This is very close to the starting premise of Greg Egan's Permutation City,
which suggests that since computation take place in increasingly arbitrary
ways, the digital basis of consciousness can be derived from pretty much any
physical substrate and hence all minds are generated by all things.
2008/11/1 Jason Resch <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> I've thought of an interesting modification to the original UDA argument
> which would suggest that one's consciousness is at both locations
> Since the UDA accepts digital mechanism as its first premise, then it is
> possible to instantiate a consciousness within a computer. Therefore
> instead of a physical teleportation from Brussels to Washington and Moscow
> instead we will have a digital transfer. This will allow the experimenter
> to have complete control over the input each mind receives
> and guarantee identical content of experience.
> A volunteer in Brussels has her brain frozen and scanned at the necessary
> substitution level and the results are loaded into a computer with the
> appropriate simulation software that can accurately model her brain's
> functions, therefore from her perspective, her consciousness continues
> onward from the time her brain was frozen.
> To implement the teleportation, the simulation in the computer in Brussels
> is paused, and a snapshot of the current state is sent over the Internet to
> two computers, one in Washington and the other in Moscow, each of these
> computers has the same simulation software and upon receipt, resume the
> simulation of the brain where it left off in Brussels.
> The question is: if the sensory input is pre-fabricated and identical in
> both computers, are there two minds, or simply two implementations of the
> same mind? If you believe there are two minds, consider the following
> additional steps.
> Since it was established that the experimenter can "teleport" minds by
> pausing a simulation, sending their content over the network, and resuming
> it elsewhere, then what happens if the experimenter wants to teleport the
> Washington mind to Moscow, and the Moscow mind to Washington? Assume that
> both computers were preset to run the simulation for X number of CPU
> instructions before pausing the simulation and transferring the state, such
> that the states are exactly the same when each is sent. Further assume that
> the harddrive space on the computers is limited, so as they receive the
> brain state, they overwrite their original save.
> During this procedure, the computers in Washington and Moscow each receive
> the other's brain state, however, it is exactly the same as the one they
> already had. Therefore the overwriting is a no-op. After the transfer is
> complete, each computer resumes the simulation. Now is Moscow's mind on the
> Washington computer? If so how did a no-op (overwriting the file with the
> same bits) accomplish the teleportation, if not, what makes the
> teleportation fail?
> What happens in the case where the Washington and Moscow computer shutdown
> for some period of time (5 minutes for example) and then ONLY the Moscow
> computer is turned back on. Did a "virtual" teleportation occur between
> Washington and Moscow to allow the consciousness that was in Washington to
> continue? If not, then would a physical transfer of the data from
> Washington to Moscow have saved its consciousness, and if so, what happened
> to the Moscow consciousness?
> The above thought experiments led me to conclude that both computers
> implement the same mind and are the same mind, despite
> having different explanations. Turning off one of the computers in either
> Washington or Moscow, therefore, does not end the consciousness. Per the
> conclusions put forth in the UDA, the volunteer in Brussels would say she
> has a 1/2 chance of ending up in the Washington computer and 1/2 chance of
> ending up in the Moscow computer. Therefore, if you told her "15 minutes
> after the teleportation the computer in Washington will be shut off forever"
> she should expect a 1/2 chance of dying. This seems to be a contradiction,
> as there is a "virtual" teleportation from Washington to Moscow which saves
> the consciousness in Washington from oblivion. So her chances of death are
> 0, not 1/2, which is only explainable if we assume that her mind is
> subjectively in both places after the first teleport from Brussels, and so
> long as a simulation of her mind exists somewhere she will never die.
> On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 12:36 PM, Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>> On 30 Oct 2008, at 23:58, Brent Meeker wrote:
>> > Kory Heath wrote:
>> >> On Oct 30, 2008, at 10:06 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> >>> But ok, perhaps I have make some progress lately, and I will answer
>> >>> that the probability remains invariant for that too. The probability
>> >>> remains equal to 1/2 in the imperfect duplication (assuming 1/2 is
>> >>> the perfect one).
>> >>> But of course you have to accept that if a simple teleportation is
>> >>> done imperfectly (without duplication), but without killing you, the
>> >>> probability of surviving is one (despite you get blind, deaf,
>> >>> amnesic and paralytic, for example).
>> >> This is the position I was arguing against in my earlier post. Let's
>> >> stick with simple teleportation, without duplication. If the data is
>> >> scrambled so much that the thing that ends up on the other side is
>> >> just a puddle of goo, then my probability of surviving the
>> >> teleportation is 0%. It's functionally equivalent to just killing me
>> >> at the first teleporter and not sending any data over. (Do you
>> >> agree?)
>> >> If the probability of me surviving when an imperfect copy is made is
>> >> still 100%, then there's some point of "imperfection" at which my
>> >> chances of surviving suddenly shift from 100% to 0%. This change will
>> >> be marked by (say) the difference of a single molecule (or bit of
>> >> data, or whatever). I don't see how that can be correct.
>> >> -- Kory
>> > But there are many ways for what comes out of the teleporter to
>> > *not* be you.
>> > Most of them are "puddles of goo", but some of them are copies of
>> > Bruno or
>> > imperfect copies of me or people who never existed before.
>> > Suppose it's a copy of you as you were last year - is it 100% you.
>> > It's not
>> > 100% the you that went into the machine - but if you're the same
>> > person you were
>> > last year it's 100% you. Of course the point is that you're not the
>> > same "you"
>> > from moment to moment in the sense of strict identity of information
>> > down to the
>> > molecular level, or even the neuron level.
>> Yes. And if a teleporter transforms me into a copy of me as I was last
>> year, I will say that although I have 100% survive, I suffer from an
>> amnesia bearing on one year of experience, and indeed I will have to
>> relearn what "I" have done and update myself accordingly.
>> I can complain about the doctor or about the teleportation company of
>> course, like someone who did survive a train accident, with injuries,
>> perhaps amnesia, can complain about the railroad society (if he
>> remembers the name).
>> --Bruno Marchal
>> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/ <http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/%7Emarchal/>
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