Uploading the Mind – transferring consciousness
June 24, 2019 at 6:22 PM - Views: 78 #80014David the GnomeParticipant
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This is a concept fairly common in science fiction – (and more recently, in several types of fantasy novels – particularly a sub-genre called litrpg) the idea is basically this: to be able to move our being from our human bodies into others – or even into a digital system or world. This is a very complicated idea with way too many variables to cover in one post – but according to a number of experts in the fields of neurology and nanotech – this is very likely to be a possibility in the future. Theoretically, at least, it could accomplish the greatest leap humanity has ever sought – immortality, which raises more questions, both exciting and extremely disturbing. The question then, of what we are becomes essential. Are we our minds? Do our physical brains define the very essence of our being? What exactly is consciousness? What of the soul, or the… energy component of who and what we are.
I recently decided to look into these things and was somewhat astounded by what I found. There are some experts who suggest such a thing will never be possible, but most insist that it is – or at least will eventually be (if you’ve seen the show: Altered Carbon, this gives an idea of what could be possible). It could be a technology decades in the making – or centuries, depending on how quickly current technology develops and advances. The benefits of being able to transfer our consciousness, our very being, into either a different body (mechanical or biological) or into a digital type of existence… well, they are nearly limitless. Concerns like disease, aging, injury, paralysis, even death itself, could ultimately… well, no longer be concerns. What sort of beings would we be if not for our limited life spans and fear of death? That… is a difficult question to answer. I think though, that the results would be equally great and terrible.
Among the many concerns of such a concept is this: the wealthy currently control the playing field, as with most other things. Imagine a future in which the vast majority of human beings are like we are today – mortal – but the very wealthy are… not. Depending on if, when – and how this technology advances, it could offer freedom and hope – or a new type of slavery and despair. Without great social change, the latter is far more likely. A (possible) future in which oligarchs, drug lords, dictators and so on and so forth – have more control than has ever been even theoretically possible before. Empires, both physical and digital that could last for thousands of years – with a single control.
The implications of this kind of tech are mind boggling. More than mind boggling, I am really only scratching the surface here. I wanted to ask a couple questions of our members here though: What do you think? Can we? Should we? Is this an idea that exists only within science fiction – or that may very well be our future reality? If so, what are your greatest concerns regarding it?
For me, personally, the concern is this: our technology is developed and advanced by great minds and often by noble souls – unfortunately though, it is mostly owned and controlled by the kind of people who should not be in control of anything – the kind that seek power and wealth without end, utterly self serving and full of greed. There are a ridiculous number of examples to point to, but no where more so than the global oligarchy and their peons within the governments of our Nations.
It is my opinion, based on what little I know (which is based on an absurd number of articles I’ve read) that at some point this kind of tech will be a reality. Possibly even in my lifetime. I think that, if action is not taken by the masses to level the playing field in terms of economic equality, distribution of resources and so on…. then it may not just be our current lives and realities at risk… but far, far more. Not just the average human life span, but centuries, possibly even millenia of servitude as bad as or little better than slavery.
The tech of the current age is astounding, amazing – and looking to take great leaps and bounds forward very quickly. It is likely to happen whether we want it to or not – and groundbreaking, amazing discoveries or technologies could be discovered at any time.
This may be the time to start thinking about these concepts – and how we can alter the playing field. I fear that the world will shortly become even more dangerous than most currently imagine is possible.
June 24, 2019 at 6:41 PM #80019closeupreadyParticipant
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@ David the Gnome
Scientists can’t define what the mind is. The riskiest thing they’ll say is, “it’s more of a process than a thing.” LOL
It’s a fun fantasy to think about, and I love some of these litRPG books, but as far as I can tell, it’s no closer to reality than turning sand into water.
The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.
June 24, 2019 at 7:14 PM #80026David the GnomeParticipant
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A few articles for reference as to what is possible, interviews, etc. and a couple more:
I think it is more than just a fantasy at this point. Not a possibility or reality just yet – but the likelihood that it will be is strong. There is of course, an immense amount of research, editorials, articles and interviews on this subject, the common theme I seem to find though is that the most experienced experts in the various required fields.. seem to concur that this is not just possible, but perhaps even inevitable. I think that what can be accomplished is, in truth, limited only by imagination – and imagination really has no limitation. The sky is no limit…. we proved that with the moon landing. A single, even accidental breakthrough in medicine via penicillin – forever changed the reality of what was or was not possible in terms of health. A massive number of previously incurable conditions and infections suddenly became curable.
Consider that, in the last several decades, we have gone from the massive, clunky computers of the past that only a few people had – into a world in which there are hundreds of millions of individuals with smart phones, capable of things that, not too long ago, were not possible, theoretically or realistically. Both robotic and AI technologies are additional aspects of this.
I’m far from any kind of expert – but I do a whole heck of a lot of reading. These are questions that many of our greatest and most aware scientific minds are currently asking.
Of course, this is all mostly speculation. Who knows what the world will look like in 10, 20, 30, or even 50 years? Let alone 100 or 1000? Assuming humanity manages not to screw the pooch too badly.
