A Few Items

There’s an ongoing uploading debate in the comments with Aleksei Riikonen, Mark Gubrud, Giulio Prisco, myself, and others. The topic of uploading is the gift that keeps on giving — the dead horse that can sustain an unlimited beating.

There is a new open letter on brain preservationsign the petition! Also, there will be workshops on uploading after the Singularity Summit 2010 this August in San Francisco. A big congrats to Randal Koene, Ken Hayworth, Suzanne Gildert, Anders Sandberg, and everyone else taking the initiative to move forward on this.

One last thing: ghost hunting equipment. Harness the power of ghosts, take over the world.

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Why Arguments Against Mind Uploading Don’t Work — Constant Neural Molecular Turnover

As always, there’s been some nice activity over at anti-transhumanism central, The New Atlantis Futurisms blog. Most recently is a post “Why Transhumanism Won’t Work”, which is as provocatively named as my recent post “Transhumanism Has Already Won”. The post, a guest post by Mark Gubrud, is more of a screed against mind uploading than against transhumanism in general, however Gubrud claims that “transhumanism itself is uploading writ large.” Basically, Gubrud calls attention to a talk that will be given by a philosophy professor against mind uploading at the upcoming H+ conference at Harvard. The essence of the argument is that advocates of mind uploading are dualists because they speak of a “pattern” that is really a “soul” which is postulated to be transferable across substrates. (It’s ironic that Gubrud makes a guest post arguing against the soul on a site funded by “Washington, D.C.’s premier institute dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy.” It shows that some modern Christians are willing to be pragmatic about …

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AGI vs. Whole Brain Emulation — Give Me Your Probability Distributions and Statements

There is still a great amount of disagreement in the community over whether uploads or AGI are more likely to occur first. I would like to solicit probability distributions and statements from interested parties on the relative likelihood of either route reaching human-equivalent intelligence first. Please send your probability distribution values, including mean and standard deviations, to michaelanissimov at g mail dot com, coupled with a well-written, well-edited statement of 400 or more words, and a short official bio and link to your CV (if applicable). Please include at least 3-5 citations in your argument, and please make it as academic as possible. The final results will be published on a web page at AcceleratingFuture.com, and may make it into a journal if the results are good enough.

The operating definition of intelligence to be used during this exercise is that given by Shane Legg in his PhD thesis Machine Superintelligence:

Intelligence measures an agent’s ability to achieve goals in a wide range of environments.

Good luck! By the power of Aumann, may our probability estimates …

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What are the Benefits of Mind Uploading?

Universal mind uploading, or universal uploading for short, is the concept, by no means original to me, that the technology of mind uploading will eventually become universally adopted by all who can afford it, similar to the adoption of modern agriculture, hygiene, or living in houses. The concept is rather infrequently discussed, due to a combination of 1) its supposedly speculative nature and 2) its “far future” time frame.

Before I explore the idea, let me give a quick description of what mind uploading is and why the two roadblocks to its discussion are invalid. Mind uploading would involve simulating a human brain in a computer in enough detail that the “simulation” becomes, for all practical purposes, a perfect copy and experiences consciousness, just like protein-based human minds. If functionalism is true, like many cognitive scientists and philosophers correctly believe, then all the features of human consciousness that we know and love — including all our memories, personality, and sexual quirks — would be preserved through the transition. By simultaneously disassembling the protein brain as the …

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