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Memory is not who you are... debunking Transhumanism

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posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 01:03 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Comparing eyeglasses to a full artificial heart transplant seems to be a bit dishonest on the issue of complexity. I am sure you would begrudgingly agree, but I understand your motivation to push the definitions beyond what we are currently capable of replicating and planting a flag.

As to your point about a brain in a box being unable to prove its consciousness to you, neurobiology has definitively identified specific electrical signals that constitute thoughts and actions. The fact that they haven't carved out someone's brain and hooked it up to twitter isn't a reasonable standard.

Brains are neural networks which produce what we call consciousness, nothing more. The insertion of spirituality is completely nonsensical. Machines have no spirits, simply complex input and output.




posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 01:16 PM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 


Comparing eyeglasses to a full artificial heart transplant seems to be a bit dishonest on the issue of complexity.

I don't see why at all. Any difference is one of degree, not of kind.


As to your point about a brain in a box being unable to prove its consciousness to you, neurobiology has definitively identified specific electrical signals that constitute thoughts and actions.

Oh no, that wasn't my point at all. Again, you're jumping to conclusions. Humanity and consciousness are not the same thing. You're presupposing that they are. There is zero evidence for such a conclusion.


Brains are neural networks which produce what we call consciousness, nothing more. The insertion of spirituality is completely nonsensical. Machines have no spirits, simply complex input and output.

By privileging consciousness as the definition of humanity, it is you, not I, who invoke spirit.



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 01:18 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 




That's jumping to unwarranted conclusions; we have never seen a brain, detached from a body, show any signs of personality whatsoever. Signs of electrical activity, yes; personality, none. You need a body, you see, to manifest personality.


Thats because there wasnt any such brain that lived for long enough, lol. A brain detached from a body, assuming it is properly nourished, will show personality. Probably altered somehow depending on different biochemical environment, inputs/outputs etc, but personality nonetheless. The conclusion is warranted, unless you want to argue that brain is not the seat of consciousness and personality...

And we can argue semantics all day, but I would call such an entity a human being.



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 01:33 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


There are animals that show the same qualities of our human consciousness. What we identify as consciousness is the product of a brain. It has nothing to do with humanity.

I don't understand why you would even tie consciousness to humanity, or imply that I do. I have said nothing which could be construed as such. The only reasons I can think you would manufacture this are far from admirable.



edit on 10-7-2013 by Wertdagf because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 03:13 PM
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reply to post by wasaka
 




Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, has been pushing this idea for many years, and just recently he promised that by 2045, humanity would achieve what he calls the “singularity,” where our minds can be uploaded to computers. However, once the technologies are adequately developed, they still don’t provide a way to merge your mind with a machine. All you’ve really done is made a copy of your brain. This copy may, indeed, be able to run on the machine, but it’s nothing more than a simulation of your brain. It is not you. You are more than mere memes or memory.


How is a perfect simulation fundamentally different from the "real" thing?

You are correct that there are some unanswered philosophical questions, such as the issue of subjective experience or qualia - if you make a copy of your mind in a computer, it could very well not be you who would subjectively experience the transhumanist life, but the (equally conscious) copy of you, and your subjective experience would not be transfered and would die (mind uploading does not move minds, it makes copies). Perhaps this could be avoided by the Ship of Theseus approach - somehow replacing your neurons or small mind components with artificial ones one at a time, altrough this is probably far more demanding than a simple mind upload, and would demand mastery of nanorobotics. Its an interesting question, and one we might actually never solve, even if mind uploading becomes common - because from the POV of the copy's experience, everything would look perfect.

But none of this fundamentally disproves transhumanism. There is still a sentient mind in a computer at the end of the day whether its you or your copy - and thats what transhumanism is about. I dont believe you can "debunk" transhumanism unless you invoke some idealist mind-body duality (propose the existence of immaterial soul), and there is no proof of that. If you believe that sentience is fundamentally material, then it follows that it can be simulated in silico (in grapheno?
) at least in principle, even if it turns out that you need to simulate whole body down to molecular precision. Its just an issue of knowledge and computing power.

