If you’re like me you are dying for the day you can upload your thinking-meat into a more resilient, and less rot prone, container. Of course like me you’re probably aware that dying is exactly what is likely to happen before that is possible. There are a few vocal Transhumaists such as Kurzweil who think such an achievement will be possible in the near-future, but frankly there is nothing to support that beyond blind optimism.
So given the option to upload your consciousness… would you?
Would it matter if this was a destructive process (kill the meat to make the metal)?
Would the new you still be You?
Lastly if the organic you survived the process would you still be the same person, and how long would it be until the two versions of you became distinctly different entities as they reacted to their differing experiences post-upload?
There is a great article on the challenges facing mind uploading over at the NYT, but to summarise “Your mind, in all its complexity, dies with you. And that’s it.”
I have a concern, a worry, a niggling question I can’t answer.
If we do ever contact an intergalactic species, how are we going to pass their Turing test? How do we display that we are sentient, aware in our own right, rather than just biochemical machines programmed to replicate? There isn’t a single human act I can think of that isn’t replicated by creatures we wouldn’t consider intelligent. Maybe that’s why we’ve been left alone, maybe we’re the galactic equivalent of Army Ants.
“Now that’s a particularly nasty species down there, better not land, it might get up in the landing gear.”
I’m tempted to say that music might save us. But if whatever we meet doesn’t use air vibrations as a means of communication, we are so screwed.
Comments more than welcome…
Now there’s a short story, the first meeting with an alien race, and the Muzak being piped in before the conference as a trance like-effect on the delegation. They become addicted, and humans become the aural-drug pushers to the galaxy. Chill to Bach, trip on AC/DC, overdose to Dub-Step.
Speaking of short stories, never forget They’re Made of Meat, by Terry Bisson.