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Toward Non-fatal Uploading. A New Framework. Ben Hyink. Objectives of the Presentation: 1.) Advance a minimal view of self-as-network 2.) Counter traditional notions of uploading as a means of continuation of phenomenological experience of an original entity

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toward non fatal uploading

Toward Non-fatal Uploading

A New Framework

Ben Hyink

Objectives of the Presentation:

1.) Advance a minimal view of self-as-network

2.) Counter traditional notions of uploading as a means of continuation of phenomenological experience of an original entity

3.) Propose a new framework based on integration, growth and functional shifting

4.) Explain how the original portion of the network could be rendered redundant and expendable

5.) Examine some implications of, objections to, and future possibilities within the new framework

gubrud s biophysical position
Gubrud’s biophysical position
  • “We” are strictly definable as the species homo sapiens
  • We can be no more nor less than the human substrate
  • So, any “augmentative substrates” added to the body are really commandeering rather than enhancing us
problems with biophysical camp
Problems with “Biophysical” Camp
  • Ascribes agent interests to species abstraction instead of individual life forms with consciousness and intelligence
  • We process information through and as our cognitive networks
  • Our networks constantly change – sometimes drastically, as in childhood development
  • It makes sense to think of cellular and synaptic elements as circuit parts of the life form, rather than each as crucial parts of our being
  • It therefore makes sense that changing circuit components, even if they change the character of the network, will sustain its functional potential, and thereby the person.
dennett s self as center of narrative gravity
Dennett’s self as “center of narrative gravity”
  • “program” metaphor – minds are patterns or algorithms
  • these patterns express habits of thought and action – personalities – and using memories create “self stories”
  • such a processing pattern can be copied and instantiated anywhere – it can be disembodied
  • claims this is the path to immortality, since we *are* simply the information that describes the organization of our processing
  • “pattern camp”
problem with the pattern camp
Problem with the “Pattern” Camp
  • Has excellent features – could certainly produce a mental clone with identical processing
  • Achilles heel: ones mental programs not only emerge from and process through our network, in a critical sense to the individual, they are one’s network
  • Our synaptic circuitry provides the organization of our minds and our mind are made possible by the processing of that circuitry
  • Truly separate networks are autonomous – they will experience different things and be different people, even if they are nearly identical in every way

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

  • French existentialist and phenomenologist (philosopher of perception and experience)
  • Summary of one theme:

existence and substance explain each other

  • Just asmental“program” (organization pattern) and relevant structure (physical/functional network) explain each other
  • Cognitive Science:

Reflective capacity has grown in animals from

pure physiological reactivity,

to behavioral adaptation,

to conscious cognition

(Donald A. Norman / Andrew Ortony)

network c amp
Network Camp
  • Identifies the entity capable of subjective experience and reflection as the processing network itself
  • Identifies structural organization of the network as what enables a network to consciously experience existence through the sensory modalities of a body
  • Elements of network can be multifunctional or specific, but the network itself is necessary to form and sustain mental “life” (which cannot emerge from serial processing but requires distributed parallel processing to support complex cognitive representations)
  • Main Thesis:

The network is the level at which continuity is found.

Its parts and character may radically change, but *its*preservation *matters* to the survival of the person whose existence it expresses.

useful perspectives for network camp
Useful Perspectives for Network Camp
  • Nottebohm: new cells in birdsong learning (whole-cell centric)
  • Crick and Koch: consciousness likely facilitated by cell assemblies and that summarize perception for decision-making regions, as well as inter-module connective fibers
  • Routtenberg: 48 hour process for protein synthesis – ongoing replenishment for synaptic mechanisms (synaptocentric)
why cryonics should work given network premise
Why cryonics should work given network premise
  • Sleep cycles: network is unconscious, but capable of manifesting consciousness under proper conditions
  • Likewise with cryostasis
  • But no cell replacement when network inactive
to be developed
To be developed…
  • Quantum processes probably irrelevant to network view, but more research is needed
  • Operational functional program would facilitate network. Still considering: what is the relationship of the network to program and to the hardware?