One thing I agree with you is that its very unlikely that we will accomplish this by 2045, and Kurzweil is overly optimistic (perhaps due to imminent sense of fatalism). We are pretty far from even mapping the connectome, not to mention many different neuron cell types (populations) that exist in the brain and their relations to various hormones (the picture of a neuron as a very simple unit comparable to current simulated neural net nodes is not true, if we want to use computer analogy, a neuron is more like a processor core than a single transistor). The simple connectome relations of neurons to one another are probably not enough for mind upload, we would probably need to know what hormonal receptors and in what quantities are there on the surface of every one of those neurons, and perhaps even which genes are expressed inside. Not to mention glial cells, which could also play some role in information processing, and there is 5x more of them than neurons in the brain... The complexity of the brain is greatly underrated by those who believe such optimistic timelines. My bet is after 2100, at the earliest. I dont believe people that are alive today would attain digital immortality, and perhaps not even our children.
edit on 10/7/13 by Maslo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by wasaka
 


Does raising such a possibility seem sane to you?

No, indeed; it is utter lunacy. That is why I asked you why you chose to start a thread by implying it.


I was just leading into my Star Trek reference....



I notice that the whole of the rest of the post from which I've quoted proposes Star Trek as a blueprint for what you think might really happen in the future. So I was right to ask my original question after all, wouldn't you say?


It was a valid question, but as I said I was just showing that there are
may references to men becoming merged with machines on pop-culture
as a way to preface my Star Trek reference... not to suggest that these
reference were part of some hidden agenda.... however, that argument
could be made, and has been made by others.



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 03:37 PM
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As for the "brain in a vat" approach, I dont believe this is the way. Biological systems degrade, and even if you manage to replace the whole body, the brain would sooner or later degrade and die, even if given perfect sustenance. It could give you life extension, but not immortality. Full digitalisation of the mind (and relevant body parts) and transfer to non-degrading substrate is the only way to achieve transhumanism.


edit on 10/7/13 by Maslo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 04:21 PM
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Originally posted by Wertdagf
reply to post by wasaka
 


Nowhere in your post do you produce evidence for a soul.

What you should be saying is that the physical structure of a brain and its consciousness are inseparable. Which doesn't debunk trans humanism... only your ignorant view of it.
edit on 8-7-2013 by Wertdagf because: (no reason given)


What is your definition of transhumanism via puloading memory? It isn't going to benefit or upgrade the human, thats how I would see it. Since the soul and life part isn't the data. Whether you like it or not. All that would make is a lifeless robot with some data that is personal, and the robot and society has no right to personal data that belongs to an individual, that isn't transfered onto the computer. If that was your last shot before dying, you would dead, so keep your information to yourself, its simply too much info to give bad guys, all our memories.



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 04:27 PM
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And go one step further, for those who think they aren't a soul,, and that this little bit of data will provide them with life eternal or something......then think we have to prove soul. NAH, don't after all those who know this won't be sharing their data with the bad guys, its the ones who don't that have to sit down with themselves and do some "soul" searching, because there is zero proof there is no soul, in fact the many studies and nde's and evp's and varios studies, including psi, chinese, russian and US miliatary, lean heavily to the "there is a soul" factor, but nothing leans the other way but opinion.

And its your life at stake, not mine, cause I would never be so foolish as to do such a thing, and if I was dying, I know where I'm heading, but would never share data with the bad guys, so don't give your data away, they have no intrinsic right to our information. That is an incredible invasion of privacy and the computer would still be a TOASTER.
edit on 10-7-2013 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 04:38 PM
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Now, lets say they have the ability in black operations to put a soul in a box, for example, like Et reports say. Personally think there has to be permissions, and one needs to work on raising frequency, being love, having Faith in Family and God/Goodness, whatever their religion, forgive everyone and self, and work on kindness. Because they simply can't touch anyone who is striving for LOVE, and the ones doing that on the other side will not let them touch the others, at least not after I get back because I intend to personally ensure earth is rescued by ensuring all feel everyone's pain here all the time and handing in my report and over.

However, that part is speculation and subjective. But if they have the ability to transfer a soul, and you sign some stupid contract to download your data, can you imagine what could happen....they could think that gives them permission TO OWN YOU!

Not that I believe that its allowed.
edit on 10-7-2013 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 04:58 PM
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reply to post by Unity_99
 


Take your pitiful god delusion elsewhere.

Its sickening to watch you fumble around tossing out buzzwords.



