Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Could software back up your mind?
No one wants to die, least of all yourself, but death seems absolutely inevitable. Like an all-destroying wave, a black wall approaching over the horizon.
It seems so unfair that there is no way to extract, copy, and securely save the information in your brain.
If you don't believe in religion, your only option is some form of cryonics. In the future, advanced technology could then be used to extract the information from your frozen brain. This information could then be used to "bring you back", in the form of a human-level artificial intelligence program.
I believe that program would BE you, and could live a much better life than before.
Not everyone can afford even the most basic cryonics package, though. Having your brain frozen after you die is a lot of hassle involving even more money.
One purpose of this website is to explore an alternative.
Could your mind be reconstructed in a meaningful way if, instead of scanning your entire brain at full detail, you just write down an incomplete description of your mind?
Everyone knows an immense amount of stuff and trivia. Just open an old-school dictionary on any page to see evidence of your past (forgotten) data acquisition efforts. In my case there is also an enormous digital "Lifebox" of scanned papers and files going back decades.
But let's start with the mind description idea. There is enormous unexplored potential here.
The first step is to write down a list of the most basic elements of your life. It's all explained here:
You could write different lists in chrological order: all the places you lived, your jobs, your schools, the people you knew, etc. A full life outline in the smallest amount of space.
There should also be descriptions of all "time loop" actions, the repeating habits that form most of our existence.
Later, more details have to be added. Each entry can itself be subdivided. Everyone should write their own biography, but keep it secret of course.
This information could then be used by future Mind Extension software:
It would use the data to help plan and improve your life. More importantly, this software could also record new and deeper data about your mind.
The data could then be used to make a simple digital simulation of your whole life. Or perhaps a never-ending simulation of your future ideal afterlife.
Could such a simple simulation, equivalent to maybe a few thousand neurons in your brain, compare to the inestimable value of your full mind? Being too simple, it would not have even a trace of real awareness.
But what if the simulation is recorded and saved, and more details are added at various later dates?
Eventually, some of these details could be forms of awareness. The simulation would be slightly adjusted to create consistent awareness patterns with the character's actions.
This is a strange notion. It would be a non-causal mind. Normally, awareness emerges as an unpredictable side-effect of interactions with the environment.
It's not clear if a mind could be reverse created, like filling in details about the brain state of a fictional character until they have actual awareness.
In any case, awareness technology will be extremely dangerous due to torture risks, and will have to be hierarchically controlled. People almost as evil as Google could use that technology to perpetrate horrific abuses. This is part of what is known as the AI Alignment Problem.
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