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Soft Uploading:

Continuity of Self Identity

Continuity is not a well-defined concept, in the sense that it does not have a well-defined physical correlate. Nevertheless it makes some people feel better if they can have it (that includes me). One argument goes: If a worm turns into a butterfly it is regarded as metamorphosis and therefore is "natural"; but if the worm is disintegrated first and then re-assembled into a butterfly then it is unnatural. Clearly, this is subjective and purely psychological. Nothing more will be said about this.

I used to ponder whether the acceptance of discontinuity will result in some loss of evolutionary fitness, but I found out that basically it won't. The rejection of all desires is certainly ridiculous; but the rejection of one desire in exchange for some future advantage is perfectly sound. Rather, continuity requires a lot of extra resource and thus will incur a penalty to its customers.

Most likely this issue will be settled by economic processes. If those who want continuity can figure out a way to produce it cheaply, then we can have it. Otherwise we'll have to get destructively uploaded or pay an unreasonably high price. Also culturally there will likely be a growing acceptance of discontinuity as more and more people will adopt the pattern theory of mind.

Additional Costs of Continuity

[Omitting baseline costs of brain emulation, synthetic body, sensorium]

    Soft Uploading Costs:
  1. BSS
  2. BCI
  3. Implantation
  4. Remote connection
  5. Sustaining the biological brain
  6. Bio-augmentation of the brain
  7. Make up for late-completion disadvantages
    Destructive Scanning Costs:
  1. Scanning facility

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Aug/2003 Yan King Yin