Can I download myself into a computer?


There are people actively looking into this as a viable technique for preserving themselves and all their wonderful memories and experiences. The theory is that a human being is a set of information and, if you have a computer big enough, then you'll be able to take a copy of that information and - hey presto - you'll be in a computer. I already covered some of this in my rather depressing post "thought experiment regarding transferring myself into a computer" but let's not get bogged down in NoSelf. Let's focus on something different.

So, we are a brain with neurons. Let's imagine we take a copy of that brain and all the neural connections - surely that's us. Well, it was briefly. The brain is super plastic and changes all the time - that's why we are so brilliant at doing stuff. The brain never stops changing. Perhaps we might be satisfied with the snapshot of our brain but then, even if we did manage to do it, it would be just some kind of static data store. It's not us anymore, it's just a photograph and we all know what happens to them.

Now we need to snapshot our brains and build a system that is super dynamic and mirrors the way our brains work - perhaps someone will invent something like this. At this point we need to model causality. Call me old fashioned but it's going to take an epic sized computer to be able to model causality in such a way that it could create something as flexible as a brain - think about weather forecasting and then some. However, perhaps one day, before the sun swallows the earth, we will have such a machine and this machine will contain a snapshot of our brains and a responsive causal system that allows it to rewire things and change to whatever might be happening.

Finally, we have the problem of consciousness. I am awake. I exist. How do we get that into a computer? Well, you can't because it does not exist in the way you think it does. A rainbow is a good example of something that clearly exists but which you can't put in your pocket and keep in your fridge. A rainbow is a coming together of conditions just like you. You can't capture a moment in time that creates these conditions and replicate it because it becomes nonsense - a paradox.

Perhaps, you might say, an artificial rainbow is still a rainbow and that will do. But who knows what monster that might create ....

Anyway, that's enough for now. I have other things to be getting along with.


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