Re: [sl4] Uploading (was : goals of AI)

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Wed Dec 02 2009 - 00:36:36 MST

2009/12/2 Matt Mahoney <>:
> I wrote:
>> Suppose there was a program that simulated you so well that nobody could
>> tell the difference between you and the program in a Turing test
>> environment. What is the probability that the program will be you after you
>> shoot yourself?
> Surely everyone recognizes my question as nonsense.

Yes, it's nonsense.

> The more important question is: what will it take to convince you to shoot yourself?

Yes, that's the more important question.

> The answer surely depends on the process by which the upload is created, even if the end result is the same. There can not be an "appearance" of death, because as we know, all animals are programmed by evolution to fear the things that can kill them.
> So naturally we value continuity of experience, and continuity of the physical body, even though rationally it makes no difference. Having two copies exist at the same time destroys the illusion.
> For a similar reason, it is important that nobody else can tell the difference between you and your copy. Otherwise they would believe the upload failed and not try it themselves. It doesn't make any difference to your copy if the memories are different or not, because it would be unaware of any differences.

I can give an exact answer to your question. I would not hesitate to
kill myself if the copy that survives is running in lockstep with me,
since in that case I could expect to live on in the copy with an
uninterrupted stream of consciousness. This is what happens from day
to day and year to year in ordinary life: my body disintegrates and is
replaced by a copy who thinks he is me, and it doesn't worry me apart
from the fact that the copy is a little more decrepit every time.
(Indeed, aging could be seen as being due to the fact that the
disintegration/copying process is not 100% accurate). But if the two
copies start to diverge then I would hesitate to kill myself, and the
longer the period of divergence the more hesitant I would be.

Stathis Papaioannou

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:01:05 MDT