X-Message-Number: 13014
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 01:31:20 +0200
From: Stasys Adiklis <>
Subject: Reply to Ettinger about uploading


This is my first post to cryonet (i've been hanging here for about a year
now). If I find some free time i'll itroduce myself later. Also, I would
like to apologize for my poor English.

> Anything that such a computer can do, a human mathematician can do also, in
> principle--or could, if he lived long enough and had a very, very large
> supply of pencils and paper, assuming he knew the laws of physics, and if he
> had enough detailed information as a starting point.

Lets assume that this mathematician simulates the brain and body,
but all the "surrounding world" information takes from the real world.
If this mathematician is fast enough - he works with his pencils and paper
in "real-time" - you'll be able to talk about life and family to that
"virtual" mind in that virtual brain. (Just a replacement of biological
brain to artificial one - "uploading" or should i say - the formation of
mind in an artificial brain). To put it short - i'm not interested in the
insides of brain - be it biological neurons, silicon, optics or any other
"mathematician". If the information being processed by that brain comes to
it from real-world - there is no reason to believe that the mind is fake.
Oh yes - there _is_ one "real" reason - religion :-)

Also, consider a perfect human-machine interface. "The cinema" but not in
our current primitive way, but wires attached to nervous system and sending
signals to it in a perfect way. The real human won't have a chance to
distinguish this simulated world from a real one. The "world" will be fake,
but his feelings - _real_.

> Further, he wouldn't have to work with the data pertaining to real people and
> their environment. He could make people up, using the possibilities in DNA
> and in the world. He could "play God," because--if the uploaders are
> right--the mere fact of his writing down these sets of numbers would
> CONSTITUTE the creation of these people and their world. (This is just
> slightly reminiscent of Hubbard's "Typewriter in the Sky.")
> Let that soak in. A computer, running a simulation, just generates sets of
> numbers. If they (or some subset of them) are the right numbers, then
> supposedly they not only represent the future history of people and their
> environment, but they CONSTITUTE living, feeling, thinking people in a world
> that is fully real to them.
> Do you believe that, if you write down the right successive sets of numbers
> on yellow foolscap, you will create living, feeling, thinking people?
> If this makes any impression on any uploaders, I would be grateful to be
> informed.

You just mixed those two cases in one. You now have artificial world with
artificial minds, and those minds don't even have a clue that their world
is "somewhat" fake...

Uploading is not about creating fake minds or fake world. It's just
about replacing one real biological brain to another real artificial
brain. If you won't destroy the original body/brain you'll have perfect
twins (psychologicaly). Of course, only at that very first initial moment
after copying.

It's just a replacement of MATTER, not INFORMATION (mind).
At the end of my post you'll see what i mean here.

> The computer would be generating sets of numbers corresponding to earlier
> and earlier quantum states of the subjects and their environment.
> Would the subjects then be "living" in reverse? What would that feel like?

I don't know. Any volunteers to find out? :-)

About parallel/sequential. On one hand - computers are parallel. You have
various parts working (CPU, graphics processor...) in parallel. Also, inside
CPU you have millions of transistors working in parallel. Blue Gene will have
processors (computers, to be precise, cause these processors have individual,
independent memories. cpu + memory = computer) working in parallel. On another
hand - brain is sequential :-) Read on:


Verdict is in: brain is serial image processor

By R. Colin Johnson
EE Times
(09/08/99, 10:48 a.m. EDT)