If shut down - like cryonics, or obliteration?

  • The network view cannot yet fully articulate what areas of the network are critical and why, but will someday
2.) Counter traditional notions of uploading as a means of continuation of phenomenological experience of an original entity
hard uploading
“Hard Uploading”
  • Non-destructive: replicate neural computational pattern and instantiate on other substrate (“6th Day”) –
  • original substrate-network and its phenomenological experience left behind
hard uploading cont d
Hard Uploading cont’d
  • Destructive: same, but original network destroyed in process of obtaining information to create a replication
  • original conscious-capable entity killed

Non-destructive Uploading:

(“birth”) l----------------------continuance ------------------>

(birth) ----------------------------------------------------- continuance ------------------>

Destructive Uploading:

(“birth”) l------ continuance -------------------------------->

(birth) ------------------------------X(obliteration and death)

soft uploading
“Soft Uploading”
  • Soft uploading: intracranial replacement of all neurons
  • *Should succeed in preserving network if changes are gradual and are integrated
  • Fast techniques could be problematic (Gubrud, TV ’03)
  • There may be better ways to preserve network in transition
new framework proposal integration growth and functionality shifting
New framework proposal: integration, growth and functionality-shifting
  • Integration: establish, reestablish, and preserve connections (also at a distance)
  • Growth: the growth of synaptic circuits into a new substrate via interface devices
  • Functionality shifting: gradual shift toward reliance on the new portions of the network
a rough prototype outline
A rough prototype outline
  • Interface perfusion
  • Non-activated copy – a functional simulation (w/ all relevant interaction – hormones, etc.)
  • Growth into copy structure
  • Demonstration of sensorial, then higher faculty connectivity
  • Growth of func. sim. and its capacities; functional shift
making bio portion redundant decentralizing network
Making bio portion redundant & decentralizing network
  • Produce 2nd parallel processing copy (safety catch)
  • Parallel processing units in various locations
“Embodiments” of all kinds, including androids and augmented human bodies –

Natasha Vita-More’s “Primo” designs

No faith in whole “back-up copies”

for continuation of

phenomenological identity

Distributed and more interconnected experience of life – inspiration can be found in Steve Mann’s cyborg work

teleportation if possible
Teleportation…if possible
  • “Embodiments” could teleport easily (like removing an prosthetic hand in one room and reattaching a copy in another room)
  • Parallel processing network subunits could communicate rapidly over great distance (e.g. Mars and Earth)
  • Send non-activated replications of altered network subunit portions - integrate the portions received (safety catch) and send back copies of different portions of network
  • copy: A {A <> } B
  • transmit info: A { <> A} B - integrate info
  • copy: A { <> B} B
  • transmit info: A {B <> } B - integrate info
the early adopter benefit hanson
The early-adopter benefit (Hanson)
  • No direct benefit to agent if agent is killed
  • But could instantiate non-destructive upload

(*As Robin Hanson has mentioned, if all people care about is having

someone justlike them in the future, this is still fine by itself)

  • Plato’s Socrates in Ring of Gyges – trust your

character? Good reasons for optimism

  • Singularitarian concerns of lack of effective


  • We should protect the rights of everyone
  • William Sims Bainbridge’s

“CyClone Personality Capture System”

long term possibilities
Long-term possibilities
  • Emeagwali’s “Global SuperBrain” –

est. 100-200yrs, 10th Gen Internet

  • Robert Bradbury’s “Matrioshka Brain”

(emerged from “Jupiter Brain” dialogs and

Dyson Sphere proposal)

Special thanks to:


Immortality Institute

Robert Bradbury

Steve Mann

Peter Passaro

Richard Maxwell

Robin Hanson

Some good fields to pursue for network extension:

materials nanoscience

neuroengineering / neural engineering

computational neuroscience

supercomputing technology

functional modeling

molecular biology of synapses

artificial intelligence systems

computer-brain interfaces/prosthetics/”cyborg” tech