Mind transfer dilemma

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Mind transfer dilemma

Postby Brightonian » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:29 am

Assume AI functionalism or what John Searle calls "strong AI" is correct, and human consciousness can in principle be instantiated in a digital computer. This might make it technically feasible to "upload" your mind onto a machine, a common SF trope. But then there would be two copies of "you", one in the original wetware platform and one on the computer. The dilemma is: would the "you" in the computer then be entitled to terminate the original physical body? And how could the "original" you be convinced that the transfer has succeeded, and "you" really will survive inside the computer? Would the computer-you have human rights, preventing biological-you from switching it off? I'm sure these issues must have been addressed in some SF story.
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Re: Mind transfer dilemma

Postby temp » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:24 pm

Richard Morgan plays with these ideas via his Takeshi Kovacs character in his novels: "Altered Carbon", "Broken Angels", and "Woken Furies" novels. I've read all 3 and enjoyed them. One of them in particular delves into these questions..I think it might have been the first one.
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Re: Mind transfer dilemma

Postby slaven41 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:57 pm

It's a good thing we will have a long time to ponder these issues. Really, I think the first facet of all this that needs to be sorted out is the nature of consciousness. Even if I can upload my brain into a machine that will then think like me, is it conscious or not? How could we possibly tell?

You assume that other people are conscious based on their similarity in form, origin, and behavior to yourself. But if you upload your brain into a machine, that similarity is greatly reduced. Is it really a sentient, conscious being, or just an extremely elaborate iPhone?

After that, we can start worrying about what happens if I backup my brain, commit a serious crime, die, and then load my precrime brain into a new body.

"It's only Neutron. We call him that because he's so positive." --from This Island Earth
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