Re: physics of uploading minds.

From: Phillip Huggan (
Date: Sat Oct 29 2005 - 16:44:15 MDT

  My objection isn't as strong as Penrose's. I'm not saying creating minds requires brain engineering resolution below normal chemical and electrical (both highly subject to quantum mechanics) activities. I'm saying copying minds does. I'm grabbing at quantum mechanics here because entanglement is the only physical phenomena I know of to make your position tenable, that minds can be copied. In a purely relativistic universal framework, this would not be necessary. But quantum theory is the most visible aspect of what "makes" time. Our consciousness operates "in" time. Matter is energy (E=mcc). Minds are a specific configuration of energy interacting with a variety of fields. If you upload a mind without capturing the interactions between the original and the "mysterious" fields, the uploaded mind's brain substrate will not be in any way attached to the original mind's brain. The upload can still be sentient and his memories will cause him to think he is the original, and
 observers can even be fooled by murdering the original.
  I don't want to turn this into a physics forum. Where the Moravec Transfer idea 1st goes wrong as deliniated in "Staring into the Singularity" is in its 1st premise: "A neuron-sized robot swims up to a neuron and scans it into memory." This scan is a static snapshot of infromation from a dynamic process. To work, the scan must copy dynamic effects, and these are subject to fields. The process describes how to maintain continuity of consciousness, not how to preserve identity.
  Minds emerge from a certain configuration of matter, like a Rubik's Cube can be solved. But personal identity emerges from matter, like a Rubik's Cube can be solved if it were attached via tiny strings to billions of other points in the universe.

Michael Wilson <> wrote:
Phillip Huggan wrote:
> Perhaps if an entire mind could be quantum-entangled with an uploaded
> mind... Every mass/energy component in your brain is connected in many
> different ways to a whole bunch of other non-local mass energy
> components in the universe. I know the last sentence sounds like
> new-age crap.

Actually it's the previous sentence that sounds like new age crap; the
second one is fine. There is no evidence for quantum entanglement
being relevant at the (distance and time) scales the human brain
processes information on; it's highly unlikely that state
superpositions play a computational role within individual neurons,
but it's basically impossible that the entire brain has any kind of
mysterious unifying physics beyond normal chemical and electrical
activity. New age 'philosophers', not to mention a few misguided
geniuses such as Penrose (though his claims at least are supeficially
plausible), grab at quantum mechanics because it looks mysterious and
thus provides a way to 'explain' why other things look mysterious. Of
course this methodology is a complete mockery of real science.

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