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

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Sat Dec 05 2009 - 05:08:30 MST

2009/12/5 Frank Adamek <>

> These questions require the treatment of individual (identical) instances as as seperate people. That is, if another 'you' is made, both of you are still around, we'll have PersonA and PersonB. You might treat PersonA as the one standing in your position prior to copying (the "old you"), but I don't think it matters. Without this distinction, "you" always experience anything an instance of you does, as "you" has been (or could be) defined to mean any and all instances of you. The discussion should be made clearer by finer distinctions of where one does or doesn't agree; disagreeing on this point makes the other question moot.
> So three copies now exist, Persons A, B, and C. PersonA has no food, B eats an apple, C a banana, and I (also there) eat an orange. What sensation do you expect PersonA to experience? If ve will somehow experience the apple or banana, why not my orange?

Obviously A will remain hungry, unless he is in some sort of
telepathic communication with the other two copies.

I think it helps in these thought experiments to take an "Observer
Moment" (OM) as the fundamental unit of experience. A person A
consists of a set of OM's, {A1, A2, A3...}, which are related by their
information content: A2 has A1 in his subjective past and looks
forward to A3 in his subjective future. It is commonly held that a
person is that person because all the OM's are generated by the one
brain, but that is not quite right. A person extended over time exists
because the appropriate OM's exist. Normally, the appropriate OM's
exist only because a particular brain is able to generate them in
sequence, but this is not a necessary fact. If something suddenly went
wrong in your brain so as to cause a complete and permanent loss of
memory and other mental attributes then this is equivalent to your
death, since you will have no successor OM's. On the other hand, if a
brain arises somewhere which just happens to be in the same
configuration as yours was at the time you died then this brain will
produce successor OM's and you will continue living. The OM's could
all be generated on different hardware and even out of sequence and
they would still constitute a person, provided that they have the
appropriate content.

If a person is copied at OM A1 then there are now two persons where
before there was one: A={A1, A2, A3...} and B={B2, B3, B4...}. Both A2
and B2 have A1 in their subjective past, but they probably will not
have the same content (in which case they would have been the same OM)
because A and B will immediately start having divergent experiences
from the point of duplication. Now, the important point is that A2 and
B2 each have equal claim to being the successor of A1 (again: the OM's
are related primarily due to their information content, and the fact
that the OM's of a particular person are normally generated by the one
physical brain is only significant because it ensures that the content
is of the correct type). So it is probably better to say that the two
persons created due to the duplication are A={A1, A2, A3...} and
B={A1, B2, B3...}. A1 can look forward to either continuing as A or as
B, and it will seem to him that he has a 1/2 chance of ending up as
either. If duplication destroys the original then A1 can look forward
to ending up as B with certainty, while if there is no duplication or
the duplicate is destroyed before it is able to have any experiences
A1 can look forward to continuing as A with certainty.

Stathis Papaioannou

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