Russian Millionaire wants to upload our minds to computers - thoughts?

#2
How does he know what our minds are? Saying that (in enough detail) would be a major achievement in itself, and is a necessary prerequisite for his project.

Since I am almost certain that he does not know the needed detail at all, I conclude his project is purely wishful thinking, and doomed.
 
#3
I agree that the idea is ridiculous and impossible. Unfortunately, even if it was achieved it would not really cheat death. A person's brain is supposedly scanned at the molecular level of detail in order to duplicate it in a computer system, but the original person still dies eventually (or immediately because the scanning process is destructive). All that is achieved is creating a sort of duplicate or Doppelganger. The original person is still annihilated by physical death of the body and brain.
 
#5
I agree that the idea is ridiculous and impossible. Unfortunately, even if it was achieved it would not really cheat death. A person's brain is supposedly scanned at the molecular level of detail in order to duplicate it in a computer system, but the original person still dies eventually (or immediately because the scanning process is destructive). All that is achieved is creating a sort of duplicate or Doppelganger. The original person is still annihilated by physical death of the body and brain.
My initials thoughts too. It's the teleportation paradox all over again. I would think the original is still destined to power off; the consciousness wouldn't leap from my brain to the new system. It would be cloned rather than uploaded. The original would go its own way and so would the new clone.

But I think ideas like this are important to understanding consciousness. Learning its limits and how it functions.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#6
To be an upload rather than a copy - or at least to convince a significant number of people this was the case - one would probably need to preserve the critical physical components whether that means a the connection between soul and body or the sufficient physical aspects.

One possibility is a slow integration of the electrical currents in the brain, if such a thing is possible. Another is assume Orch-OR is true and transfer the necessary quantum level vibrations (as Hammeroff has suggested). Another possibility is preserving the (if it exists) EM field that the brain produces.

OTOH one doesn't have to be an immaterialist to doubt uploading possible - a critique of uploading from molecular biologist Athena Adreadis:

Ghost in the Shell: Why Our Brains Will Never Live in the Matrix

Theoretically speaking, how could we manage to live forever while remaining recognizably ourselves to us? One way is to ensure that the brain remains fully functional indefinitely. Another is to move the brain into a new and/or indestructible "container,” whether carbon, silicon, metal or a combination thereof. Not surprisingly, these notions have received extensive play in science fiction, from the messianic angst of The Matrix to Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs trilogy.

To give you the punch line up front, the first alternative may eventually become feasible but the second one is intrinsically impossible. Recall that a particular mind is an emergent property (an artifact, if you prefer the term) of its specific brain –- nothing more, but also nothing less. Unless the transfer of a mind retains the brain, there will be no continuity of consciousness. Regardless of what the post-transfer identity may think, the original mind with its associated brain and body will still die –- and be aware of the death process. Furthermore, the newly minted person/ality will start diverging from the original the moment it gains consciousness. This is an excellent way to leave a detailed memorial or a clone-like descendant, but not to become immortal.
 
#7
To be an upload rather than a copy - or at least to convince a significant number of people this was the case - one would probably need to preserve the critical physical components whether that means a the connection between soul and body or the sufficient physical aspects.

One possibility is a slow integration of the electrical currents in the brain, if such a thing is possible. Another is assume Orch-OR is true and transfer the necessary quantum level vibrations (as Hammeroff has suggested). Another possibility is preserving the (if it exists) EM field that the brain produces.

OTOH one doesn't have to be an immaterialist to doubt uploading possible - a critique of uploading from molecular biologist Athena Adreadis:

Ghost in the Shell: Why Our Brains Will Never Live in the Matrix
Thanks... Enjoyed the link.
 
#8
I agree that the idea is ridiculous and impossible. Unfortunately, even if it was achieved it would not really cheat death. A person's brain is supposedly scanned at the molecular level of detail in order to duplicate it in a computer system, but the original person still dies eventually (or immediately because the scanning process is destructive). All that is achieved is creating a sort of duplicate or Doppelganger. The original person is still annihilated by physical death of the body and brain.

Well, that depends on what you think happens when you die.
 
#10
I'm not going to go into the more esoteric or in depth ideas. But one question this raises is that of identity.

If a machine could be built to replicate the brain exactly, then presumably one could produce many such identical copies. Which then is claimed to 'be' the continuation of the person. Just one? Some? All?

My answer is 'none'. We have no knowledge of how to control or transfer anything from the human at the end of life. While the engineers are busily tinkering with their simulations, the person's consciousness may drift off in some other direction.
 
#13
Opening line:

Transhumanism is a materialistic religion that seeks to attain the comforts provided by faith through belief in technology as savior.
Is this such a dumb position? David Bailey (of this parish) has made the point that an alien race, with sufficient technological mastery, could have "designed" our universe, and at that point would be indistinguishable from god.
 
#17
It is amazing the extent to which neuro/AI enthusiasts bend the truth to fit their mythology, an example summarized here. Actually uploading knowledge from a brain and transferring it to a machine is as unreachable with current or foreseeable science as uploading knowledge to a brain. The kicker is that even if this could be done, it would still only amount to transferring data from one physical structure to another, not transferring consciousness.

According to a spectacularly misleading article in the Telegraph: Scientists discover how to ‘upload knowledge to your brain’


"Feeding knowledge directly into your brain, just like in sci-fi classic The Matrix, could soon take as much effort as falling asleep, scientists believe. Researchers claim to have developed a simulator which can feed information directly into a person’s brain and teach them new skills in a shorter amount of time…

Researchers from HRL Laboratories, based in California, studied the electric signals in the brain of a trained pilot and then fed the data into novice subjects as they learned to pilot an aeroplane in a realistic flight simulator… subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps improved their piloting abilities and learnt the task 33 per cent better than a placebo group."



Except… that’s not what happened at all.

It’s true that the researchers electrically stimulated some volunteers’ brains, using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). It’s true that the goal was to try and make the volunteers learn better, as described in the paper. But no-one was uploading anything – certainly not data recorded from ‘the electrical signals of a trained pilot’ which is not mentioned in the paper at all. That’s science fiction. Or rather, journalistic fiction.
In fact, the tDCS was intended to put the brain into a state such that it would learn faster – to somehow boost its natural neuroplasticity. When you think about it, this is no more Matrix-like than if you, say, drank a cup of coffee before studying for an exam. In one case the stimulation is electrical, in the other it’s chemical, but you don’t download knowledge in either case.
But it gets worse. The Telegraph reports that the tDCS was effective – it made people learn 33% better on a flight simulator task. Wow! But it didn’t. tDCS had no effect on mean performance on any of the five performance indicators on the flight sim task. The only significant result was that on some of the metrics, stimulation was associated with significantly reduced between-subject variance, i.e. it made people more similar to one another (but not better on average).
 
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