Is uploading feasible?

Dan Crevier crevier at husc.harvard.edu
Thu Dec 16 10:04:20 EST 1993

Subject: Re: Is uploading feasible?
From: Richard Wilson, WilsonR at LILHD.Logica.com
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1993 19:31:35 GMT
In article <CI3Cwn.813 at carmen.logica.co.uk> Richard Wilson,
WilsonR at LILHD.Logica.com writes:
>In article <1993Dec14.230227.9576 at news.media.mit.edu>
minsky at media.mit.edu 
>(Marvin Minsky) writes:
>>In article <CI1E7p.6qG at carmen.logica.co.uk> WilsonR at LILHD.Logica.com
>Wilson)  writes:
>>>In article <1993Dec13.134805.12597 at clpd.kodak.com>
cox at ast.serum.kodak.com 
>(David Cox (15084)) writes:
>>>>Perhaps someday we will know that certain patterns of neural activity
>>>>are related to consciousness.  In fact, consciousness might then be
>>>>defined as those patterns of neural activity.  We can then say that
>>>>hand, leg, or other parts of the anatomy are not conscious because
>>>>do not contain those patterns of activity.
>>>>Interestingly, if we can identify those patterns, I see no reason
>>>>why they cannot be transfered to other entities such as computers.
>>>>Would those entities then be conscious?
>>>Sure, if the patterns are computable! IMO conscious neural activity is
>>>a non-deterministic form of feedback which FSAs cannot, in principle,
>>If you mean nondeterministic in the technical sense normally used in
>>FSA theory, then FSAs can indeed handle them. If the original machine
>>has N states than the nondeterminstic equivalent may need 2**N states.
>>I think this was first shown by Shepherdson.  If you mean
>>nondeterministic is some unspecified sense, then your assertion is too
>>vague to refute, but you ought to offer something more than IMO.
>>Like, say, IMHO?
>I mean since when has any FSA the capacity to choose?

	Who says that neural activity can "choose," and what is choosing?  
Looking at the brain as a machine, with input as the axons projecting 
into the brain, and output as the axons projecting out of the brain, if 
you believe that the laws of physics are deterministic (ignoring quantum 
mechanics), then it seems that the brain must be deterministic.  This 
seems to contradict our ideas of consciousness and free-will, but it 
seems to me that you have invoke religous arguments for a soul to get 
free will.
	Of course, the brain has so many neurons, and there is so much going on 
in the brain with neuromodulators and other things we don't understand 
very well, that there is no way that we could predict responses, but it 
seems to me that the brain is ultimately deterministic.


(crevier at husc.harvard.edu)

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