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 06:37 PM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 


I believe in Infinity. Infinity doesn't do One, so God/Goodness/Good Family, I don't define it. But irregardless, the gamble is your problem if you want to hand over data. There is more evidence for soul than not even in paramilitary projects regarding remote viewing and increase in photons at the target area.

Its not my loss, for I'm not foolish enough to give them data. They don't deserve it, its an invasion of privacy. And the replacement clone, that isn't organic, its AI, its not you.

And your attitude tells volumes on what you're like.
edit on 10-7-2013 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 09:20 PM
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reply to post by Maslo
 


Thats because there wasnt any such brain that lived for long enough, lol.

Exactly. So any statement made about the personality of dissociated brains is pure assumption.


A brain detached from a body, assuming it is properly nourished, will show personality.

Again, you're simply assuming this. The trauma of dissociation may well destroy any possibility of mind. Given all experience to date, that seems far more likely than not.


The conclusion is warranted, unless you want to argue that brain is not the seat of consciousness and personality...

I would argue that the entire organism is the seat of both consciousness and personality. Even the amputation of a finger alters both. 'What it is like to be' (in Nagel's phrase) a person who has lost an extremity is significantly different from what it is like to be a whole person.

People with depression have intestinal bacteria that are different from those found in healthy people. What does that tell you about personality, bodies and brains?

Both you and Wertdagf seem to think I am arguing from some metaphysical premise. On the contrary, my premise is an entirely materialist one. I champion vitality, not vitalism. I am speaking out for glands, digestive apparatuses, gall bladders, gonads and, yes, even arms and legs. The operating processes of biological organisms are made up of innumerable feedback loops; the brain is a nexus, a telephone exchange.

Think it through, and you'd probably end up agreeing with me.

*


reply to post by Wertdagf
 


There are animals that show the same qualities of our human consciousness. What we identify as consciousness is the product of a brain. It has nothing to do with humanity.

Don't animals have bodies?

And why, for goodness' sake, do you keep harping on consciousness? We are talking about humanity, something entirely different. A human being remains human even when fast asleep, or in a coma.

*


reply to post by wasaka
 


I was just showing that there are many references to men becoming merged with machines on pop-culture as a way to preface my Star Trek reference... not to suggest that these reference were part of some hidden agenda.... however, that argument could be made, and has been made by others.

Exactly. It is made regularly on this forum, and, as you and I agree, it is completely insane. What a relief to hear that you are not proposing something along those lines.

*


reply to post by Maslo
 


Full digitalisation of the mind (and relevant body parts) and transfer to non-degrading substrate is the only way to achieve transhumanism.

A futile dream. At best, you will merely create a virtual facsimile of one aspect of humanity, namely mentality. Even this is far from certain. It is not even very likely.

You asked wasaka, earlier, what the difference was between reality and a perfect simulation. To a mathematician, perhaps, there is none. But do you think a bereaved mother would be consoled if her dead child were replaced by a computer program? Should she be?

Mentality and consciousness are not humanity. They are a mere part of it, and a relatively insignificant part at that. The true essence of humanity lies in the nucleus of every human cell, and is expressed in what Richard Dawkins has called the extended phenotype. Transhumanists are simply mystics and spiritualists trying to achieve transcendence through technology.

Mumbo-jumbo does not cease to be mumbo-jumbo because its back-story is technological rather than mythological. Remember those 'quantum mystics' who used to infest this site, and against whom you and I regularly did battle? Transhumanists are really no better.


edit on 10/7/13 by Astyanax because: of gut flora.



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 09:22 PM
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reply to post by Unity_99
 

You and I rarely agree with each other, Unity_99, but in this case, apart from that one word, 'soul', you are absolutely spot-on. A star for you.



posted on Jul, 10 2013 @ 10:16 PM
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Anyone who thinks human beings are nothing but their brains would do well to read this article: The startling sense of smell found all over your body.

Brains, my friends, are somewhat overrated. Not surprising, I suppose, since it's brains doing the rating.



posted on Jul, 11 2013 @ 12:01 AM
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reply to post by wasaka
 


The term being used by neuroscientists and technologists nowadays is the "connectome". The connectome is the sum total of the 100,000,000 X 10,000 possible neuronal connections in the human brain.

