Is uploading feasible?

Peter Alexander Merel pete at extro.ucc.su.OZ.AU
Wed Dec 22 20:55:58 EST 1993


Dan Crevier <crevier at husc.harvard.edu> writes:
>	It seems to me that in our intuitive definition of choosing requires 
>non-determinism.  If a computer program is playing chess, is it choosing 
>which move to make next?  If you would say yes, then we have a 
>deterministic system that can choose, so you can't really argue that the 
>brain is nondeterministic because it can choose.  

The brain is an open system, not a closed one. It follows directly from
this that, observed without regard to its environment, it is nondeterministic.
However I fail to see that this nondeterminism is required for a mechanism
to be able to choose, and I fail to see how nondeterminism can not be
available to any mechanism that we might upload ourselves to.

>	I agree with you that I greatly over simplified things.  Also, the 
>molecules that make up our brain are constantly changing, and some 
>molecules from that bagel I had for breakfast will ultimately make up 
>part of my brain.  So, you're right, it's not a closed system.  But, I 
>think that we could draw a much bigger box around the brain, like the 
>size of the universe, or whatever you would agree is a closed system, and 
>if you would agree that this is deterministic, then I would say that the 
>brain, as part of this system would be deterministic.  I agree that 
>quantum mechanics would say that this system is not truly deterministic, 
>but I also agree with you that I don't see that this would provide free 
>will, but I think that you do have to go to that level to find indeterminism.

The levels you are specifying are artifacts of your own understanding. As
the nonlocal correlations of Bell's theorem amply demonstrate, quantum
effects are not confined to the microscopic scale. It follows that determinism
does not exist in any absolute physical sense, but only as a description of 
the behaviour of a system with respect to its environment. Determinism is
merely a useful abstraction, not a feature of any real system.

>Have a good x-mas everyone.

And a happy new year.

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