Mind Uploading and Mind Children

By | July 2, 2009

BrainwavesThere are two major questions surrounding the concept of mind uploading. There is the question of feasibility: Can we build a model of a brain complete enough to allow a conscious mind to emerge? The other question is concerned with identity. Some people argue that, if a copy of a conscious mind is identical by all measures (ignoring the fact that one is biological and the other is neuromorphic software/hardware) it should be thought of as a continuation of the mind that was mapped and uploaded. Others argue that a copy cannot be considered the same as the original, so the newly awakened consciousness must be another person.

Various attempts have been made to imagine the benefits of mind uploading. Assuming continuation of the mind, these benefits include indefinite lifespans and upgrading the mind. When your current brain no longer works well enough or not at all, you transfer your conscious mind to another (perhaps better) artificial brain. None of these benefits are tempting to those who see uploads as different people. In The Spike, Damien Broderick declared “copies are not you” and asked, “Would you be prepared to die (sacrifice your current embodiment) in order that an exact copy of yourself be reconstructed elsewhere, or on a different substrate?” He goes on to argue that this is not a procedure he would be willing to undertake.

via Mind Uploading and Mind Children | h+ Magazine.

If a copy of your mind is not you, then it is your Mind Child. Perhaps when quantum computers come of age we will have Mind Children. Would you choose to have one?

31 thoughts on “Mind Uploading and Mind Children

  1. marjoriekaye

    You upload an exact copy of your mind and the copy exists perceiving itself to be you living in the virtual world as if it were a physical environment. A year later, you upload another mind copy to another program created from the physical you. When the physical you dies, which one is legally you? Is it the second copy–because is has more of what you experienced in the physical world? The first copy of “you” was busy during that year adjusting to virtual reality. Because that year’s memories were created in a virtual environment rather than a physical one, is the first one less you than the second?

    1. Xeno Post author

      I’d like to see that movie. There was an interesting star trek episode that raised a question along those lines: if you make an exact copy of someone to transport them, aren’t you killing the original, then creating new life?

      1. marjoriekaye

        Not a movie, but I guess it could be–different from meeting yourself as a transporter generated copy. The minute the virtual “you” wakes up, what you experience makes you different from the original and though both copies differ from the original, the second one differs less. Maybe that answers my question but creates another in terms of civil rights. If you are a virtual, do you risk losing them?

        1. Xeno Post author

          Well, we have rights now and we are already virtual, although most people don’t realize it. We are virtual in the sense that we experience not the world, but your mental model of the world. If you stimulate the brain in the right place, you will feel it in your finger, for example. Thus, we do not directly experience our body, we experience a mental model of our body. This makes us virtual beings, the way I see it. So, yes, every virtual “you” should have the same rights as your clone(s). A human clone has the same human rights any other person. A person with a machine heart has the same rights as a person with a human heart, but a mouse with human brain cells does not have the rights of a human. So, what percentage of human parts gives someone human rights? This will need to be decided some day.

  2. marjoriekaye

    I understand what you’re saying, however the nature of perception and reality might not be interpreted the same way by a society and its laws. Thanks for the back and forth.

    1. Xeno Post author

      Oh, I agree with you on that. Society has not evolved logically and ethically as fast as technologically, so all signs point–assuming we don’t go extinct or suffer a major setback that causes us to start building from scratch again–to the fact that we will get to the mind upload point before we have made good choices about the person-hood of the uploaded individual.

      By the way, how do you know you are not “a brain in a vat” right now? Could we be uploaded beings without knowing it? That might explain our interest in this topic. 😉

      1. marjoriekaye

        Yes, but that rabbit hole doesn’t have an end, so I choose to believe I’m a boomer typing this reply as my two overweight cats sleep on the couch. The “brain is a vat question” calls to mind the 50’s movie where the lady dies in a car accident and her scientist husband sticks her head in a glass container and plugs her in and she bitches at him for the rest of the movie, until the lab catches on fire or something and its sequel–“The Man With Two Brains”– the Steve Martin movie.

        1. Xeno Post author

          Ah yes, the Man with Two Brains was fun … but I didn’t see the original. I love the drunk test at the very end of this:


          I’ll try to find it. Testing reality is an interesting thing to do from time to time, because you might catch yourself in a dream. Ever have lucid dreams, where you know you are dreaming while you are dreaming?

    1. marjoriekaye

      Thanks for the clip. i had forgotten how funny it is. I loved the last scene when Steve Martin explains to the whore how he was going to kill her and replace her brain and she chirps “I don’t mind.”

    2. Xeno Post author

      Neat thanks. Have you had them? I haven’t in a long time, but had some amazing experiences when I was into it years ago. Consciously witnessed a dream start(!), and another time, woke up slowly and had two bodies at once superimposed, my real body plus my dream body in different orientations, one face up, and the other face down(!), etc.)

