Re: [sl4] Wanted - academic discussions of mind uploading

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Wed Jul 15 2009 - 19:35:10 MDT

My AGI proposal ( ) might be relevant to your paper on the hive mind aspect of an uploaded society. However, unlike Hanson, my view is that AGI will come first (as a global brain) and uploading will follow.

Under this scenario, uploading is an existential risk depending on your point of view. In order for AGI to do what you want (and not just what you say), it has to know what you want. Essentially, it has to know everything you know. The least expensive means to collect this knowledge without exotic new technologies like brain scanning is by surveillance, monitoring all of your communications over many years. I assume this will happen because of the enormous economic pressure to automate work, and will be made possible by cheap computing power and solutions to the language and vision problems.

At the point when it is possible to write programs that simulate you well enough that nobody can tell the difference, the human race will already be so dependent on the internet that it could be regarded as a global brain. It's top level goal will be to keep its billions of carbon-based modules happy, although it will do so more as a competitive market than as a godlike intelligence.

There have been many extended discussions on the ethics of uploading along the lines of consciousness and self identity, colored by our evolved fears of most of the things that can kill us. These generally go nowhere, so I don't wish to repeat them. Human brains are programmed in such a way that they will be willing to give their property to powerful programs that simulate them and then turn themselves off. It is not good or bad. It is what it is.

 -- Matt Mahoney,

----- Original Message ----
From: Kaj Sotala <>
To:; ExI chat list <>
Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2009 4:17:04 PM
Subject: [sl4] Wanted - academic discussions of mind uploading

I'm playing around with the idea of doing a paper on the hive mind
aspect of an uploaded society (see
for my previous post on the topic), for which I need to do a survery
on the previous academic discussions on mind uploading. Both journal
articles and books are fine - also, if any of you happen to know of
any fictional works concerning uploading where the people involved
eventually develop into a hive mind, do mention them. (Note that I'm
specifically looking for hive minds that have developed from *human
uploads*. I'm not looking for AI hive minds, cyborg hive minds or hive
minds in general - I know that scifi has plenty of *those*.)

Here are the academic uploading articles which I'm already aware of
(which might also be a handy reference for anyone else interested in
the topic).

Non-fiction about uploading in general:

Anders Sandberg & Nick Bostrom (2008): Whole Brain Emulation: A
Roadmap, Technical Report #2008-3. Future of Humanity Institute,
Oxford University. (An analysis of what is yet required for uploads.)
Robin Hanson (1994, 2008): If uploads come first - The crack of a
future dawn; Economics of the Singularity. (Hanson's classic must-read
papers on the economic consequences of uploads.)
Susan Schneider (2008): Future Minds: Transhumanism, Cognitive
Enhancement and the Nature of Persons. Neuroethics Publications.
(Critique of uploading on the grounds that an uploaded copy "would be
just a clone, not you", and seems to assume that this can just be
taken as granted. Groan.)
V. Astakhov (2008): Mind Uploading and Resurrection of Human
Consciousness. Place for Science? NeuroQuantology. (/Seems/ to discuss
some sort of theory for the actual upload process. I think. Not sure
if it's entirely serious, but at least I'm unable to follow it.)
Ray Kurzweil (2005): The Singularity is Near. (Briefly discusses the
possibility of uploading.)
Nick Bostrom (2004): The Future of Human Evolution. In Death and
Anti-Death: Two Hundred Years After Kant, Fifty Years After Turing.
(The only paper I could find that actually discusses a hive mind -like
Hans Moravec (2000): Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind.
(Mentions uploading in the form of a "cyberspace" that people will
move into.)
Robert Harle (2002): Cyborgs, Uploading and Immortality - Some Serious
Concerns. Sophia, Volume 41, Number 2. (Mainly attempts to debunk the
whole idea of uploading. Humorous for stating that "the most serious
problem for uploaders" is the fact that a brain cannot function
without body, completely ignoring the possibility of *gasp* people
also simulating a body. Not very interesting.)
Hans Moravec (1988): Mind Children. (Has a brief description of an
upload process.)

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