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

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Sun Dec 06 2009 - 12:44:53 MST

Rewot Fetterkey wrote:
> Can you clarify that? How, exactly, is consciousness nonexistent?

By consciousness, I mean that which makes you different from a philosophical zombie as described in
But by definition, a zombie is not distinguishable from you at all. I really don't know how much more clear the logic could be.

The problem arises because all animals, including those that have no concept of death, have evolved a fear of those things that can kill them. Humans do have such a concept, which we associate with a lack of conscious experience. So we all desperately want to preserve this thing that does not exist. We can't help it. We are programmed that way.

One way to deal with this conflict is to argue that the zombie argument is wrong and create ever more convoluted arguments to refute it. My preferred approach is as follows:

1. I believe that I have conscious experience. (I am programmed to).
2. I know that conscious experience does not exist. (Logic irrefutably says so).
3. I realize that 1 and 2 are inconsistent. I leave it at that.

 -- Matt Mahoney,

From: Rewot Fetterkey <>
Sent: Sat, December 5, 2009 9:21:43 PM
Subject: Re: Copying nonsense (was Re: [sl4] Uploading (was : goals of AI))

Can you clarify that? How, exactly, is consciousness nonexistent?

On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 5:43 PM, Matt Mahoney <> wrote:

If a copy of you is made by some means then there will be two people who claim to be you. If one of them is killed then one of them is killed.
>>I don't understand why this is such a difficult concept.
>>You ask which copy will be you? What will you experience? These are not well formed questions because "you" is not a well defined concept in a world where minds can be copied. The question only has artificial importance because of this evolved belief in this nonexistent thing that people so desperately want to preserve, sometimes called a "consciousness", "qualia", "experience", or a "soul" that has absolutely no effect on behavior. So why even talk about it? If you taboo the words "you" and "I" then there is no controversy whatsoever.
>>Really, this whole discussion is getting tedious. I could go through the SL4 archives and find a dozen more just like it if I didn't have more important things to do with my time.
>> -- Matt Mahoney,

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