X-Message-Number: 11062
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: More on souls, self, and duplication -- for M. Schepps and others
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 09:22:01 +1100 (EST)

Hi again!

To STORE your memories and other brain traits somewhere else is NOT the
same as UPLOADING them. The distinction seems obvious, but some posters on
Cryonet apparently believe it is not important... or simply misunderstand.
It is important because no one has yet established that the ability to
do storage must imply automatically the ability to upload. At the simplest
level, the behavior of a brain must be duplicated in an upload, while only
its FEATURES would be needed for storage. Both the information and the
apparatus needed for uploading exceeds that needed for storage.

Second, even though we PRESENTLY know of no means by which we might read
off your brain without destroying it, it quite certainly does not follow 
that we will NEVER know any such means. As an example, suppose that all
that information is contained in the connections (synapses) between our
neurons. Though we cannot now map out a brain at that level of detail,
clever means may exist to do so in the future. (One such means might
consist of modified bacteria which multiply, enter each neuron, and map
out its connections, storing them in its DNA, then leave that neuron and
allow themselves to be collected. They could even decide their location,
say, using magnetic fields).

Third, the point that if we took such a stored form of you, and then used
it to make a duplicate while you were still healthy and living, we'd then
have a copy of you --- this point does not mean anything at all for the
notion that you are that information in your brain. Ignoring my definition
of "soul" for a moment, consider that you are a physical being. If we
had ANY means to duplicate that physical being completely, it would be 
hard to argue that the duplicate was not (in a sense) a duplicate of
you, at least until your experiences diverged (which would happen very
quickly after the duplication. Given the importance of such "duplication"
to both of you, your experiences are likely to diverge almost instantly!).

Finally, Bob Ettinger is quite correct that we lack an EXPERIMENTAL
verification of the idea that you are that structure of information (I 
will point out, however, that I specifically included noncomputational
features, such as your emotional responses. Moreover, the features of
carbon that Bob mentions do not pertain to STORAGE, only to the issue of 
whether or not a working version of you could be created in silicon or
some other form --- a point which I wonder about myself(*)). I should
still have made it clear that I was using a theory about our identity,
rather than a set of fully established ideas.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

(*) Neurons respond in a nonlinear way, and their "design' does not
clearly separate their possible computational features from their other
metabolic features, unlike semiconductors. At the most primitive level,
learning sometimes involves the growth of new connections, thus changing
the circuitry itself.

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