Identity crisis: Artificial intelligence and the flawed logic of ‘mind uploading’

INDONESIAKININEWS.COM -  Many “futurists” insist that technological advances will enable humans to “upload our minds” into computer systems,...

Many “futurists” insist that technological advances will enable humans to “upload our minds” into computer systems, thereby allowing us to “live forever,” defying our biological limitations. 

This concept is deeply flawed but has gained popular attention in recent years. So much so, Amazon has a TV series based on the premise called Upload, not to mention countless other pop-culture references. 

As background, the concept of “mind uploading” is rooted in the very reasonable premise that the human brain, like any system that obeys the laws of physics, can be modeled in software if sufficient computing power is devoted to the problem. 

To be clear, mind-uploading is not about modeling human brains in the abstract, but modeling specific people, their unique minds represented in such detail that every neuron is accurately simulated, including the massive tangle of connections among them.

Is it even possible?

Of course, this is an extremely challenging task. There are more than 85 billion neurons in your brain, each with thousands of links to other neurons. 

That’s around 100 trillion connections – a thousand times more than the number of stars in the Milky Way. It’s those trillions of connections that make you who you are – your personality and memories, your fears and skills and ambitions. 

To reproduce your mind in software (sometimes called an infomorph), a computer system would need to precisely simulate the vast majority of those connections down to their most subtle interactions.  

That level of modeling will not be done by hand. Futurists who believe in “mind uploading” often envision an automated process using some kind of super-charged MRI machine, that captures the biology down to the molecular level. 

They further envision the use of artificial intelligence (AI) software to turn that detailed scan into a simulation of each unique neuron and its thousands of connections to other neurons.   

This is a wildly challenging task but is theoretically feasible. It is also theoretically feasible that large numbers of simulated minds could coexist inside a rich simulation of physical reality. Still, the notion that “mind uploading” will enable any biological human to extend their life is deeply flawed.  

The real issue is that the key words in that prior sentence are “their life.” While it is theoretically possible — with sufficient technological advances — to copy and reproduce the form and function of a unique human brain within a computer simulation, that human who was copied would still exist in their biological body. Their brain would still be safely housed inside their skull.

The person that would exist in the computer would be a copy. 

In other words, if you signed yourself up for “mind uploading,” you would not feel like you suddenly transported yourself into a computer simulation. In fact, you would not feel anything at all. The brain copying process could have happened without your knowledge while you were asleep or sedated, and you wouldn’t have the slightest inkling that a reproduction of your mind existed in a simulation.  

Mind uploading and the digital twin — you, but not really YOU

We can think of the copy as a digital clone or twin, but it would not be you. It would be a mental copy of you, including all of your memories up to the moment your brain was scanned. But from that time on, the copy would generate its own memories inside whatever simulated world it was installed in. 

It might interact with other simulated people, learning new things and having new experiences. Or maybe it would interact with the physical world through robotic interfaces. At the same time, the biological you would be generating new memories and skills and knowledge.  

In other words, your biological mind and your digital copy would immediately begin to diverge. They would be identical for one instant and then grow apart. Your skills and abilities would diverge. 

Your knowledge and understanding would diverge. Your personality and objectives would diverge. After a few years, there would be significant differences. And yet, both versions would “feel like the real you.” 

This is a critical point – the copy would have the same feelings of individuality that you have. It would feel just as entitled to own its own property and earn its own wages and make its own decisions.

In fact, you and the copy would likely have a dispute as to who gets to use your name, as you would both feel like you had used it your entire life.

Source: venturabeat


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IndonesiaKiniNews.com: Identity crisis: Artificial intelligence and the flawed logic of ‘mind uploading’
Identity crisis: Artificial intelligence and the flawed logic of ‘mind uploading’
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