RE: Multiple Future Bens

From: Rafal Smigrodzki (
Date: Mon Dec 23 2002 - 09:23:46 MST

Ben 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've given a lot of thought to this area of long-range planning, too. I
have somewhat different dreams. Since the core of my volitional system is
the wish to preserve and expand the functioning of my conscious
information-processing systems, I would easily dispense with options 1
through 3, except for strictly utilitarian purposes - whenever there are
physical objects to be moved and no subsentient routine is up to the task,
I'd use any combination of the bodies you mention. However, for the bulk of
my life's thinking I would remain incorporeal, with augmented intelligence
and modified emotional systems. The exact direction of the modification
would depend on the survivability of the mods. Most likely I would spawn a
large number of copies, synchronized and connected to each other to varying
degrees - roughly equivalent to your Ben4, but multiplied and networked. I
think there might be limits to the processing power and intelligence that
can be present in a single conscious process, and should my mind reach this
limit, spawning would offer a way of circumventing it.

In the process of empirical modification I would probably sometimes produce
copies which would evolve away from the rest of the spawn, representing an
analogy to your Ben5. Other possibility would be intentional production of
copies (call them Rafal X) which would not share my volitional focus while
still retaining my memory and personality. Currently, I am a conglomerate of
memories and a goal system with an explicit supergoal of self-maintenance,
including propagation of the goal system, an advanced Kohlberg stage 6
system. Normally I would not see X copies as identity-preserving. However,
under some special circumstances, X copies might be a way of preserving and
propagating memories and traces of personality. Such circumstances would
include encounters with borganized or hive-like minds. The Rafal X would be
beyond human Kohlberg or Bateson stages, could call it a Kohlberg 7.


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