I’ll be speaking at the Singularity Summit AU this Sunday afternoon, on the topic “Survival Beyond the Flesh” - which relates to the prospect of “uploading” rather than to anything of a more otherworldly or spiritual kind.
I agree with everything you just argued, indeed, I’ve attempted to make the same arguments repeatedly. I feel it’s tragic that transhumanism and singularity studies has become so strongly fixated on destructive brain uploading that all other visions are effectively crushed out of existence. =(
The underlying issue seems to be “do you believe in pattern identity theory?”. If you answer yes, you get to be a transhumanist. If you answer no, then you are immediately branded a reactionary luddite who deserves to be suriptitiously uploaded into a simulation of your life as it is so that most of your physical mass can be converted into computronium. I have met people who actually advocate exactly that. =(
Posted by Mark Gubrud on 09/13 at 06:12 PM
Here’s the short answer:
Typical scenario: A scanner/disassembler machine cuts up your brain into little bits, recovering data on the interconnection of neurons, synaptic strengths, and so on. A huge data file.
Next step: The data file is used to program a supercomputer to run a simulation of your brain. Ergo, you wake up, now free of the mortal body.
Okay, so what if the data file is used to program a second computer? Do you wake up again?
What if one copy is given a billion bucks and can do whatever it wants while the other is subjected to hideous tortures? Let’s say you know this is going to happen. Do you bet on which one you’ll be?
I mean, come on, this is obvious nonsense.
If your brain is cut up into little bits, you are dead.
If nanobots stealthily replace your neurons one at a time, you are dead. You might not know it, but neither do the other dead people.
Unless you animate these scenarios with voodoo-transferred souls, they do not constitute a way to escape the Reaper and transcend to superhuman existence. They would be, for us, just another route to nonexistence.
For further discussion, see http://futurisms.thenewatlantis.com/2010/06/why-transhumanism-wont-work.html