Sorry, not sure if this is in the right forum or not.
Imagine that in the near future technology advances to the point that teleportation and ‘backing up’ the human mind has become possible, ie: like backing up your computers hard drive.
The teleportation machine is similar to the one on Star Trek. Its based on the concept that your body is broken down into its constituent molecules converted into energy/information, and then sent to another device which reassembles you on that side.
As for backing up the mind this comes from the technique used in the Culture series by Iain M. Banks (I’m sure its used elsewhere).
A 100% perfect method of instantly recording and storing your mental state has been developed. Basically everything that makes you, you, personality, memories etc
The interesting part comes from the implications of this. Many people use it to take a snap-shot of their mind and then store it. If they are subsequently killed this backup is introduced into a new body and rebooted. They consider this to be effectively immortality, create the backup and then do whatever you want. Doesn’t matter if you get killed, you have the back up right?
So the question is, would you use these new technologies and why/why not?
For myself I wouldn’t use either because:
In using the transporter you are effectively killed every time. Your molecules have been converted into energy and you no longer exist as an organic life form. What appears on the other side is a perfect copy of you who believes he is you because he has all his memories up until the moment until he stepped onto the transporter. I would argue that you are destroyed and the copy only thinks he’s the exact same person as the original.
The Mindstate Backup
In a similar manner to the transporter the person resulting from the use of the backup only thinks he’s the same person as the original but isn’t. I think I can prove this by two examples.
In the first a snapshot of your mind is taken, called the Pattern, it is saved in an inactive state. This is Pattern A.
You however move on and continue living secure in the knowledge that you have the backup, from this point on your mindstate is Pattern B because it is evolving and changing from the original Pattern A. A few days later you walk into the path of a stray nuke and are vapourised instantly. Pattern B is now gone, it no longer exists.
So as laid out in your will the take Pattern A, implace it in a new brain and body and boot it up.
How could Pattern A possibly be the same person that was just killed? There is no continuity of conciousness between them.
On a sidenote this raises the issue of what happens when you fall asleep every night. Is it possible that you effectively ‘die’ when your conciousness shuts down and the person getting up in the morning with all your memories isn’t actually the same person who went to bed last night?
I’m intruiged as to what peoples answers would be because I had this debate elsewhere and the majority of people would use both technologies with no qualms whatsoever and treat the Backups as get out of jail free cards enabling them to take insane risks with no consequences.
So, what say you?