X-Message-Number: 25209
Date: Fri,  3 Dec 2004 11:51:45 -0800
Subject: Re: Safeguards against uploaders?
From: <>

Dear Valera,


"The popularity of all these 'survival through hi-tech duplication' 
ideas really concerns me."

Yes, I agree. Ironic, then, that it is the very people who wish to 
live a good long life that are so ardently promoting uploading as a 
form of personal survival.

"I am planning to arrange cryonics contracts for my parents. I fear 
that at some point people with a liking for comforting abstractions 
and re-definitions may make up a majority on the CI board of 
directors and decide to duplicate my mum or dad instead of 
reanimating them. I don't want them to be killed, even in such a 
wonderful futuristic manner as uploading, and even if I got 
electronic or biological copies of them in return. Are there any 
safeguards against attempts by 'benevolent' uploaders in authority 
within cryonics organisations to finish... sorry, upload off 
cryonics patients?"

This is a very real concern---for one, because uploading will 
possibly be many times cheaper than repairing, and for another, 
because Merkle's dissassembly-analysis-reassembly plan could also 
be cheaper and/or more technologically feasible than repair (the 
only alternative for today's freezing/vitrification is extremely 
low temperature advanced nanotechnology, which could be very costly 
and have no other application than reanimating old cryonics 
patients). Both result in certain destruction, as sure as 

CI's founder Robert Ettinger doesn't think uploading is equivalent 
to survival, and neither does Ben Best, its current president. I 
don't know what the president of Alcor (Joe Waynick) thinks, but 
Mike Perry is a strong supporter of uploading, and he works for 

However, in 50 or 100 years, who can say who will be running the 
organizations (or who will be in charge of the patients), and what 
pressures these organizations might face for 'salvaging' old cases 
that cannot yet be easily repaired.

This is why I want the cryonics organizations to have official 
policies on these issues. At the very least, I want cryonics 
organizations to respect patients' wishes to be 'reanimated' in a 
manner of their own choosing, even if their choice means that 
reanimation will not be possible for quite some time; and I want 
them to agree that if they pass on handling of their patients to 
other organizations, they will force them to abide by the same 

I personally think that, if a computer is created capable of 
consciousness (of a subjective inner-life) that is many times more 
intelligent than humans, then when trained by humanity's collective 
knowledge, it will quickly and easily come to the conclusion that 
uploading and duplication are not forms of personal survival. 
Perhaps if such a thing happens, people will trust the computer, 
and give up permanently on uploading. Until then, people who cannot 
think clearly about the issue due to emotional entanglements will 
continue to insist that a duplicate is numerically identical to the 
original, in spite of the fact that this is demonstrably false.

Best Regards,

Richard B. R.

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