X-Message-Number: 33425
References: <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #33401 debunking uploading
Date: Sat, 05 Mar 2011 17:43:59 -0500

I would ask the uploaders to make this thought experiment. Upload the 
contents of your brain to the fullest extent allowed by future 
Then blow your brains out with a gun and make sure your remains are 
thoroughly cremated. Are you happy to do this? If not, why not?
Surely, all that is essential about you has been preserved! Are you not 
now immortal?
Ron Havelock

Message #33401
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2011 02:37:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: again, debunking uploading

Gerald Monroe asks why I think uploading is nonsense. Once more, here's 
 gist of it.

First, most of Mr. Monroe's points are irrelevant, addressing a 
question. viz., that of reproduction of a brain.  I don't claim that a
brain cannot be copied or reconstructed, or that such a copy wouldn't 
be alive.
The nonsense enters when we focus on  uploading in the sense of a
simulation of a brain (or simulation of succession of states) in a 
digital  computer.

First, fix firmly in mind the fact that the computers in question 
exist, except for speed and storage capacity.  The deficiency of a
simulation is  not a matter of speed or storage capacity, but of the  
nature of a simulation. A simulation is a description, and a  
description (in
general) is not the thing.

Either of two mantras ought to do the trick, for those accessible  
logic.  Either "The map (with unimportant exceptions) is  not the 
or "A blueprinjt of a house (no matter how accurate and  detailed)  is 
a house."

There are many extensions and variations of the argument. For example,
suppose I write down, with pencil on paper, the quantum mechanical
specification  of a hydrogen atom in its ground state, which isn't 
difficult. So I've
written  it down, and now I have some pencil marks on paper. Does that 
mean I
have  created a hydrogen  atom? If you  believe that, next stop  

A computer does not acquire magical properties by virtue of more speed 
more storage capacity. The simplest computer--conceptually, a Turing
tape--can  in principle perform any calculation that any digital 
computer will ever
be able  to do, albeit more slowly.

A computer massages data--something in, something out. It converts an 
  set of symbols into an output set of symbols. All you have in the 
is a  succession of sets of symbols, which through an appropriate code 
be  interpreted to signify something. Or not.

Yet again, it is crucial to remember that adding speed or size buys you 

essentially nothing except convenience. A coded description of a thing 
in a
computer is not that thing, any more than a painting of a person is a 
If  it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it may still be just a
decoy. A  page full of words, or a  computer full of files, is not a 
person, or
 indeed anything at all other than a set of symbols.

Robert Ettinger

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