X-Message-Number: 25049
From: "Valera Retyunin" <>
Subject: Mind uploading and upgrading
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 04:23:58 +0300

I largely agree with Richard. It's good to see on the Cryonet someone with a
critical approach to mind uploading.
However, there's a chance that, at some point in future, under some very
special circumstances, we will be able to upgrade our minds in a way that
somehow reminds of uploading. Simply put, copying a mind will not preserve
it (unless a magical or divine force transfers the "self", or "soul", to the
copy afterwards), but extending it and then cutting off the "old" part of
the extended mind may.
There are quite a few ifs and buts involved here of course:
1. For such upgrading/uploading to work, we would first need a mind
extension that could become self-sufficient in time, i.e. could support the
entire stream of consciousness - all the features and functions of the mind
including those which comprise the "self".
2. Then we would have to connect the extenstion to the brain (piece by piece
or simultaneously) so that the consciousness could freely spread over the
extended mind. The quality of the connection would need to be appropriate.
It would have to be representative of all the interconnections in the brain,
and equally continuous and fast. The connection might even have to be part
of the extension. In theory, it could even be wireless, if the extension
always stayed close enough so that the integrity of the mind was not
affected by the limited speed of communication.
But more importantly, the mind has to be able to extend, i.e. not just use
the extension as a storage or processor but perceive it as an integral part
of itself. We don't know yet whether it's possible since it's still a
mistery what makes up the qualia-experiencing "self".
There may also be a "conflict of personalities" problem if a
fully-functional extension was to be connected. We, again, don't know if a
true merger of two or more "selves" is possible. If it wasn't, the extension
would have to be kept off all the time before the connection to avoid the
emergence of an independent "self", or created and connected piece by piece,
with each piece small enough to be "unconscious" in itself.
3. When the consciousness had fully spread over the extended mind, the "old"
part of the mind could be switched off, gradually or even abruptly. It might
be a mental trauma, but the original "self" ("soul", "qualia experiencer")
would have been preserved.

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