Transferring our minds into artificial brains
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If it was possible to upload your mind into an artificial brain and it did result in an exact clone of you, you could say it was you, but a clone nonetheless. It would also prove or disprove the existence of fate/destiny. If fate/destiny is real, it would mean that regardless of how many copies of your mind you upload into artificial brains, they would all think exactly the same thing at the same time, as otherwise fate/destiny doesn't exist, as it proposes a preordained path in life, exact replica of thought patterns example. Which would be nullified if even one copy of your mind has a different thought pattern to your original you.
If transferring your mind into an artificial mind was done when you were unconscious and you die, and wake up in your artificial mind, then you could argue that it is possible, but consider the phantom limb problem. People with amputated limbs can sometimes feel their amputated limbs are still there, but phantom or not, they are still connected to that person's mind/brain. Mind transfer to an artificial brain, would in essence be phantom brain with an extension, as it would take your mind away from your brain completely, and create a phantom brain, but if it is not linked to your original brain, as people with the sensation of phantom limbs are, then is it likely?
Based on this definition, I think that it would be possible to upload our minds into computers. This is mainly because it already functions like a computer. The brain takes in information from the surroundings, converts it into electrical nerve impulses, processes them, and reacts. Similarly, many machines also function by responding to a stimulus. While the technology needed may be far off, this article (http://www.popsci.com...) shows that we are making considerable headway in this field.
Additionally, clones do not necessarily behave similarly. The currently accepted theory is that one's personality results partially from nature and partially from nurture; in other words, that experiences affect one's personality. If the two clones have any experiences that are not exactly identical, then from that point they would become intrinsically and irreversibly different.
Finally, the phantom limb phenomenon is not evidence against, but rather in favor of our ability to computerize our brains. It shows that the mind can be tricked into thinking that something that is not there, is there. This shows that we could trick a brain into believing that it was in a body, when in reality it was just a computer.
As a computerized mind you could argue that all our knowledge could be transferred into a computer, but it would be devoid of us, as individuals. The human mind is based on a cerebral cortex which could likely be duplicated into a machine equivalent with future technology, but how could you copy the emotional, moral and spiritual centers of our brain which define us as human beings? Emotions, our morality and spirituality are based on abstract emotions regulated by different areas of our brain. It involves neurotransmitters, altered by a multitude of factors, ATP, neurotransmitter interaction, neuropeptides, oxygen levels, psychology etc. The mind is more than electrical nerve impulses.
How would you duplicate the neurotransmitters, neuropeptides etc in the brain? If you manage to duplicate such processes in an artificial mind you would need to do so on an exact level of complexity as the human brain, as even a nearly imperceptible alteration in such levels have dramatic impact on emotions, hunger and the human experience.
How would you duplicate oxygen and the impact it has on the brain/mind? Oxygen is the key to life.
If a person whose mind is transferred to a computer is introvert, but might become extrovert due to courage, which is an abstract emotion, how would you duplicate courage?
How would you duplicate humans sex drive which is one of the strongest forces in human nature? Our personalities are infused with a sexual instinct to find a suitable partner and procreate. It models our behaviour and our thinking. For most people, if we don't have a partner, we desire one. Loneliness and the potential lack of offspring is a prime motivator in human beings to change that state. If our minds are computerized, how would the mind and personality remain the same as previously in human brain form, if we cannot procreate? Females biological clock would be hindered, which would likely affect their personality dramatically, and possibly in ways that cannot be extrapolated until such an event would occur. Males who could not procreate and create offspring would not be the same either, their personalities would be affected negatively and the desire to find a computerized mind partner and what the desired qualities in such a partner would be, would likely change due to sexual procreation no longer being a factor in such relationships. It would likely gear computerized mind people into more machine like beings devoid of emotion, if emotions are possible in computerized minds, as having a partner and procreating are fundamental aspects of being human.
If computerized minds in essence would be immortal, and personality was able to be intact artificially, how would the personality remain the same if birth and death are meaningless due to immortality? Would such people develop into cold and calculating machines with no regard for 'lesser' beings who live and die?
The research article that you linked to is a great start in science, but is very far from what could be classified as an artificial brain, based on my previous argument about neurotransmitters etc.
I do not posit that clones behave similarly, this would merely be the case if fate/destiny were real. Otherwise, clones would be unique beings with perhaps similar personality traits and thought patterns as the original human they were cloned from, depending on what cloning reproduces.
Your point about the phantom limb phenomenon was logical and viable. I retract my argument about it,
The ability to transfer minds into artificial brains also pose the question, do souls exist? If they do, could you transfer that into artificial brains? If you can, it would negate the existence of souls as something independent of the containment of the human body, and a man-made term to explain our consciousness as more than an animalistic evolution which has led us to be self-aware. It would also negate all abstract emotions we have, even the abstract word 'mind' as nothing more than biological processes no different than in animals. If souls do exist, and you can't transfer them into artificial brains, and your mind is connected to your soul, then you should not either be able to transfer your mind into an artificial brain.
If you are able to transfer your mind into a computer, but don't just transfer your mind into one, but e.g 100 computers, which copy if any would be you? The definition of being a human being, having a mind, is meaning having one mind, one body. Your personality is based on 1. If you have e.g 100 copies of your mind, how could any of them say that they are you, and how could your consciousness as you know it, which defines you as a singular individual simultaneously exist in a 100 copies? All 100 copies of you would need to be exactly the same, to the same thought patterns and behaviours, for it to be you. Even if you just upload your mind into 2 computers, which one would be you?
As you stated, the fundamental needs (oxygen, food, etc.) and desires would be necessary in the artificial you. Despite this, I contend that these would both be simple to replicate in a computer. Assuming that the computer could sense the same things in the outside world that a human could, they would be able to accurately simulate the reactions of that human.
In addition, all human features, including self-awareness, are generally thought to have derived from evolution. Because simpler creatures that are not self aware exist, and because it is thought that humans evolved from these creatures, one must conclude that self-awareness evolved at some point.
On a final note, I contend that, in your final example, both computers would be you. To illustrate this, imagine that there are two of you in a room with an ice cream sundae in the middle. You agree to flip a coin, and one of you wins, while one loses. The one that wins gets the ice cream, while the one that loses does not. They are both still you; the only difference is that one has the ice cream.
Chilled forfeited this round.
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