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

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Sat Dec 05 2009 - 17:23:04 MST

2009/12/6 Pavitra <>:

>> I think it helps in these thought experiments to take an "Observer
>> Moment" (OM) as the fundamental unit of experience.
> Interesting approximation, but why do you assume that experience is a
> fundamental? Is there a fundamental unit of fire? Of
> triangle-shaped-ness? Of being-a-liquid-ness? Some concepts break down
> when examined closely.

The concept perhaps breaks down if we try to precisely define the
duration of an OM. Nevertheless, it is useful to think in terms of
OM's even if we just arbitrarily choose a time interval, such as
Observer Second or Observer Minute.

The problem with discussions of duplication thought experiments is
that the idea of a person as single entity travelling in the forward
direction through time is tacitly assumed as fundamental. It is not,
and this is perhaps the most important thing these thought experiments
show. If we stick to the unequivocal facts we can say something like
this: physical structure A is generating a sequence of experiences A1,
A2, A3... and physical structure B is generating a sequence of
experiences B2, B3, B4... . We then further note that B2, B3, B4...
include a similar memory of experiencing A1 as that which A2, A3,
A4... have, and that as a result there are two partly overlapping
continuous streams of consciousness, A1, A2, A3... and A1, B2, B3...
who will claim to be the same person. These things we can all agree
on. Whether we say that there is one person or two, or one person that
splits into two, or whether the feeling of being a continuous person
should be called real or illusory in one or other case, is not part of
the facts of the matter. Rather, it is an attempt to shoehorn the
facts into a psychological framework which did not evolve in a world
where copying was possible.

Stathis Papaioannou

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