Monday, September 25, 2023
HomeUncategorizedIdentity Crisis: AI and the Logical Flaws of "Mind Uploading"

Identity Crisis: AI and the Logical Flaws of “Mind Uploading”

Image created by Louis Rosenberg using Midjouney software

Image credit: Louis Rosenberg Image created with Midjouney software

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Many “futurists” insist that technology Advances will allow humans to “upload our brains” into computer systems that will allow us to “live forever” and challenge our biological limitations. The concept is seriously flawed, but it has gained a lot of attention in recent years. With that said, Amazon has a TV show premised on Upload

, not to mention There are countless other pop culture references.

As background, the concept of “mind uploading” is rooted in the very plausible premise that the human brain, like any system that obeys the laws of physics, can be modeled in software if There is enough computing power to solve this problem. To be clear, mind uploading is not modeling an abstract human brain, but a specific person whose unique mind is represented in such detail that every neuron is accurately simulated, Including lots of connections between them.

is it possible?

Of course, this is a very challenging task. There are over 85 billion neurons in your brain, and each neuron has thousands of connections to other neurons. That’s about 100 trillion connections—a thousand times the number of stars in the Milky Way. It is these trillions of connections that make you—your personality and memories, your fears, skills, and ambitions. To reproduce your thinking in software (sometimes called infomorph), a computer system needs an accurate simulation The vast majority of these connections can be traced back to their most subtle interactions.

That level of modeling would not be done by hand. Futurists who believe in “mind uploading” often envision an automated process using some sort of supercharged MRI machine to capture biology down to the molecular level. They further envision using artificial intelligence (AI) software to turn detailed scans into simulations of each unique neuron and its thousands of connections to other neurons.


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This is an extremely challenging task but theoretically possible. In a rich simulation of physical reality, a large number of simulated minds can coexist, which is also theoretically feasible. Still, the notion that “mind uploading” will give any biological human lifespan is seriously flawed.

The real problem is that the key word in the previous sentence is “their lives”. While it is theoretically possible—with enough technological advancements—to replicate and replicate the form and function of the unique human brain in computer simulations, the replicated people will still exist within their organisms. Their brains will still be safely housed within their skulls.

The person who will exist in the computer will be a copy.

In other words, if you sign up for Mind Upload, you won’t feel like you’ve suddenly entered a computer simulation. In fact, you won’t feel anything at all. The brain duplication process can happen without your knowledge while you are sleeping or sedated, and you will have no indication that your brain duplication is present in the simulation.

Mind Upload and Digital Twin – You, but Not the real you

We can think of a copy as a digital clone or a twin, but it won’t be you. This will be your mental copy, including all your memories, until your brain is scanned. But from then on, the replica will have its own memory in whatever simulated world it is installed on. It may interact with other Sims, learn new things and gain new experiences. Alternatively, it might interact with the physical world through a robotic interface. At the same time, biological you will generate new memories, skills and knowledge.

In other words, your biological mind and your digital copy will immediately begin to diverge. They will be the same for a split second and then separate. Your skills and abilities will vary. Your knowledge and understanding will vary. Your personality and goals will vary. In a few years, it will be very different. However, both versions will “feel like the real you.”

This is a key point – the copy will feel the same Personality

You have. It will feel entitled to own its own property, earn its own wages and make its own decisions. In fact, you and the copy may have a fight over who can use your name because you both feel like you’ve used it your whole life.

If I copy myself, it wakes up in simulated reality and fully believes it’s real Louis Barry Rosenberg , lifetime technical expert. If it could interact with the physical world robotically, then this replica would feel like it had every right to live in my house and drive my car to my work. After all, the copy will remember to buy that house, get that job, and do all the other things I remember doing.

That is, creating a digital copy through “mind uploading” has nothing to do with immortality. Instead, it creates a competitor with the same skills, abilities, and memory, and who thinks he has the same reasons to be the owner of your identity.

Yes, this copy feels the same as your spouse and parents are married to your children. In fact, if this technology were possible, we could imagine digital copies suing you for joint custody of your child, or at least visitation rights.

solve The paradox of instead of enabling digital immortality by creating copies of individuals , some futurists have proposed an alternative approach . Instead of scanning and uploading thoughts to a computer, they hypothesized that it might be possible to gradually transform the human brain, neuron by neuron, into an abiotic matrix. This is often referred to as “cyborging” rather than “uploading” and is a more challenging technical task than scanning and simulation. Also, it’s not clear whether incremental replacement actually solves the identity problem, so I think this direction is uncertain at best.

Having said that, idea upload is not the definitive path to immortality as represented in popular culture. Most likely, it’s the path to create a copy that ends with exactly

way If you wake up one day and be told, you will- Sorry, I know you remember getting married and having kids and a career, but your spouse isn’t your spouse, your kids aren’t your kids, and your job isn’t real..


Is this something anyone wants to copy themselves?

Personally, I think this is very unethical. So immoral that I wrote a cautionary graphic novel over a decade ago called UPGRADE, which explores the dangers of uploading the mind. The book takes place in a future world where everyone spends most of their time in the metaverse.

What the inhabitants of this world don’t realize is that their lives in the virtual world are constantly being portrayed by an artificial intelligence system that observes all their actions and reactions, so it can build A digital model of their thinking from a behavioral perspective (without scanning). When the profile is complete, the fictional AI convinces people to “upgrade themselves” by taking their lives and having their digital copies completely replace them.

When I wrote that book 14 years ago, it was for satire. However, there is an emerging field moving in this direction today. Euphemistically called the “digital afterlife” industry, there are a number of startups pushing to “digitize” loved ones so they can interact with them after they die. There are even startups that want to describe your actions in the metaverse so you can also “live forever” in their digital world. Even Amazon has recently entered the field, showing how Alexa can clone your dead grandmother’s voice and let you hear her speak.

With so much activity in this space, how long does it take for a startup to start touting the cost-saving benefits of ending life early and keeping your digital alternative alive? I’m worried it’s just a matter of time. My only hope is that entrepreneurs will honestly speak to the public about the reality of idea uploading – it’s not the path to immortality.

At least, not as many people think.

Dr. Louis Rosenberg is a pioneer in VR, AR and AI. He received a Ph.D. From Stanford University, he has been awarded more than 300 patents and founded several successful companies. Rosenberg began his work at the Air Force Research Laboratory, where he developed the first functional augmented reality system to merge the real and virtual worlds. Rosenberg is currently CEO of Unanimous AI, Chief Scientist of the Responsible Metaverse Alliance and Global Technical Advisor to the XR Security Initiative (XRSI).


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