copy is you. It's a copy of you, and I don't want any copies of me made, and I'm pretty sure no one else does either.
Ok. Imagine I make a copy of you tommorrow. You don't know the copy exists, and anything that happens to the copy might as well be happening to the stranger.

I do the resyncs using a network interface when you go to sleep that night. You wake up in the morning, and you are momentarily confused, as you remember being both Tripolar1 and Tripolar2 and you have to check your surroundings to see which one you are. I've done it such a clean way though and inserted additional subsystems into your neural network to handle this, that you can remember context and remember what is on the agenda for Tripolar1 and Tripolar 2.

Now, the next day, I do the sync again, but now you wake up in the morning, you remember Tripolar 2's experiences abruptly ending in pain, as someone murdered Tripolar 2. But you are still "him". You still remember all his doubts and fears and joy and everything else. The day after that, I've built Tripolar 2 a new body (pretty easy if everyone is built from metal and plastic....) and copied off his branch again. You remember being Tripolar 2, recovering from 'death', and the emotions involved after that night's resync.

Living as such a 'collective' mind, small losses would soon stop bothering you.

You may refuse to accept this example, but the physical fact is, your consciousness already is such a collective system, made of billions of separate components that are sometimes lost and sometimes replaced, so you can't really validly complain about more of the same.

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-19-2017 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:54 PM
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Ok. Imagine I make a copy of you tommorrow. You don't know the copy exists, and anything that happens to the copy might as well be happening to the stranger.

I do the resyncs using a network interface when you go to sleep that night. You wake up in the morning, and you are momentarily confused, as you remember being both Tripolar1 and Tripolar2 and you have to check your surroundings to see which one you are. I've done it such a clean way though and inserted additional subsystems into your neural network to handle this, that you can remember context and remember what is on the agenda for Tripolar1 and Tripolar 2.

Now, the next day, I do the sync again, but now you wake up in the morning, you remember Tripolar 2's experiences abruptly ending in pain, as someone murdered Tripolar 2. But you are still "him". You still remember all his doubts and fears and joy and everything else. The day after that, I've built Tripolar 2 a new body (pretty easy if everyone is built from metal and plastic....) and copied off his branch again. You remember being Tripolar 2, recovering from 'death', and the emotions involved after that night's resync.

Living as such a 'collective' mind, small losses would soon stop bothering you.

You may refuse to accept this example, but the physical fact is, your consciousness already is such a collective system, made of billions of separate components that are sometimes lost and sometimes replaced, so you can't really validly complain about more of the same.
My consciousness (and I don't consider consciousness to be the big deal many make of it) is formed from a tightly coupled system. You are talking about a loosely coupled system, that is nothing like me. I don't remember recovering from death, I only have access to the memories of some copy of me. Whatever I know, remember, or have access to, I also know that once TriPolar1 died, he is no more and I am not him. I don't know what I am, but I would know I'm not the original, or I would know that I am totally insane instead of only partially as I normally am.

If you are imagining some kind of enhancement of my brain that allows me to have additional independent nodes that I am synced with, I am only still me up to the point where those other nodes can operate independently. Anything they do by themselves is not something I did no matter the syncing process. As it is, I can read and hear about the experiences of others, imagine them in my mind, but they aren't part of my experience, and not part of me. You are just arguing the degree of information I can get from other sources and how real it seems to me, but any independent actor is not me.
  #32  
Old 10-19-2017, 02:55 PM
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Ok. Imagine I make a copy of you tommorrow. You don't know the copy exists, and anything that happens to the copy might as well be happening to the stranger.

I do the resyncs using a network interface when you go to sleep that night. You wake up in the morning, and you are momentarily confused, as you remember being both Tripolar1 and Tripolar2 and you have to check your surroundings to see which one you are. I've done it such a clean way though and inserted additional subsystems into your neural network to handle this, that you can remember context and remember what is on the agenda for Tripolar1 and Tripolar 2.

Now, the next day, I do the sync again, but now you wake up in the morning, you remember Tripolar 2's experiences abruptly ending in pain, as someone murdered Tripolar 2. But you are still "him". You still remember all his doubts and fears and joy and everything else. The day after that, I've built Tripolar 2 a new body (pretty easy if everyone is built from metal and plastic....) and copied off his branch again. You remember being Tripolar 2, recovering from 'death', and the emotions involved after that night's resync.

Living as such a 'collective' mind, small losses would soon stop bothering you.

You may refuse to accept this example, but the physical fact is, your consciousness already is such a collective system, made of billions of separate components that are sometimes lost and sometimes replaced, so you can't really validly complain about more of the same.
You are assuming many things as a given. We have absolutely no idea what it would subjectively “feel” like living as a consciousness through digital means; whatever those means would actually end up being, assuming it’s even possible.

What if you can’t quite simulate the delicate balance of hormones and neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, et al. and you’re in a miserable state of despair or maddingly swinging bi-polar states. Maybe without the stimulus of a real, physical self, you find you’re in a numb, abject hell. Maybe there’s a Jaunt-effect of lagging or over-clocked CPU cycles that make 1 second of real time feel like 1,000 Years. Maybe there’s a billion other issues we can’t fathom, because this technology isn’t even close to being a reality yet. But I’d bet that if the time comes when we’ll produce hard AI or are able to copy a human mind, there’ll be issues like these that may not be solvable, let alone non-trivial. Jumping to the conclusions you’re putting forth here is meaningless until we do know exactly what it’s like to be a digital mind.

Last edited by cmyk; 10-19-2017 at 02:57 PM.
  #33  
Old 10-19-2017, 03:05 PM
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I should say my above post is more in response to all SamuelA's posts, and not only the one I quoted.

However, he seems to conclude digitally copying a mind is a foregone conclusion, when we have no idea if it is or isn't. And if it is, just by being a different medium other than the meaty, human brain, may fundamentally alter the state of consciousness as we know it. And there may be no getting around that.
  #34  
Old 10-19-2017, 03:24 PM
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I should say my above post is more in response to all SamuelA's posts, and not only the one I quoted.

However, he seems to conclude digitally copying a mind is a foregone conclusion, when we have no idea if it is or isn't. And if it is, just by being a different medium other than the meaty, human brain, may fundamentally alter the state of consciousness as we know it. And there may be no getting around that.
The evidence is overwhelming in support of the idea that :

a. The tiniest details of neurons are irrelevant, due to all the signaling noise
b. If you preserve a brain in such a way that the physical structure, except for the tiniest details, is still present, you can obtain all of the information the brain uses to make decisions, encoded in the matter itself.
c. If a&b are true, you can copy a mind. It's a tautology, in fact.

So yeah. Since I assume a & b, c must be true. I think your mental error is assuming that if we can't do this copying in the immediate, near future, it's not worth considering. You're doing a form of mental discounting.

But, preserved brains, assuming it's done using something really stable like plastination or LN2, would be still intact, still containing the information in them, centuries from now. In order to disprove my tautology, you must produce evidence that the physical matter of the brain encodes details so fine you cannot recover them with the likely technology to be found over the next 300 or so years.

Hence it's a foregone conclusion. It's not a guarantee, but it's pretty damn likely.

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  #35  
Old 10-19-2017, 05:50 PM
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Part of what I’m saying is that it might be a huge moral and ethical quandary to even go so far as to “switch on” the first copied mind. Say if something like abject, unrelenting despair, or if the “Jaunt-effect” is even a remote possibility, but a possibility none the less, I wouldn’t feel right in ever letting such research move forward. To submit somebody to something so horrifying is something I couldn’t get behind.

It wouldn’t matter if the original mind gave consent either since you’d be subjecting it to a copied mind, and a copy is an entirely different entity than the original. Also, if that copied entity cried to be terminated, to be put out of its misery, now you’re into waters of euthanasia. And if they even have full human rights.

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  #36  
Old 10-19-2017, 06:21 PM
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Ok. Imagine I make a copy of you tommorrow. You don't know the copy exists, and anything that happens to the copy might as well be happening to the stranger.

I do the resyncs using a network interface when you go to sleep that night. You wake up in the morning, and you are momentarily confused, as you remember being both Tripolar1 and Tripolar2 and you have to check your surroundings to see which one you are. I've done it such a clean way though and inserted additional subsystems into your neural network to handle this, that you can remember context and remember what is on the agenda for Tripolar1 and Tripolar 2.
So, not only have you assumed copying without destruction, you've assumed copying cheap enough to be on every bedside table. You might be getting a little far ahead of the research here.
We'd also have to learn how our sense of time works, because memories of two different by simultaneous events might cause all sorts of problems.
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:26 PM
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There is another slight problem. The sensing of all neurons has to be done at the same time, or the brain would have to be frozen - which would cause many parts of the body to fail, and so is not practical.

To give a more plausible example, say you want to capture and reproduce the state of a microprocessor, and have some magical way of scanning all memories and state elements remotely without changing their states. If the processor is running, the last memory element you scan may be far advanced in time from the first - and the state you get when you build your copy processor is not consistent, and the whole thing would crash. Now in microprocessors you can stop or extend the clock, and might get away with it, but I don't think our brains have any clock control circuitry built in.

When people write science fiction they skip over stuff like this for the sake of the story. You can't do that in real life.
  #38  
Old 10-19-2017, 06:36 PM
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There is another slight problem. The sensing of all neurons has to be done at the same time, or the brain would have to be frozen - which would cause many parts of the body to fail, and so is not practical.

To give a more plausible example, say you want to capture and reproduce the state of a microprocessor, and have some magical way of scanning all memories and state elements remotely without changing their states. If the processor is running, the last memory element you scan may be far advanced in time from the first - and the state you get when you build your copy processor is not consistent, and the whole thing would crash. Now in microprocessors you can stop or extend the clock, and might get away with it, but I don't think our brains have any clock control circuitry built in.

When people write science fiction they skip over stuff like this for the sake of the story. You can't do that in real life.
Right, which hits upon what I’m saying. In order for research into such things to advance, you’d most likely have to alter, fundamentally, the way the brain works to run on a digital medium. Which inherently introduces fundamental changes to the brain/mind system itself. How can we be sure we’re not waking up some sentient, human entity into some otherwise unknown hell-scape of subjective consciousness?

And if we have, then what do we do?
  #39  
Old 10-19-2017, 06:54 PM
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Ok. Imagine I make a copy of you tommorrow. You don't know the copy exists, and anything that happens to the copy might as well be happening to the stranger.

I do the resyncs using a network interface when you go to sleep that night. You wake up in the morning, and you are momentarily confused, as you remember being both Tripolar1 and Tripolar2 and you have to check your surroundings to see which one you are. I've done it such a clean way though and inserted additional subsystems into your neural network to handle this, that you can remember context and remember what is on the agenda for Tripolar1 and Tripolar 2.

Now, the next day, I do the sync again, but now you wake up in the morning, you remember Tripolar 2's experiences abruptly ending in pain, as someone murdered Tripolar 2. But you are still "him". You still remember all his doubts and fears and joy and everything else. The day after that, I've built Tripolar 2 a new body (pretty easy if everyone is built from metal and plastic....) and copied off his branch again. You remember being Tripolar 2, recovering from 'death', and the emotions involved after that night's resync.

Living as such a 'collective' mind, small losses would soon stop bothering you.

You may refuse to accept this example, but the physical fact is, your consciousness already is such a collective system, made of billions of separate components that are sometimes lost and sometimes replaced, so you can't really validly complain about more of the same.
I should first point out that I am in the camp that thinks 'uploads' are possible. To be entirely honest, the technology to achieve them is likely to be hundreds of years in the future, not just around the corner. No-one alive today will see them happen.

But I can't quite grasp why you think that these uploaded entities would want, or need, to 'resync' with each other regularly. If you have created a copy of your mindstate, you should recognise that this copy is a new, unique individual, and not force it to accept experiences from yourself, or from other copies. If your copies are regularly swapping memories and opinions with each other, they are going to have two or more separate histories to deal with, and remember two or more series of events occurring simultaneously in the past. That way lies confusion, if not madness.
  #40  
Old 10-19-2017, 07:30 PM
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But I can't quite grasp why you think that these uploaded entities would want, or need, to 'resync' with each other regularly.
Because it stops death. That's the reason. Sharing memories as a collective with your close peers means that hardware loss, which cannot be prevented, even with hyper-advanced technology, causes no loss of existence. (since hyper-advanced technology means way better weapons, and riskier activities)
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:58 PM
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I do agree that a hi-tech future could be a risky environment, if you consider the amount of energy and fabricating power that any individual might have access to. And a working spaceship could make a devastating kinetic weapon. Terrorists and spree killers would love it.

Are you suggesting then that humans living in a hi-tech future should become group minds, sharing experiences so that they can't ever lose their memories in death? This sounds like you are suggesting that humans should stop being human.

Perhaps this might not be the best route to go down. An intriguing idea, none-the-less.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:34 PM
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Because it stops death. That's the reason. Sharing memories as a collective with your close peers means that hardware loss, which cannot be prevented, even with hyper-advanced technology, causes no loss of existence. (since hyper-advanced technology means way better weapons, and riskier activities)
It does not stop death. If you take a picture of a person just before they die you haven't stopped their death.
  #43  
Old 10-19-2017, 08:37 PM
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@SamuelA : You're still assuming that copying a brain is the same as transferring my consciousness; that we're "stopping death".
For the purpose of this thread it suffices to say that actually that's a very contentious idea, and when it comes to the transporter problem, very compelling arguments can be given that the copy has no association with you (and very compelling arguments for the opposite view).

I think it's OK to say "I think the copy really is the transfer of your consciousness" as long as you're conceding that it's your opinion and not a settled fact. Otherwise we're going to end up revisiting very familiar territory here.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:52 PM
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As I said earlier, I am in the camp that thinks uploads are possible - but I do agree that the original could (and probably will) die at some point, so something is lost in the process. If and when this technology becomes available (probably hundreds of years from now) society may split into two philosophical camps- the ones who think that uploading allows the survival of consciousness, and those who don't.

