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Comment Re:Locality of self. (Score 1) 254

The past belongs to you as much as it belongs to your copy. If you were a person before the copying, your copy will be just as much of a person. Think about it this way: Creating a copy of yourself is like a divorce. It is potentially painful, lengthy, and probably involves lawyers, and in the end you may end up estranged from your former wife with only half of your possessions left. But it's not a fundamental or deep problem.

Comment Re:Locality of self. (Score 1) 254

The problem with almost all "uploading" schemes is that it creates a copy of your brain structure, so it's a copy of you, rather than you.

That makes no sense. Let A be the original and B be the copy. Even if you could not figure out which of them you are (an unlikely scenario), you would always be you, namely either A, the continuation of the original, or B, the copy of the original. The question as which one you end up is rather meaningless, because your self and your self-consciousness are copied.

Externally, there might be no apparent difference to an outside observer, but internally, you're kind of dead, if that 1 cubic foot of meat space is no longer functional.

Of course, either a replacement body (robotic or biological) or appropriate sensory inputs and body chemistry simulations need to be provided, or otherwise the copied brain will malfunction badly. But apart from that, you're certainly not going to be dead. You may suddenly realize that you're the copy, and that's it. There is nothing mysterious involved in it, except that it's perhaps hard to imagine for some people to end up in, say, a machine with your memories as a human. It's not hard for me to imagine at all, though, so it cannot be impossible to imagine.

without a loss of continuity of consciousness

First, a loss of continuity of consciousness would pose no problem whatsoever. We experience that every time we're put onto a surgical table. Second, there is no reason to believe that transfer a brain into a faithful copy invariably goes along with any loss of consciousness. One you remains the original, the other you ends up as a copy. For both of them, it may just feel like one fluid transition without any break in the flow of consciousness. (I'm not saying that it might not be required for technical reasons to induce an artificial coma or something like that, I'm just saying that there is no principle philosophical conundrum in case that is not needed.)

Comment Re:Locality of self. (Score 2) 254

The problems you mention are all easy to solve. At least much easier than copying a brain. ;-)

The problem with your argument that a copy is you is that it allows for two copies of you to exist at the same time. Aside from the legal quagmire that leads to, the two copies immediately start to diverge as their experiences differ. If you were married, which copy is still married?

Both, of course.

Which one does the husband/wife continue to share their life with?

That's for him or her to decide. Probably the original rather than some machine.


Possibly, why not?

Which one has a moral right to your stuff?

Both, of course.

If you split it 50/50 then clearly the copying process has deminished you somehow.

Not you, just your possessions. Unless you're a selfish asshole...

If a child is copied, would the parents have a moral duty or emotional bond with both the original and the clone?

Of course they have the same moral duty. As for emotional bonds, you'd have to ask them.

The copy is clearly not "you", it's just a copy, otherwise how could two "yous" exist at once?

If you're the copy, then the copy is clearly "you". As you said, the experiences diverge after copying. How could two "yous" exist at once? Isn't that rather silly question, given that you have just made a copy?

Continuity and singular existence are how we define what a person or an object is.

Sure, but there is no problem. The person has been copied, so there are now two persons sharing the same past and memories.

The original story involved the Argonauts, and their ship the Argus. As they sailed around they replaced bits of it, until eventually none of the original was left. Say someone followed the Argus around and collected all the scrap parts they threw overboard, fixed them and assembled them into a replica. Which ship is the Argus?

Typical philosophical pseudo-problem. Depending on which identity criteria you chose to use, it's either the same ship or a new ship. Just as you may count bananas and apples as fruits or as different entities, depending on what is convenient at a time. Obsession with the "true nature of things" and absolute identity criteria is the hallmark of bad metaphysics. (Canonical example of bad metaphysics: Kripke's "natural kinds".)

Comment Re:Very Probably Wrong (Score 1) 254

The reality, of course, is that we're no closer to flying cars, hover boards, or re-hydrated pizza than we were 26 years ago.

I disagree. All of those things were perfectly feasible 26 years ago as they are now. But not everything that's technically possible is also economically successful or needed. Flying cars are the perfect example, they have been technically possible for a long time but are expensive, not practical, not safe enough and require an expensive pilot license that not many people have. Similar things can be said about swimming cars, hover boards and re-hydrated pizzas.

As for the screen writers, I'm pretty sure they'd be totally amazed at the advances that have been made. In the past, screen writers had to care a lot about what was technically feasible and had to adopt their scripts to the limitations of the special effects of their time. With modern CGI you can put anything on screen and make it look credible. (A similar breakthrough was made in audio processing for modern digital music production in the past 15 years or so.) Also, many modern movies are cut extremely fast in comparison to old ones and that has changed the scripts a lot -- whether to the god or the bad I want to leave open...

What makes you think the connectivist approach is correct?

Uhm, the tremendous advances in neuroscience of the past 40 years? We now can even identify simple words and shapes that people imagine, something that was way beyond our reach not so long ago.

Comment Re:Academia is willing to protect total dicks (Score 1) 340

I understand that what you "explain" to others as if they never had any sexual experiences in their life might be the bizarre romantic ideal that people have invented in the US after the political correctness wave of the 80s, but the sad truth is that what you describe as "correct procedure" might be reason why so many guys and girls in the US have serious problems getting laid. I can assure you that at least in the rest of the world, you do not ask things like "May I kiss you?". I'm also skeptical that this "ideal" really exists in the US because I've never seen any US movie in which people acted like you describe.

Comment Re:You wouldn't get fired in industry, either (Score 1) 340

Academia very small. If you're fired for such a reason in academia, everyone in your field will know and you will never be able to work in your profession again. It's a complete death sentence to your career - not just in your country but internationally.

This is not generally so in the industry (except a few very specialized areas perhaps). You might have to scale down your financial expectations or slightly change the field but usually there are many more jobs and possible employers than in academia.

Comment Re:How many female students... (Score 1) 340

I work as a postdoc at university for the past seven years and have 20 years of total university experience, and I have never encountered the behavior you ascribe to female students. Neither personally, nor with others or from hearsay.

So let me quickly ask you: Which university are you working at? Are there any job openings at the moment?

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan