Re: [sl4] Uploading

From: John McNamara (
Date: Wed Dec 02 2009 - 07:16:48 MST

Hi John,

On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 05:11, John K Clark <> wrote:
> As usual in these thought experiments you assume you are the original,
> but you must realize that both parties after the duplication would think
> they are the original and you would need EXTREMELY good evidence to
> convince one of them that they were wrong. And even then many just
> wouldn't believe it no matter what.

agreed entirely
in the instant after duplication it is easy to arrange matters so that
both "me"s have no idea if they are the original or a copy.
however the original me before going to the upload clinic will know
this and therefore not go so as to avoid such a (to me) intolerable

if it happened to me against my will the resulting us would readily
admit that neither of us knew which was the original. It would be a
huge personal and legal mess no doubt.
If one of us happened to be dead the instant after duplication it
would not effect the remaining me's thoughts on the situation. It
would be the same as if one of us was ran over by a bus upon exiting
the clinic.
The only significant difference would be fear of the "shooting people
clinic" vs fear of deadly traffic.
I am of course assuming that the shock of such a situation would not
precipitate different reactions than how I currently think.
I fully recognise that others could have entirely different reactions,
some of which would seem very strange to me. Such is the great variety
of intelligent life.

>> I would not consider them as having any property
>> rights over any of my physical or informational assets.

> You would think that regardless if you were the original or the copy,
> you would both think you have exclusive rights to John McNamara's
> assets, and both would have an equally valid claim; after all you both
> vividly remember buying them and you both remember earning the money to
> do so.

you personally might think that if you experienced that situation and
I wouldn't argue against you, but I know my own mind much better than
you. If _I_ woke up with a duplicate and neither of us had any which
was the original we would both (at least initially) consider ourselves
of undetermined legal identity and victims of a terrible crime. I
expect we would co-operate as much as possible to survive, prosper and
exact vengeance on the criminal that duplicated us without permission.
If it was later proved to me beyond reasonable doubt that I was the
copy I would relinquish all legal property claims. Hopefully I would
live in society that would offer me charitable support.

>> I would be of the opinion that there should be legal societal rules to
>> handle such an awkward situation.
> So the scientific method cannot detect any difference between the two
> but nevertheless you think there should be laws that treat the two
> differently. Sounds rather like South Africa under apartheid.

I didn't imply "there should be laws that treat the two differently".
And I certainly didn't imply that either should be oppressed in any way.
In fact I deliberately make no comment on what laws I would politically support.
My sole point is that any ordered society in which these kinds of
events occur will write new laws in reaction to these events that have
not occurred previously.
They could be very very nasty laws like your sinister apartheid
reference or they could be very very nice laws. I'll leave both to the
readers imagination.

>> If a friend had an upload made and they didn't survive, I would
>> consider my friend dead, mourn them and probably avoid the upload to
>> preserve my own mental health.
> Well of course you would. As I said before most people, even most people
> on transhuman lists, believe in the soul. I don't.
>  John K Clark

You might be right. I have no evidence either way.
However, I get the impression that you're implying I personally also
believe in souls even if I were to say I didn't, based on the bit you
quoted ?
I don't.
I think their only existence is exactly the same as Santa Claus and
the Easter Bunny.
I don't mock children who believe in Santa Claus though I would be
very wary of scientific neural engineering research done by scientists
who claimed the soul was real. I still wouldn't mock them though.

My reference to avoiding a known non-original duplicate of a dead
friend for my mental-health is a perfectly logical psychological
reaction. I know my friend was shoot in the head (or whatever) and I
know this other person was an exact duplicate at one point in time
(and is otherwise indistinguishable still).
It would just be plain creepy for many people. No need whatsoever to
drag "souls" into the explanation.

Best Regards
John Mc Namara

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