Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies






The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.


Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Bipolar Disorder Is Like Having Two Serious Illnesses at Once

Nicotine’s Cognitive Benefits – Six Ways to Ingest It

Practopoiesis - a Theory on How Life Organizes, including the Mind

International Longevity Day - October 1, 2015

Digital Stroke

What is the Future of Your Mind?


ieet books

The End of the Beginning: Life, Society and Economy on the Brink of the Singularity
Author
Ben Goertzel


comments

Giulio Prisco on 'Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?' (Aug 31, 2015)

rms on 'Smart Regulation For Smart Drugs' (Aug 31, 2015)

spud100 on 'Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?' (Aug 30, 2015)

SHaGGGz on 'Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?' (Aug 30, 2015)

Valkyrie Ice on 'Transhumanism will be a Victorious Revolution (my modest predictions)' (Aug 28, 2015)

Laurence Hitterdale on 'Do Extraterrestials Philosophize?' (Aug 28, 2015)

Gear0Mentation on 'Transhumanism will be a Victorious Revolution (my modest predictions)' (Aug 28, 2015)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


8 Craziest Mega-Engineering Projects We Could Use to Rework the Earth
Aug 13, 2015
(5831) Hits
(0) Comments

The Social Fabric of a Technically Advanced Society
Aug 1, 2015
(5563) Hits
(3) Comments

Free Will, Buddhism, and Mindfulness Meditation - interview with Terry Hyland
Aug 8, 2015
(5464) Hits
(0) Comments

Starting from Scratch: The Basic Building Blocks of AI
Aug 23, 2015
(5310) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Rights > Neuroethics > Life > Enablement > Innovation > Vision > Futurism > Technoprogressivism > Virtuality > Contributors > Jønathan Lyons

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2901) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


To Mindfile-Me, or Not to Mindfile-Me?


Jønathan Lyons
By Jønathan Lyons
Ethical Technology

Posted: Sep 7, 2012

Being a transhumanist parent has some unique challenges, for example…what if I die before I’m able to join the uploaded? Should I contact “LifeNaut” immediately?

I wrote about that a bit in an earlier essay, wherein I had an imaginary conversation with my infant son on my plans for not dying. One of the contingency plans for one’s mortality that anyone can begin to embrace today, right now, at no cost, is the creation of a mindfile-based avatar. A mindfile can be one of several technologies, but the one I’m talking about is a technological doppelgänger one oneself that is filled with information about the original person from such sources as photos, videos, audio recordings, biographical information, and so on.

(A note: As often happens when I discuss issues from off the beaten technological path with my wife, I begin with one position, and end in an entirely different place. This subject was no exception. So if you’d like to skip my concerns and hesitations to see what I’ve actually decided, skip down to the heading, “And Then I Talked it Over With My Wife.”)

I found myself skeptical of this particular mindfile process as a means of living on; it seems clear to me that the being who would come after me, whether technological, biological, or some combination thereof, while possessing a great deal of knowledge of my life, what I’d done and sounded like and how I moved, would have no sense of continuity with me. Instead of me living on in any literal sense, the I who I am would die, and the new being, provided ze is ever created and functions as expected, would not be me; ze would be more like a combination of clone and a person with multiple doctorates on the subject of me.

In the SyFy Channel’s Battlestar Galactica (BSG) spinoff, Caprica, which is set 50 years before BSG, a human character named Zoe Graystone creates just such a super-avatar of herself. The new Zoe is dubbed Zoe-A; ze lives on continues zir existence in the series’ VR world after Zoe is killed. After Zoe’s death, her father, Daniel, meets Zoe-A:

Video: Daniel meets Zoe-A - his daughter’s super-avatar - in the SyFy TV series “Caprica”

Zoe-A knows that ze isn’t the original Zoe, but that ze thinks of zirself as Zoe. Ze even greets Daniel with “Hi daddy.” This super-avatar also fires off a long list of sources of personal information that the original has poured into zir: medical scans, DNA profiles, psych evaluations, school records, e-mails, CAT scans, genetic typing, synaptic records, security videos, traffic tickets, and so on.

It’s an impressive, compelling performance on the part of Zoe-A. So I’ve been wondering: As I make my plans for not dying (or not permanently, anyway - not if I can help it), and planning for what takes place if I should manage to die before I’m able to join the uploaded, what’s my Plan B for me, my wife, and and my son? What options do I have?

If I cannot be here, do I want some sort of next best thing to remain for my loved ones? Do I create a mindfile avatar to leave behind on this mortal coil?

Lifenaut is the group that offers the mindfile service I mentioned - the one that I know of. They have a committed following of people who are creating, maintaining, and updating their own mindfiles. Here’s what Lifenaut has to say about their mindfile process, from their Website:

How it Works


Upload biographical pictures, videos, and documents to a digital archive that will be preserved for generations.


Organize through geo mapping, timelines, and tagging, a rich portrait of information about you. The places you’ve been and the people you’‘


And Then I Talked it Over With My Wife

What if you don’t think of it as a backup of you? she said. What if you think of it as a sort of multimedia scrapbook about you?

Huh.

This I had not considered, and I had to pause to give it some thought. It’s a brilliant turn on the mindfile avatar, actually; me, I was stuck thinking of it in the terms that it had been presented to me. Which is one of the ways that such discussions with my partner can be deeply rewarding: She can bring an intelligent and unique point of view to an issue.

A multimedia scrapbook? Filled with recordings of my voice, my c.v., my written works, my history? Now that struck me as something I could get on-board with - something amazing that I could create for my son and my wife as a keepsake. This type of mindfile avatar would not be me, as far as I’m concerned, but a virtual remembrance. An online place to experience some of what I am (or was) and have done.

So I’m sold. I plan to start creating a mindfile avatar soon, and to add to it here and there, now and then, as time and inclination allow. With luck, I’ll never have to use it as a multimedia memorial.


Jønathan Lyons is an affiliate scholar for the IEET. He is also a transhumanist parent, an essayist, and an author of experimental fiction both long and short. He lives in central Pennsylvania and teaches at Bucknell University. His fiction publications include Minnows: A Shattered Novel.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2902) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Turning off, Turning On (Science Fiction)

Previous entry: IEET Fellows Selinger and Blackford quoted in NYTimes

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376