      Your small avatar image looks a friend of mine (former bass player in my band) from Sacramento. Thought you were her for a minute.

      1. marjoriekaye

        No–though I’d like to. Daniel Oldis is a friend. If you check him out, you’ll see that he published the first scientific research on Lucid Dreams called “The Lucid Dream Manifesto.” He lent me a Zeo and alas I sleep like the dead, and when I dream it’s vivid but I can’t recall ever being aware of dreaming until I’m beginning to wake up. I’m a little nuts anyway so my reality is vivid enough without walking on any ceilings.

      2. marjoriekaye

        I’ll clue him into this site. He’s been a Lucid Dreamer for thirty years or more and I know he would find your content very interesting as do I. Maybe he has some suggestions–I don’t know. I think I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to Lucid Dreams and you seem to be a natural. There was a movie about Lucid Dreaming with Danny Devito I saw and it seemed Devito’s character spends most of his time Lucid Dreaming which he says he prefers to reality saying in his dreams he has made love to Cleopatra so why not favor dream reality over the waking existence.

      3. Xeno Post author

        I see in his Lucid Dream Manifesto that Daniel Oldis cites Stephen LaBerge as helping him out when he was an undergrad. Cool that they knew each other. Oldis also mentions Carlos Castaneda and professor Charlie Tart who taught the “Altered States of Consciousness” class that got me into this subject.

        Lucid dreaming: Try it tonight. Motivation is a big part of being able to do it. Also keep a dream journal for a week and test if you are awake several times during the day. That worked for me. I think I used LaBerge’s MILD, but haven’t recalled my dreams for a long time because I don’t get enough sleep. Need that device… 🙂

        Catch you later, and thanks again.

        PS. I’ve never met a person who isn’t “a little nuts”, but I’ve met people who are not self aware enough to realize they are. Hehe.

      4. Mirlen101

        Melatonin helps some lucid dream . But you should start with a miniscule amount . Just buy it over the counter and split the pills into little pieces . Most people start with way too high a dosage because the stores put it out that way . Some people need very tiny amounts otherwise it has the opposite effect ( keeps you awake ) or gives you such intense dreams they virtually become nightmares !
        One thing I’ve noticed is if you are intent on having a lucid dream it is best to catch yourself off guard . If you try too hard the mind refuses . If you unexpededly one night say to yourself “I’m going to Lucid dream !” Just one quick thought can produce a lucid dream . No one method works with everyone . You just have to keep trying . Just don’t try too hard ! 😉
        One method that actually does work for everyone is the isolation tank ! Get in one of those and you will hit the lucid dream state in a few minutes ! I hear it is a terrifying experience , at one early stage . Most get over that stage in a short time though . I have a pearltrees.com bookmark album on “scientifically induced out of body experience “. Also some Lucid dreaming links somewhere 😉 The “consciousness” section is the most popular section of links on pearltrees I think . Huge community devoted to mind research .I’ll be linking some of the information provided here into the pearltrees.com

        1. Xeno Post author

          Melatonin is a hormone and I don’t recommend taking it. You risk seizures, headaches and other problems. I didn’t use it to have lucid dreams. As I said, just use MILD. I don’t know anyone who has failed to have lucid dreams using the MILD technique.

          Also sensory deprivation tanks are not scary, unless you regress to an ape like state, break into a zoo and kill and eat a goat.

      5. Mirlen101

        I had a lucid dream I purposely started by giving myself a suggestion before going to sleep . I told myself to pick something up in order to verify I was in control of the dream . I was walking around a apartment complex and saw a tree . I bent down to grab a root . I was amazed when the root felt like rubber ! really weird ! It was like holding a rubber snake ! I could actually feel it !
        It’s been said that people who can reach full meditation can go into lucid dreaming in a short time . Daydreaming is a form of lucid dreaming , most people have that ability when they are younger . To go into a deep trance easily but not necessarily totally willfully .

      6. Mirlen101

        Melatonin ? ;….A … What ? Are you talking about ! ? It’s a natural substance already in your body . As you get older it diminishes . I’m talking about minuscule doses , not high doses that would be stupid ! It is sold over the counter !It’s a hormone that’s about all you got right ! Do you really think I would prescribe a dangerous substance ! ? Here’s the safety report from the Mayo Clinic ! Millions of people take it as a supplement for sleep ! If your afraid to take melatonin I’d stay away from aspirin if I was you ! http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/melatonin/NS_patient-melatonin/DSECTION=safety It’s found in food for Gods sake ! Oats, Sweet Corn & Rice
        1. Oats, sweet corn and rice are the best foods to eat for melatonin. These foods contain between 1,000 and 1,800 picograms (1,000,000 picograms = 1 milligram) of melatonin per gram.

