Re: Identity and becoming a Great Old One

From: Phillip Huggan (
Date: Thu Jan 26 2006 - 14:03:12 MST

A devastating criticism to the pattern view is that it hypothesizes a perfect copy. If we assume consciousness must emerge from a physical brain (qualifying an upload computer as a brain), there is no such thing as an identical copy of anything in the universe without invoking very extreme quantum environments that may be out of the reach of any upload machine. Copying a computer program requires separate hard-drive space or a separate floppy disk. The copied program behaves identically when it interacts with a computer, but it has a separate existence.
  None of the views are perfectly falsifiable. That is a function of consciousness not uploading procedures. I would book up on physics for a few years and then question the engineers of the upload machine. If they could describe an actual physical process where the chemical, EM, and computational features of brains are ported and preserved in the new substrate, I would be satisfied with that. Brain functions give rise to EM fields and that suggests there is a whole bunch of physics apart from computation that is relevant. I would thing at least it requires carbon chemistry of some sort. Of course intelligent behaviour is surely programmable at some computer resources threshold, I'm not questioning that.

Russell Wallace <> wrote:
      Okay, that's a third view, distinct from both the pattern and thread views; let's call it the substrate view.

I'm curious: is the substrate view falsifiable?

To take a specific example: Suppose destructive scan uploading becomes available in our lifetimes and I go ahead and take the option and then come along and say "hey, the pattern view was right, I'm uploaded and still me".

The threadites would say (if I understand them correctly), "Sure, we agree you are you, you're just not the _same_ you as the pre-upload person."

Would you agree the substrate view had been falsified? Or would you say "Your claim to be conscious is just Eliza-style parroting, you're really just a zombie?" Or do you think the scenario is impossible to begin with because nothing running on nonbiological substrate could pass the Turing test? Or some fourth option?

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