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Old 12-12-2009, 01:17 AM   #41
mindstalk
 
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
It seems straightforward to me. The current you falling off the cliff faces death: The final termination of its consciousness. But it has an heir that may carry on for it. It's kind of like leaving the family business to your son. . . .

Bill Stoddard
Hmm, I guess that works. The backup is qualitatively more similar and reliable than a normal human heir, but for the purpose of tracking self-awareness loops, it's "I am dying, someone similar to me will step in" in both cases.

Oooh. A difference is on the other end. A son thinks "my father got himself killed", but if the restored backup is notified right away of what happened, it may think "I got myself killed." Technically inaccurate, yet natural. Father and son are different people, but the dead 'me' is everything I am and more, apart from the few moments I've had since restoration.

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I think you might be selling LAIs short. IMHO, an LAI may not have as deep a worldview (world-simulation?) as an SAI, but it's a qualitative difference more than a quantitative one. An LAI is the equivalent of a human being with a sheltered upbringing, and possibly a moderate learning disability.

Remember, unlike an NAI, an LAI can buy off most of its disadvantages. That tells me they can change their worldview.
Well, I think the argument works, whether you want to draw the line below SAI, LAI, or NAI. Point is, you argue with something to (a) learn new information from it, (b) change its mind, (c) change the mind of spectators, (d) learn from the exercise of expressing your thoughts, or (e) sheer entertainment. The absence of "anyone at home" or more specifically, an entity that can change its mind (i.e. learn from you) is certainly a valid argument for breaking off, though such absence needn't require breaking off if other reasons are at play.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:14 AM   #42
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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Hmm, I guess that works. The backup is qualitatively more similar and reliable than a normal human heir, but for the purpose of tracking self-awareness loops, it's "I am dying, someone similar to me will step in" in both cases.

Oooh. A difference is on the other end. A son thinks "my father got himself killed", but if the restored backup is notified right away of what happened, it may think "I got myself killed." Technically inaccurate, yet natural. Father and son are different people, but the dead 'me' is everything I am and more, apart from the few moments I've had since restoration.
That's perfectly true, and it may explain why there are people who think that uploading is a way to survive the terminal failure of their organic bodies and brains. The upload would remember being them, and it might seem natural to it to talk about "what I did when I was organic." Of course, if it were my upload, and had my memories, then it would believe that it was a copy of someone who had died. It might even grieve for me. I wonder if an uploading facility would need to retain grief counselors, and if it would understand why they might be needed?

Hmmm. You know about the transgender phenomenon, where some people in male bodies feel totally convinced that those bodies are anatomically wrong and that they really are female, and vice versa the other way? I wonder if there might be people who had a deep inner conviction that a digital ghost would be them, and others who had a deep inner conviction that a digital ghost was only a reproduction of them and that uploading was a form of suicide? For the latter, uploading might be contraindicated, in a way analogous to the contraindication of transsexual surgery for, say, transvestites who don't really have sex/gender incompatibility: "Believing what you do, you would be profoundly unhappy after uploading, in a way that we can't repair."

Hmmm. What if it were possible to establish real-time interaction between an organic brain and a digital ghost emulation of it? To guarantee a unique linkage, you might use quantum communication. Perhaps a quantum channel could be what was needed to enable the actual locus of self-awareness to migrate.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:59 AM   #43
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

I would accept removal and replacement of computer parts of my brain when under nanostasis, as long as I am awakened after each procedure. The me that exists after the last organic bit is replaced would be the same as I am now, in my opinion.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:26 AM   #44
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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I would accept removal and replacement of computer parts of my brain when under nanostasis, as long as I am awakened after each procedure. The me that exists after the last organic bit is replaced would be the same as I am now, in my opinion.
That sort of progressive brain peel ought to be doable in TS, but the repeated nanostasis would make it risky and (more) horrendously expensive. Maybe by 2105 or so....
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:01 AM   #45
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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That sort of progressive brain peel ought to be doable in TS, but the repeated nanostasis would make it risky and (more) horrendously expensive. Maybe by 2105 or so....
The Singularity Is Near in fact describes that sort of process. And if it were actually a situation where the digital brain emulation was processing neural data in real time, and feeding them back to the next layer down in the neural columns, so that the brain and the emulation were functioning as an integrated system, I might buy it as a legitimate handoff that preserved numerical identity and migrated the same consciousness from organic to digital. The orthodox THS process isn't the same thing.

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Old 12-13-2009, 01:26 PM   #46
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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It seems straightforward to me. The current you falling off the cliff faces death: The final termination of its consciousness. But it has an heir that may carry on for it. It's kind of like leaving the family business to your son. . . .
This seems straightforward to me as well. Which is why it makes perfect sense to me that 5th wave citizens afford Ghosts the same legal identity as the original and consider SAIs to be the same individual when they copy themselves from shell to shell. I still really don't understand the argument that this legal fiction is implausible; can someone (Flyndaran?) who finds it so please explain why?