If mind is more a process than a thing – consider that what we are using for our current conversation requires powerful processing units that were not possible a mere century ago.
June 24, 2019 at 7:17 PM #80028CharlesParticipant
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Ray Kurzweil, a well known inventor is a major proponent of the concept.
In 2005 he wrote the book The Singularity is Near
According to comments he made in 2017 he believes that “singularity” will be capable by 2045.
Ray Kurzweil, Google’s Director of Engineering, is a well-known futurist with a high-hitting track record for accurate predictions. Of his 147 predictions since the 1990s, Kurzweil claims an 86 percent accuracy rate. At the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, Kurzweil made yet another prediction: the technological singularity will happen sometime in the next 30 years.
In a communication to Futurism, Kurzweil states:
2029 is the consistent date I have predicted for when an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore achieve human levels of intelligence. I have set the date 2045 for the ‘Singularity’ which is when we will multiply our effective intelligence a billion fold by merging with the intelligence we have created.
“By 2029, computers will have human-level intelligence,” Kurzweil said in an interview with SXSW….
Bernie: "Not Me. Us"
June 24, 2019 at 7:35 PM #80032bobthedrummerParticipant
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Stranger things have been around for quite a while, much of the conceptual framework and “research” for such “transfers” is found in neuroscience and what was once laughed off as crazy conspiracy theories. The defunct website below is a good place for those interested in this subject.
All Power to The People
June 24, 2019 at 7:37 PM #80033jbnwParticipant
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Uploading the mind alone doesn’t seem like enough. I don’t think I’d be able to play my horn, enjoy a really good meal, or . . .
June 24, 2019 at 8:12 PM #80040NV WinoModerator
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I think it will happen… unless we blow ourselves up or go extinct first. Remember, cloning is in the works right now. Clone the body, import the knowledge/memories. Or, I’m reminded of the Star Trek episode where Kirk encountered the superior race, who were nothing but brains.
But, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
June 24, 2019 at 8:24 PM #80043CharlesParticipant
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Altered Carbon is great show BTW. Looking forward to season 2.
Computer and robotic ethicists will by very busy in the years to come.
The implications of Singularity and computers achieving human levels of intelligence as soon as 2029 will have major concerns. There’ll need to be huge debates as to how, why, when, and where the use of such technology is allowed.
Singularity would undoubtedly be reserved for only the elite of the elite to begin with. I’m not sure what to really think as it is still so far from my mind as to being a reality. I’m more at Andrew yang’s level where he wants us to prepare for the interim robotic and AI applications that will displace millions of jobs in the very near future. That alone seems like a daunting task.
Bernie: "Not Me. Us"
June 24, 2019 at 9:03 PM #80051xyzseParticipant
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You know… I like the idea, and I think there should be strides made towards this technology however, I also don’t want it at the same time.
My issue is, I like people, but antiquated point of views need to die.
One of the massive issues we are dealing with right now, is that certain folks who should already be gone and retired, keeps holding on to power. In many ways, they should have been relegated to a group of “Wise-men”, meant for advice, but without decision making power.
Another problem, is that since individuals with antiquated views on social issues, as well as methods on problem solving are here, they are increasingly unable to look at more options, and are stuck with vested interests. As such, they are one of the biggest obstacles in pushing forward reforms and the implementation of new technologies. Chances are, one of these folks will figure this out, use it for themselves, and keep it for themselves only.
So yes, I am quite interested in this, but also know that one should consider that the ones whose minds will get uploaded first are generally those who are both vicious and rich. Imagine these people up-top who vacuum wealth with no regard for the greater good, and not allowing it to circulate in the greater economy.
As is, due to these folks living far longer than ever before, they end up also trying to protect their own creating dynasties which this country has sought to avoid.
June 24, 2019 at 9:43 PM #80058retired liberalParticipant
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While we may have self-aware computers/machines someday, assuming we don’t nuke ourselves into radioactive dust first, we will never be able to transfer our minds into a machine. There is too much going on up there we don’t understand and the more we do understand our brains, the less likely to be able to do the transfer, because we will understand why not and why it can’t work.
As for the machines, we absolutely need to keep control of the KILL switch on anything anywhere near self-aware.
We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.
Both major political parties are special interest groups enabling each other for power and money, at the expense of the people they no longer properly serve…
Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.
June 25, 2019 at 2:07 AM #80141Babel 17Participant
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Imo Robert Silverberg nailed this concept in his SF novel To Live Again.
Fans of the genre will notice how Children of Dune also delves into the feel of having an uncontrollable personality grafted onto ones own (poor Alia!).
If you have the time, ignore that Wikpedia link and read it legally and free at OpenLibrary.org.
If that one is currently on loan, it’s not at the moment, there’s eight copies that are on loan that you can join the wait list for.
June 25, 2019 at 3:42 AM #80159eridaniParticipant
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I’m sorry Dave–I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
June 25, 2019 at 5:00 AM #80173Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
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no one can define consciousness let alone transfer it (imho)
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