Teleportation of Humans: Transporting the Consciousness

Richard S. Norman rnorman at umich.edu
Mon Sep 23 16:13:08 EST 2002


On Mon, 23 Sep 2002 15:20:24 -0400, "Doug Smith"
<gtg089b at prism.gatech.edu> wrote:

>*Thought Experiment*
>    An acquaintance of mine recently proposed an idea of how to transport
>human consciousness from one area to another, rather than copying the
>consciousness and destroying the original. For, in the event of teleporting
>a human, the question remains; Are they truly the same being as they were
>before, or are they just a copy with exactly the same memories? I won't get
>into the religious things, like souls, though that may be an easier way to
>explain it.
>    Anyway, he told me that human consciousness resides in both hemispheres
>of the brain. When you sleep, the consciousness drifts from one part to
>another, often crossing the bridge connecting the two hemispheres of the
>brain. His suggestion was to create an artificial brain (maybe just a
>dormant cloned copy), manufacture some sort of "bridge" between the two
>brains, and destroy the original brain while the subject sleeps. The end
>result is intended to be that the consciousness moves from the original
>brain into the cloned brain, thereby continuing its existence without itself
>being copied and destroyed.
>    Would this work? My friend wasn't exactly an expert in neuroscience,
>though he has quite familiar with the subject. What kind of problems would
>occur? (everything from obvious to obscure). And if it were possible, how
>could one actually construct a "bridge" between two brains that are some
>considerable distance apart? It's an intriguing subject, as this problem has
>nagged at me for two or three years. Thank you.
>
>- Doug -
>
You mention that your "friend wasn't exactly an expert in
neuroscience."  You are quite right. 

First, no one really has a clue what consciousness is, let alone where
it resides.  Second, the notion that it (whatever it may be) drifts
from hemisphere to hemisphere during sleep is, to put it mildy. silly.
Third, even if this notion had a shred of evidence, no one has a clue
how to build an "artificial brain" that could hold the consciousness.
Fourth, even if we could build one, there is no way to connect it to
the real brain so that the consciousness would transfer there. Fifth,
even if we did all that, there is no indication the conscioiusness
would really want to go!

Either your acquantance is described a science-fiction story where
anything is possible or is perhaps gently teasing you with nonsense
(or, then again,  has simply totally lost it).




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