X-Message-Number: 13693
Date: Tue, 9 May 2000 09:44:55 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #13690 - #13691

About computer uploading and copies of ourselves (computers or not):

The fundamental problem every discussion of this possibility (that I've
seen) seems to ignore is that we first must understand how our brain
works in order to copy it... and we haven't attained that understanding,
yet. Nor is doing so a simple problem. I would accept the notion that
our brain consists of lots of neural nets with another single computer
producing our awareness, but that is hardly enough information to
actually do a copy. 

Problems: the neural net is not one of those used in computing, and
operates quite differently. Not only do neurons have multiple 
connections rather than just one, but our brain produces new neurons,
and the connections change. Moreover, in addition to electrical 
connections neurons often have chemical connections too, with the 
same transmitter chemicals. Just how this "computer" that is our
brain actually works (if it's even reasonable to call it a computer)
remains unknown in detail, even though we do have a broad idea of
how it works.

Even copying (except for freezing, ideally by some means which can
be verified by producing an unfrozen working brain) raises some major
issues. How important is the CHEMISTRY of neurons in terms of ow
the assembly of them works? Unless our copy copies everything, 
we may fail to copy something important... the circuits CHANGE,
and just how and why they change becomes important to understand.

In very broad terms, I would accept that IF a copy of me is made,
then it is me, so long as it is the only existing instance of me.
Two instances will differ simply because there are two, not to 
mention arguing over who gets whatever property I have or had, and
whatever human relations too. The fundamental problem here is that
we still cannot do that copy, while we CAN do suspensions, even though
they are faulty.

So until these people come to grips with just how we work, and do
lots more study of neuroscience, their notions remain up in the 

		Best and long long life for all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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