X-Message-Number: 25309
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 11:38:17 -0800
Subject: Scott's Identity Issues
From: <>

Dear Scott,


You wrote:

"Please understand. First, I don t believe that a copy or a 
duplicate of me is really me."

This is good news. Earlier, you seemed to have been unsure of the 
validity of Perry's views. If we have persuaded you, I am 

You wrote:

"I do think it may be possible to upload using a gradual process 
that maintains continuity."

If by 'upload', you mean to gradually replace the substrate of your 
brain, then please do not use the word 'upload'.  Uploading has a 
very specific definition, which may be found at the following URL:


Immortalists are attracted to uploading because it implies they can 
create many backups of themselves (except Perry, who likes the idea 
because it and the multiverse allow for afterlives).


You wrote:

"I don't get it. How is intelligence not an intrinsic human 
limitation? Brains differ but all have their limits."

Our brains are not infinitely intelligent, but that doesn't mean 
they have a limitation which must be overcome. The language you use 
suggests it is 'bad' to have a certain level of intelligence. To 
see this bias, imagine me saying, 'Your brain's lack of ability to 
explode in a ball of fire is a limitation.' It is true your brain 
cannot explode, but whether that is a limitation (i.e. bad) is for 
you to decide.


You wrote:

"Well, as I understand your theory, the QE is a physical system, 
and systems can be downgraded or upgraded, can't they? If I added a 
third eyeball to the back of my head, I'd be enhancing or upgrading 
my visual system if it was properly hooked up. What's the essential 

In your description of two linked 'brains', you were aiming for 
either (1) a single QE spread across two 'brains', in which case 
the system cannot function (as a QE) if either 'brain' were 
destroyed, or (2) two QE's experiencing the same thing, in which 
case the destruction of one would not mean its subjective inner-
life continued in the other (it would not continue).

Your central problem is that while you accept a duplicate of you is 
not you, you still are trying to find a way to 'backup' yourself. 
This is not possible. A backup will always be a duplicate, even if 
kept in lock-sync with you, and even if tethered to your brain by 

Any attempt to get 'clever' will fail.

For example, if you just create two linked brains, each with a QE, 
then even though they have the same subjective experiences, when 
one brain is destroyed, that brain has no more subjective 
experiences because it no longer exists (self-evident but worth 
repeating in light of Francois' post).

If you try harder, and you create a system of two linked brains, 
such that the overall system has a 'collective' QE, but each brain 
has a QE, too, kept in synchronization, then you will end up with 
three QEs, each defined by different circuits. The death of either 
brain would destroy the 'collective' QE, along with the QE of that 

Finally, if you try to trick death one last time by creating one 
system with a single QE, but each of whose halves can be configured 
to operate as a QE independently, through use of some 'switch', 
then you still die, since it will take a non-zero amount of time to 
flip the switch (i.e. reconfigure the circuits so that the 
surviving half is independently a QE), and during this time, the 
system that was formerly able to experience qualia is no longer 
able to experience qualia.

In summary, there is no way you can ever create a backup of 

You wrote:

"So if I completely understood the physical structure and 
functioning of my QE, would there be any possible way for me to 
enhance it?"

Yes, you could enhance it greatly in numerous ways, and increase 
the kinds of things you could experience. But you can never create 
any backups, or failsafe systems. Any duplicate or upload of you is 
useless from the perspective of continuing your subjective inner 

Best Regards,

Richard. B. R.

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