Re: Multiple Future Bens

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Mon Dec 23 2002 - 08:57:24 MST

Something that concerns me about almost all futuristic scenarios is the
emphasis on personal identity. It seems that even the most forward thinkers
are limited to imagining the addition of advanced capabilities to our
existing concept of self.

The currently popular sense of self is an illusion, and will be upgraded
along with the hardware that tends to maintain the illusion.

I think we'll see a transition period where people will augment their bodies
and minds with technological add-ons, but this will be just a stepping stone
to a broader and deeper understanding of "mind" that will discard the
current emphasis on hedonism and personal identity, and adopt a more
goal-directed behavior and networked identity.

What goals? I have tentative and general ideas on this, but really can not
presume to know what such a consciousness would choose.

- Jef

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> Hi all,
> I've been thinking about what I'm going to do with myself in 15-30
> years or so...
> What I think I'd like to do is to create a *series* of 5 Bens:
> Ben1: pretty much like me, but with an immortal, illness-free body
> and more control over things like sleep, anger, etc. ...
> Ben2: a human-computer hybrid, with a human body but a neural link
> into computer systems
> Ben3: A Ben in a humanoid robot body, with the ability to breathe in
> space, fly, etc.
> Ben4: an uploaded computer program seeded with my mind, and allowed
> to grow more intelligent, but specifically required to maintain
> communication with Ben1, Ben2 and Ben3
> Ben5: an uploaded computer program allowed to evolve and self-modify
> in any direction ... quite probably it will soon become clever enough
> to be disinterested in Ben1, Ben2, Ben3 and Ben4 and effectively
> "disappear"...
> I think every human being should be offered any or all of these
> possibilities. Some will reject all of them, which is fine.
> I am curious what you folks think.
> Of course, we don't want the list polluted with mini-responses like
> "Yeah, sounds good to me" or "I prefer option 5," etc. This is not a
> poll!
> What I'm curious about is if anyone has clearly-articulable reasons or
> feelings leading them to prefer a different sort of choice -- e.g.
> "option 5 only" or "option 2 only" etc. -- or a different option not
> on the list (e.g. "my brain transplanted into a chinchilla's body" --
> but with a detailed explanation ;)
> Based on conversations with ordinary people, I think that option 1 is
> appealing very widely in the human populace, whereas the other
> options are scary. This is partly just a statement that the public
> has a very low "Shock Level", of course.
> -- Ben Goertzel

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