It's all nonsense, if you ask me. There's just SO Many assumptions being made.

a) that, as you said, consciousness is merely a so-called "emergent property". This article of faith by rational materialists is a little hard to understand. Consciousness seems to be so different from everything we know. To use the analogy between water and H20 doesn't get us any closer. Both H20 and the liquid look of water are still physical. With consciousness, were talking about qualia. How could the sum total of all these connections all of a sudden give rise to consciousness? And how absurd is the idea that one could fall asleep - or die - in his physical body - and all of a sudden awake in a simulated computer program?

b) That we will ever have the knowledge required to build a "connectome". Right now neuroscientists are working on the unproven assumption that neurons are all there is to brain function. But wait: there are 1 trillion other cells in our head - 9/10ths of all cells - called glia, and they may play a larger role in consciousness than is so far accepted by the mainstream.

And Ray Kurzweil is just afraid of dying. Let him freeze his brain or plasticize it, like we know he'll do. He'll die, and most likely, the cells in his head, despite the -196 temperature centegrade, or, alternatively, the plasticized brain, will decompose. He will die. Ray Kurzweil will be no more. He will not live long enough to live forever. The sheer idea that science will advance that far in a mere 20 or 30 years just shows how delusionally out of touch this man is with the scientific reality. I even think Sebastian Seungs projections are a tad quixotic (he predicts that by the end of this century we will have the necessary knowledge to build a connectome).

I agree with the OP's point. I too think consciousness is an altogether different substance irreducible to physical processes. I lean towards the reductive monism of Thomas Nagel, which sees consciousness as a basic component of nature. Theres an inside and an outside. The outside is what we see - physical objects, process etc; and the inside is obviously the fact of our being able to see, to react, to cognize.

This ability to be conscious is basic to the animal kingdom, from insects up to human beings. Human beings of course are more sophisticated, their conscious is far more complex, layered, and ontologically different from the other grades of conscious typified by other animals. That we can even understand the entire process to begin with - to hold nature in our minds and break it down - is an astounding ability in itself.
edit on 11-7-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 11 2013 @ 12:21 AM
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reply to post by Openeye
 





You can change everything about someone by altering their brain chemistry, a sad man can become happy and an angry man can become calm by the removal of specific part of the brain or the addition of another chemical.


As someone who studies neuropharmacology, that's an exaggeration. It's popular, but it's also wrong.

True, consciousness can be changed via chemical changes. But we do not know how many chemical changes are really at work to produce the experiences we have. Even SSRI's and other antidepressants, supposed "miracle drugs", work in a way that we still don't understand. The simplistic explanation of "oh, it blocks the seretonin receptor from cleaning up the spilled serotonin" still doesn't help us explain. If it did, why don't they work immediately? How come it takes 2-3 weeks for antidepressants to kick in, even though the SSRI does it's job the first time you take it?

In any case, this is besides the point. Correlation is not causation. Just cause chemistry can alter mood or state of consciousness, and a frontal lobotomy can turn you into a retard, does not mean the brain is the sole basis for consciousness. This is actually a perfect example of circular reasoning: you posit a theory - reductive physicalism which states consciousness is the result of physical processes; you conduct tests which "prove" that consciousness is affected by changing the brain. Therefore?? The brain produces consciousness? The only reason this sounds logical is because of your baseless first premise.

How do we consciousness isn't an inherent part of reality? What if consciousness were as basic to organisms as it is to the smallest particles? That just as cells come together to form organisms, the "mental" part of cells come together to form the consciousness that defines the nature of the physical organism? This is a perfectly intelligible theory; it makes sense of the fact that consciousness is completely different from the physical. Physical theories do not provide adequate explanations. And to be clear: science has not "proven" that consciousness is "just" the things going on in our brains. That's simply being ignorant of the first assumption made by science: that the physical is all that exists.

Future science may in fact prove - through whatever new means available to them - that consciousness exists. Popular theories abound; maybe the quantum world described by physicists is an intermediate state between pure indeterminate consciousness and the physical objects we perceive? Maybe there is a causal relationship between the mental and the physical.



posted on Jul, 11 2013 @ 03:23 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 




I would argue that the entire organism is the seat of both consciousness and personality. Even the amputation of a finger alters both. 'What it is like to be' (in Nagel's phrase) a person who has lost an extremity is significantly different from what it is like to be a whole person.