        In the oats family, eat oatmeal, cereals containing oats, nature bars, oatmeal cookies and oat bread. Sweet corn is available in can or frozen form or fresh from your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Rice, both white and brown, is available at local grocery store.
        Ginger & Barley
        2. Ginger and barley both have a small amount of the hormone present. Ginger has about 500 picograms per gram of melatonin, and barley has minute amounts.

        Ginger root and ground ginger are found in most local grocery and health food stores. To find barley, visit your grocery store’s soup aisle or a local health food store.
        Tomatoes, Bananas & Radishes
        3. Tomatoes, bananas and Japanese radishes (the stem and leaves combined) also contain small amounts of melatonin. All three foods have around 500 picograms per gram of melatonin in each one. These foods also can be found at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. Try to buy fresh if you can.
        Fruits & Vegetables
        4. Several other fruits and vegetables also contain minute amounts melatonin, including pineapples, apples, oranges, strawberries, kiwifruits, peppers and spinach. Try to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, try to consume the them within one week of purchase.

        You can prepare melatonin-rich meals using several foods containing a small amount of melatonin.
        Almonds & Seeds
        5. Other foods that contain melatonin include almonds, pimpinella peregrina (the dried root), sunflower seeds, fennel seeds, lemon verbena (the young plant), balm mint (the young plant) and green cardamom seeds. Most seeds can be found at your local health food store and some farmer’s markets.

        Read more: Food Containing Melatonin | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5491365_food-containing-melatonin.html#ixzz1FKVM9atF

        1. Xeno Post author

          You might survive the first few times you take it, but if you do take it, you will eventually die. Guaranteed. And before you die, you might gain weight, mess up your sleep patterns, have seizures, or develop symptoms of bipolar disorder. Eat the foods, but don’t take hormones. It’s not nice to fool mother nature. There are feedback loops. If you take it, your body will stop producing it naturally. If you don’t eat healthy, you may be deficient and in that case it might help you, but don’t do it blind. Get tested. If your levels are low, then try it, but I’d still change my diet and other habits before taking hormone supplements.

      7. Mirlen101

        You have no idea what you are talking about ” guaranteed death ! ” are you nuts ! It’s in nuts ! There is no difference between melatonin in food or refined over the counter . Die ? I’ve taken it for months at a time . Then quite then went back on it , off and on . Like I said millions of people do all the time ! Did you even read what I sent ? Where are you getting this stuff ! Just making up as you go along ?

      8. Mirlen101

        You have no idea what you are talking about ” guaranteed death ! ” are you nuts ! It’s in nuts ! There is no difference between melatonin in food or refined over the counter . Die ? I’ve taken it for months at a time . Then quite then went back on it , off and on . Like I said millions of people do all the time ! Did you even read what I sent ?
        Where are you getting this stuff ! Just making things up as you go along ?
        Wheres your data ? Proof ? You have nothing ! If you were right people would be dropping like flies ! Melatonin is one of the highest selling sleep aids ! Where’s all these dead people you speak of ? Wake up your dreaming ! Diphenhydramine (found in brand names like Nytol, Sominex, Sleepinal, Compoz) is much more dangerous then Melatonin ! You credibility has just taken a nose dive !

      9. Xeno Post author

        Nuts? Oh yes, I’m certain of it. Death is guaranteed. I can prove it. Nuts?! No one has ever survived past a certain age after taking Melatonin. People *are* dropping like flies. In case you haven’t noticed, around 150,000 people die each day across the globe. I can also guarantee that these same 150,000 people consumed dihydrogen monoxide before they died. (http://www.dhmo.org/) Unheed me at your own peril, mortals.

      10. Mirlen101

        @ Cheng Ya I don’t know whats with all those smiley’s they seem to just appear at random ! 😉 See ! < There they go again !

  3. Mirlen101

    If I had a mind child I would quickly disown it so I wouldn’t be associated and held responsible for its actions ! 😉 I have enough problems corralling my own mind ! 😉 No telling what my second mind would be up to ! ;-O But if my mind got out of hand and ruined my reputation then I should be able to pull the plug ! A kill switch if you will 😉 Because knowing my mind he would be up to no good ! Getting in all sorts of nasty situations ! The little bugger ! I hate him already ! ;-/

  4. Mirlen101

    PS Knowing my mind he would make a copy . And that copy would make another copy and so on . Pretty soon my mind would be everywhere ! ;-O I know scary ! I would be like corralling a herd of cats ! ;-O

  5. Mirlen101

    Along these lines . I remember a low budget movie years before “The Matrix ” that had virtually the same plot ! They must have paid someone to use the plot , story line. It was that close ! I thought it was very interesting . Wish I knew it’s name ! ;-/ It didn’t have any big actors in it .Funny how people forget the original 😉
    That brings something up ! What if my copy becomes more popular than I am ;-O Maybe I’ll be the one to get erased ! ;-O

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