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Furthermore, when the backup is activated it will have no awareness of having escaped danger. As a means of escaping death, backup mindscans are not even good psychology, let alone good metaphysics.
In THS though, a ghost must be uploaded after (or during) one's death. A low-res scan taken while one is alive produces a shadow which is considered to be merely a simulation of the original. It seems to me that a ghost has as least as much a chance of remembering their death as anyone who has suffered a traumatic injury.

A former colleague of mine suffered a traumatic brain injury a number of years ago. As a result he lost the ability to retain long term memories and cannot recall anything after a half hour or so before the incident (a similar injury is depicted in the film 50 First Dates). Such injuries are apparently not uncommon and many people who have suffered trauma are unable to remember the incident itself. If a continuity of memory is required for identity is my former brother in arms the same person that he was before the trauma? For that matter was my maternal grandmother the same person she was before the dementia completely destroyed her memories?
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I wouldn't expect many people to use them unless they are very cheap.
The 5th wave is very wealthy, and uploading seems to be cheap and easily obtained.

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The specific clash here is between two concepts of "identity" with different definitions: qualitative identity and numerical identity.
Xoxing makes this issue particularly apparent (which is probably why it generally illegal). If multiple copies of the same infomorph are running concurrently then it becomes pretty clear that they share qualitative identities (at least until they diverge) but are not numerically the same individual.

It's interesting to me that SAIs (and informorphs in general) seem to generally accept this. They seem to be quite happy with deleting themselves when they "move" from shell to shell.
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With an LAI,
...
Ultimately I would exhaust its stored information and have nothing more to learn from it.
There are still a lot of reasons to argue with an LAI:
  • It's capable of accessing and processing information much faster than you are, so arguing with it may be a very good intuitive way to do research.
  • It can be used to help improve your own arguments. I think it might be common to instruct one's VI to act as a devil's advocate when preparing for a debate or merely wishing to improve oneself without embarrassment.
  • It could be entertaining. People have sex with VR created by their VIs, so virtual debates for fun or companionship isn't very far fetched.

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Remember, unlike an NAI, an LAI can buy off most of its disadvantages. That tells me they can change their worldview.
Can it and still remain an LAI? I'd think that an LAI that buys off it's disadvantages has become a emergent SAI.
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That doesn't mean a dog has a worldview.
It doesn't mean a dog doesn't have a worldview either. Dogs definitely have an internal model of how they relate to different individuals whom they recognize and to their environment. They are capable of taking actions in order to produce an expected outcome. How is that not at least a rudimentary worldview? If it isn't I'm not sure you could demonstrate that humans have a worldview either.
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:57 PM   #47
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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I still really don't understand the argument that this legal fiction is implausible; can someone (Flyndaran?) who finds it so please explain why?
a) Logic. Uploading may be destructive today, but what about tomorrow when it is no longer ? Do we then have the same person twice ?

b) Greed. Everybody who hopes to ever inherit anything and every state that charges inheritance tax has an interest in treating it as death, plus the creation of somebody new.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:20 PM   #48
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Bill, would it be wholly inaccurate to say that ghosting tech makes it possible for a person to become a Platonic ideal of themself, from which variously-divergent instances of that ideal could be derived (and to which they could be compared)?

You suggested before that someone whose viewpoint terminates due to death and is replaced by a previously-uploaded copy does something similar to leaving a family business to an heir. I think this is a poor analogy. Sons and daughters are not really so much like their parents. You have no way of knowing that your offspring would run the business the way you have. But a ghost has your values, your work ethic, your business sense, your experience, and so forth. Assuming it's not tampered with - and let's not muddy these waters with that possibility - it can be trusted to do what you would do, because the unique combination of traits that define you can be recorded, stored, and reinstanced.
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:10 PM   #49
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
A former colleague of mine suffered a traumatic brain injury a number of years ago. As a result he lost the ability to retain long term memories and cannot recall anything after a half hour or so before the incident (a similar injury is depicted in the film 50 First Dates). Such injuries are apparently not uncommon and many people who have suffered trauma are unable to remember the incident itself. If a continuity of memory is required for identity is my former brother in arms the same person that he was before the trauma? For that matter was my maternal grandmother the same person she was before the dementia completely destroyed her memories?
I visited my grandmother on occasion after her dementia set in, it was sad to see the shell of the body of a person I loved, but I knew she had been dead for years before her body finally passed away.

Traumatic brain injuries, strokes, dementia, etc., all kill the identity of the person, even if the fact the body is still animated makes it hard for us to mourn and move on.



As for why TS is a silly genre, it's basically a high fantasy magic setting where instead of mana, psionics or gods there's "technology" to explain away the magic, but what makes it truly silly is that it's in denial about being high fantasy...
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:31 PM   #50
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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Traumatic brain injuries, strokes, dementia, etc., all kill the identity of the person, even if the fact the body is still animated makes it hard for us to mourn and move on.
What happens when people (as I understand that this Marine was expected to eventually) recover? If is the person whose brain has healed the same as the one that suffered the trauma?

I personally don't presume to know. I do think that our sense of self is much more illusionary than we care to admit.
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