Note that (even if the ones who think that consciousness does not survive are right) the ones who copy themselves may soon outnumber the ones who don't. It's a process of un-natural selection.
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:57 PM
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@SamuelA : You're still assuming that copying a brain is the same as transferring my consciousness; that we're "stopping death".
For the purpose of this thread it suffices to say that actually that's a very contentious idea, and when it comes to the transporter problem, very compelling arguments can be given that the copy has no association with you (and very compelling arguments for the opposite view).

I think it's OK to say "I think the copy really is the transfer of your consciousness" as long as you're conceding that it's your opinion and not a settled fact. Otherwise we're going to end up revisiting very familiar territory here.
I'm saying that the argument is irrelevant because the same technology that would allow you to make copies would let you establish network links, such that you share thoughts and memories with any such copies. Since they are you and you are them (after some brief period of resync delay), if one of you dies, the total "you" has only lost a few hours or days or whatever of memories from one of your nodes. You might experience some annoyance at this but it would be a minor loss.

Hundreds of sci-fi stories have been written about this idea, but they are just that - stories of evil doubles, etc. It wouldn't really be an issue.

I guess what I'm saying is that I do not concede that it's a copy at all if you have a realtime sharing of experience and personality updates and knowledge and all the rest with your "copy".

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-19-2017 at 09:59 PM.
  #46  
Old 10-19-2017, 10:01 PM
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I do agree that a hi-tech future could be a risky environment, if you consider the amount of energy and fabricating power that any individual might have access to. And a working spaceship could make a devastating kinetic weapon. Terrorists and spree killers would love it.

Are you suggesting then that humans living in a hi-tech future should become group minds, sharing experiences so that they can't ever lose their memories in death? This sounds like you are suggesting that humans should stop being human.

Perhaps this might not be the best route to go down. An intriguing idea, none-the-less.
It's an obvious additional step. Yeah, it's a loss of being human, but as you can imagine, the beings doing this would almost immediately have such an overwhelming advantage over the people who don't that they would soon become the vast majority of all sentient beings alive. There might be a natural size where more group members means less flexible and less creative "groupthink", but less group members means less collective knowledge and self-sufficiency.

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-19-2017 at 10:06 PM.
  #47  
Old 10-19-2017, 10:57 PM
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Yeah, it's a loss of being human, but as you can imagine, the beings doing this would almost immediately have such an overwhelming advantage over the people who don't that they would soon become the vast majority of all sentient beings alive.
Nothing wrong with engaging in this sort of imaginative exercise, but the more you talk about it, the more obviously absurd it becomes to claim, as your OP does, that this issue is somehow more relevant and important to present-day existence than, e.g., "Trump or taxes or gun control". It seems overwhelmingly likely that the life of even the youngest grandchild of anybody on these boards at present is going to be far more seriously impacted by the issues of "Trump or taxes or gun control" than by cybernetic "consciousness copying".
  #48  
Old 10-20-2017, 12:05 AM
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I'm saying that the argument is irrelevant because the same technology that would allow you to make copies would let you establish network links, such that you share thoughts and memories with any such copies. Since they are you and you are them (after some brief period of resync delay), if one of you dies, the total "you" has only lost a few hours or days or whatever of memories from one of your nodes. You might experience some annoyance at this but it would be a minor loss.
If you want to stop death, forget about the second you, just store your mind state every night and get yourself loaded into a new body when you die. There are a lot more sf stories using this than multiple entities.
  #49  
Old 10-20-2017, 12:47 AM
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I'm saying that the argument is irrelevant because the same technology that would allow you to make copies would let you establish network links, such that you share thoughts and memories with any such copies. Since they are you and you are them (after some brief period of resync delay), if one of you dies, the total "you" has only lost a few hours or days or whatever of memories from one of your nodes. You might experience some annoyance at this but it would be a minor loss.

Hundreds of sci-fi stories have been written about this idea, but they are just that - stories of evil doubles, etc. It wouldn't really be an issue.
I think this makes the situation more complex, but don't agree it necessarily makes it irrelevant or not an issue. I still think the best approach here is to just say it's part of the premise of the thread that it's a successful transfer of your consciousness. Your main point was not about debating that.
  #50  
Old 10-20-2017, 01:42 AM
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if the “Jaunt-effect” is even a remote possibility, but a possibility none the less, I wouldn’t feel right in ever letting such research move forward.
I wasn't familiar with the term. Looked it up on Wikipedia then found the short story online and just now read it.
Thanks for the nightmares..
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