Re: physics of uploading minds

From: Chris Capel (
Date: Sat Oct 29 2005 - 10:23:38 MDT

On 10/29/05, Heartland <> wrote:
> With that in mind, if we replace the word "identity" with "life and
> identity/brain structure" it should be obvious why [brain extraction and
> replacement] leads
> to unsuccessful uploading (death of the original) while [a Moravec transfer]
> preserves
> both life and identity/brain structure of the original.
> The threshold in this case isn't the preserved percentage of the original
> brain structure but whether the whole system comprised of old and new
> substrate lost, at any point, the potential to generate single
> mind-producing activity of matter in space-time. In the first case, the
> system lost that potential (died) while, in the second case, that potential
> existed at all times during the transfer.

I don't agree with this. You're saying that there's something special
about a configuration of matter that has the *potential* to generate
thought. But, even a rock probably has the potential to generate
thought, with the proper reconfiguration. A computer, more obviously
so. Even a freshly removed brain has the potential to generate thought
again if the disconnected nerve cords are reconnected to some other
form of input (and blood flow is supplied). This "potential" you speak
of isn't binary, but a scale. Perhaps a measure of potential is in the
number of man-hours of effort it would take to restore or create the
mind activity?

Furthermore, the idea that continuity of consciousness--even with this
"potential" complication thrown in--is a useful concept with regards
to identity was thoroughly addressed by my earlier post. Do you
disagree with my earlier post, or do you think that the "potential"
concept works around the difficulties I presented?

Chris Capel

"What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to bat a bee? What is it
like to be a bee being batted? What is it like to be a batted bee?"
-- The Mind's I (Hofstadter, Dennet)

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