     IOWA  CITY,  Iowa  -  Since  the emergence of machine vision in the
1960s,  debate  has raged over whether a parallel or serial architecture
is  best.  Researchers  modeling  visual processes in the brain observed
parallelism  in  neural  structures,  but  didn't  know enough about how
visual  information  was  being  represented  to  resolve the issue. Now
University  of  Iowa researchers say they've solved this vision research
question: Does the brain operate in parallel or serially?
     "We  are  the  first  research  group to show definitively that the
human  brain  processes  images  serially-paying  attention  to only one
object  at  a  time  and  shifting  rapidly from object to object," said
University of Iowa professor Steven Luck. According to the new insights,
the   brain  does  perform  many  tasks  in  parallel,  such  as  muscle
coordination  for  walking in the park while simultaneously listening to
birds  chirping.  These  are  cognitive operations that involve separate
processing on different types of data.
     For  such  diverse tasks it is clear that the brain does operate in
parallel.  But  when it comes to tasks involving similar data items, the
brain  appears  to time-division multiplex, that is, focus its attention
on  one object at a time so quickly that the conscious mind is not aware
of  it.  "It's  counterintuitive  because it seems to our conscious mind
that  we are comparing objects simultaneously, but we now think that the
brain's  parallelism  is similar to a computer's-that is, a computer has
millions  upon millions of simultaneously acting transistors, but at the
functional  level  it  is operating serially-one instruction at a time,"
Luck  said.  The new theory says that the brain operates the same way at
the functional level; it processes information serially, even though the
underlying neural hardware is operating in parallel.
     Luck  was  able  to  determine  whether  the brain's processing was
parallel  or  serial  through  an  experiment he performed in 1994. This
experiment  identified  a  pattern  in  brain waves known as N2PC, which
stands  for the second negative peak (N2) of the posterior contralateral
(PC).  The  N2PC identifies the location of brain waves as emerging from
either   the  right  or  left  side  of  the  brain.  By  arranging  the
experimental  situation, Luck was able to use N2PC to identify whether a
person was processing visual signals one at a time or simultaneously.
     He  enlisted  the  help  of  graduate  student  Geoffrey Woodman to
perform  the  experiment  and study the collected data. The experimental
setup  presented  to  subjects  a  landscape-shaped display of different
colored  blocks,  most of which were black except for a red block on the
left  side  and a green block on the right. The subjects were instructed
to  find  the  block with a nick in it and told that it was probably red
but  could  be  green.  Those  instructions  allowed  subjects to either
process  all  blocks  in parallel, focus their attention on just the red
and  green  blocks simultaneously or search for the correct block in the
same order each trial-that is, red, then green, then black.
     "It  was  important  that  we  knew  the  order  in which they paid
attention  to the colored objects, because the N2PC works by correlating
the brain waves coming from each side of the brain over many statistical
trials,  so  we  had to always have them search in the same order," Luck
said.  By  observing  the  brain activity of the subjects performing the
search  and  recognizing  tasks  using N2PC, Luck and Woodman discovered
that  the  brain  turned  its  attention  from  one block to the next at
intervals  of  about  1/10th second. "There wasn't a single subject that
did the task in parallel," Luck said.

About information.

> Yet again: If I write down on paper a quantum mechanical description of a
> water molecule, have I created a water molecule? As far as I can see, all I
> have done is store information which could help me or someone else think
> about water molecules and describe their behavior. I have not--in any
> sense--changed the amount of water in the universe.

Put your ideas to the web and let hundreds of people to read them. Now
your ideas are multiplied and are "spinning" in hundreds of brains, but
the amount of matter has not changed in the universe. How this can be? :-)

Water is matter, information is not.

Information is patterns not matter. Just think about it being trasferred
from your keyboard to memory, to cpu, to modem, to network medium, to
satellite system, to... Matter basis is of course necessary for that
information to exist. But changing of a pattern IN PAIR with the interpreter
of that pattern does not destroy the logical link between them.

All the coolness of information (your brain is processing INFORMATION, it does
not have any mechanical function as your heart, bones or any other organ) is
that it is not bind to any matter in any sense. You can draw a pattern "2" on
any surface you like... you can transfer bits on any kind of network medium...
information survives. Whatever means of information storage and processing
the brain uses, be it electricity, chemistry, mechanical interaction, it can
be replaced by any kind of matter. It's information, NOT matter is important.

> If Corbin were very gradually changed into a frog,  would the end result
> still be Corbin? [skipped a bit]

I'm not familliar with those characters, but i'll answer.

If you (computer disk) were dissolved in acid, would the end result be you
(disk) or acid? ;-) Acid is the right answer.

> Continuity-even if truly achievable-is not the same as identity.

Think about INFORMATIONAL continuity, not material:

If info on disk would be copied to (you may fool-around with than info if
you wish - send it to satellite wirelessly or write down on paper and let
someone else to type it back to a file...) CD it would survive.

If mind on brain would be copied to another brain it would survive.

Any speculations about "standing waves", "self-circuits" and such should
be cut-out by Occam's razor without any sentiments. Daniel Crevier does
a good job on this in his #13009 post.

Hope this will change your mind, Ettinger. I hope your neural net is still
capable to change (it's not a time to grave yet ;-) Just kidding. A joke.

I hope to see Your answer. I hope to find out who is right.
I'm prepared to change my net. And you?

Again, exuse me mine poor English. Bye.

ICQ: 43912181

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