Uploading - Introduction

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Cris, Nov 9, 2002.

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  1. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    This thread is a copy of the original thread that introduced the forum but with only a couple of relevant posts. I am re-introducing the topic again because in its early history here it was heavily sabotaged. I think there are more members here now that have a more open mind to these ideas. Also I'll be more ruthless towards unwanted and irrelvent posts.

    Introduction to Mind Uploading.

    The increasing power of computing will soon enable machines to have intelligence equal and superior to humans. The thunderous progress of technology will make these events inevitable rather than just science fiction fantasies. Most people currently do not seem to realize the rapidly increasing pace of these technological changes. Others who can visualize this near future see both serious dangers as well as incredible opportunities.

    This forum attempts to explore how humans can benefit from this massive increase in computing power that is so close, and how humans can survive without being left behind by superior thinking machines. The intention of this forum is to facilitate debate and discussion of specific aspects of this inevitable future, both good and bad.

    To be able to compete with increasingly superior thinking machines we must either dramatically increase our biological brainpower, or use the same technology of the machines. The chances of a sudden increase in biological brainpower are near to zero so we have little choice but to use the technology that we have and are creating.

    The target of this conclusion must be the ability to transfer the biological brain to a computer-based substrate retaining all aspects of the original human brain. Once such a transition has been accomplished then there will be opportunities for upgrades both in terms of processing power and memory, or in other words the same advantages that will be available to AI machines.

    This transition process has been termed ‘uploading’ and those humans that undergo such a process are being described as posthuman.

    To achieve the ability of uploading a great deal of fundamental research must be achieved both in Neuroscience and Whole Brain Emulation. Work has already begun on this project and a description of the progress and news can be found at http://www.minduploading.org/ . The site contains links to other related sites and mailing lists.

    For a good overview of minduploading and MURG (Mind Uploading Research Group) try - http://www.ibiblio.org/jstrout/uploading/

    For some views of two leading scientists who have inspired much of this research see these links –

    Nick Bostrom (Yale University) http://www.nickbostrom.com/

    Hans Moravac (Robotics Institute
    Carnegie Mellon University) http://transhumanist.com/volume1/moravec.htm

    You will doubtless see references to Transhumanism, which is seen as an ‘umbrella’ philosophical view of both uploading and other posthuman expectations. To find out more on Transhumanism see this link - http://www.transhumanism.com/

    So feel free to voice your opinions and perhaps contribute to the research.

    Have fun and enjoy the future whoever or whatever you become.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2002
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  3. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Life as an Upload
    Creating the Uploadable bitmap.

    This requires that the brain of the volunteer is scanned both for neural patterns and other chemical and hormonal messaging data, e.g. everything that determines how a brain functions. This information is recorded in a digital form. Primary issues seen at this time are the scanning mechanisms that will be used. To be able to obtain the resolution required means that the brain would have to be sliced very finely and examined with powerful electron microscopes or equivalent. We don’t have quite the right degree of power yet for the required resolution. This is an independent project. The obvious issue is that the volunteer is clearly dead when the process begins and if the process fails for any reason then recovery is unlikely.

    There is one advantage to having a dead volunteer in that there can be no overlap between human and posthuman existence, one is either one or the other. On the other hand how does one proceed to achieve the death of the human in the first place? Issues of ethics, euthanasia will be paramount. Of course if the volunteer died from other causes, disease, accident or otherwise then there would not be a problem. Uploading from a volunteer who had been cryogenically vitrified would be ideal in that the vitrification process is likely to be the perfect way to prepare a brain for the slicing type of scan.

    Other scanning procedures are being considered that are non-destructive, but these seem some way off. The problem here is that after the scanning process and a complete upload then the person would exist as both a human and posthuman. Questions then arise as to what is meant by identity, or does the volunteer then commit some form of acceptable suicide. These are all interesting issues worthy or extensive debate.

    Having disposed of the biological human volunteer we now have a digital map of an uploadable brain. What next?


    As a posthuman you will exist as a bitmap. This pattern can be uploaded into a suitable computer with appropriate software. Depending on your optional peripheral attachments you will be able to either resume life in an aesthetically pleasing android style shell, or choose a life connected to a matrix style virtual world. It is assumed that the android style will the most common as this will be closer to the previous human form and will aid in the psychological transition process. But there are numerous other very imaginative choices that again leave room for significant debate.

    There are a number of assumptions being made here concerning size and portability. The first is that the computer hardware will be small, probably smaller than the replaced human brain. Nick Bostrom in one of his articles envisions a processing unit the size of a sugar cube. Remember a great deal of the human brain is dedicated to blood vessels, fatty tissue, and other supporting biological tissue. None of those space-absorbing items will be required. The other requirement will be power. Batteries of some sort will be required and although batteries of today may well be adequate it must be assumed that in 20 to 50 years time there will be progress in battery design. This is not seen as a significant issue.

    As an android style posthuman you will have the identity you once had as a human and will possess all the same emotions and feelings that were familiar to you. There will of course be some significant differences: You will not require air to breathe, you will not need to eat or drink, you will not need to urinate or defecate, you will not be subject to attacks by airborne viruses or bacteria, you cannot become ill or contract any diseases, you will have the potential for augmented vision, hearing, touch, as well as infrared and ultraviolet vision, etc. Pleasure sensors can be adapted and magnified as desired. The equivalent of sexual pleasure could be as powerful as you could withstand. Since you would have a limitless lifespan there would be no social or evolutionary requirement to procreate. The list goes on and again leaves room for extensive imaginative discussions and debate.

    Your life can continue much as did when you were human, the same job if you wish, or you could perhaps consider tasks that were considered too risky as a human. Providing that you take regular backups of your bitmapped brain then any serious damage you encounter to your processor resulting in loss of processing integrity could be repaired and the most recent backup restored. You would be in essence immortal, but you must remember to take backups and remember to tell someone where you put them. However, the costs of replacement android shell parts is likely to be expensive so it would not be wise to take too many risks unless you could afford it.

    Have fun
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