Do you think people with amputated finger are less of a person than whole people? Amputated finger changes you only as much as any other traumatic experience, some people are even hardly changed by it. And it does not diminish the personality. It does not usualy make you "significantly different". So if anything that proves my point with regards to extremities.



People with depression have intestinal bacteria that are different from those found in healthy people. What does that tell you about personality, bodies and brains?


That it can be altered by outside means.



Both you and Wertdagf seem to think I am arguing from some metaphysical premise. On the contrary, my premise is an entirely materialist one. I champion vitality, not vitalism. I am speaking out for glands, digestive apparatuses, gall bladders, gonads and, yes, even arms and legs. The operating processes of biological organisms are made up of innumerable feedback loops; the brain is a nexus, a telephone exchange. Think it through, and you'd probably end up agreeing with me.


Oh, I agree that they can have an influence, even a profound one. However, if we are talking about transhumanist level of technology, where whole brain simulation is a solved technology, accounting for a (relatively) few neural feedback loops that are outside brain would be easy. Even not accounting for them wont change much, as proven by people with peripheral nerve damage who are not much different in mental abilities.

When it comes to hormonal and biochemical influences, I already said this would have to be taken into account in some way, however it is also already a part of the model, because the template of simulation would not be some isolated brain, but brain in its natural environment, the body.




Again, you're simply assuming this. The trauma of dissociation may well destroy any possibility of mind. Given all experience to date, that seems far more likely than not.


Now thats a big assumption.



A futile dream.


Perhaps, but physically possible. Not impossible. Physics tells us that anything that is not forbidden by its laws can happen.



At best, you will merely create a virtual facsimile of one aspect of humanity, namely mentality.


Indeed, the most important one.



You asked wasaka, earlier, what the difference was between reality and a perfect simulation. To a mathematician, perhaps, there is none. But do you think a bereaved mother would be consoled if her dead child were replaced by a computer program? Should she be?


I would be, if the program was equivalent to its mind. We are our minds.



Mentality and consciousness are not humanity. They are a mere part of it, and a relatively insignificant part at that. The true essence of humanity lies in the nucleus of every human cell, and is expressed in what Richard Dawkins has called the extended phenotype. Transhumanists are simply mystics and spiritualists trying to achieve transcendence through technology.


You are claiming that the fact of moving the mental from biological substrate to digital one somehow invalidates transhumanism, merely because of the change of substrate itself? I fail to see the logic in it. Its explicitly acknowledged in transhumanism. Thats why its called trans-humanism, not superhumanism. Indeed, by your strict biological definition we wont be humans anymore, but we will be sentient beings, and thats what matters.



Mumbo-jumbo does not cease to be mumbo-jumbo because its back-story is technological rather than mythological. Remember those 'quantum mystics' who used to infest this site, and against whom you and I regularly did battle? Transhumanists are really no better.


There is nothing in transhumanism that is contrary to currently known laws of physics. And anything that is not forbidden is allowed. Transhumanism is equivalent to O'Neill cylinders, quantum computers, slower-than-light galaxy colonisation and other advanced technological dreams - perhaps very hard to do, but entirely possible in theory, and a whole lot more likely than something like quantum mysticism or FTL drives, which violate the known laws of physics. Lumping them into the same category is wrong.

Hate to bring up pop-sci, but this documentary by Michio Kaku explained the concept well: Physics of the Impossible - Types of Impossibilities

Transhumanism is a Class I impossibility: Impossible today, but does not violate the known laws of physics, hence possible in theory (for example, nuclear power or Moon landings were a Class I impossibility during the middle ages, yet they happened by now).


edit on 11/7/13 by Maslo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 11 2013 @ 04:37 AM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


You are of course correct, if we assume that consciousness is not fundamentally material, an emergent property of the CNS, transhumanism is doomed (altrough, perhaps if we learn to manipulate the non-material world it could be resurrected again). But given our current understanding of the world and Occam's Razor, I dont think such assumption is warranted. Its not rational to assume additional unproven entities (non-material world) until we have conclusively ruled out that our current entities (material world) can explain the observed.


edit on 11/7/13 by Maslo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 11 2013 @ 06:04 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


I dont see much in that article that would be relevant to consciousness. Hormonal vegetative systems regulation does not enter conscious mind and can be probably abstracted with significant reductions in complexity without noticeably compromising the mind's experience (my mind does not receive any info from kidney taste receptors, its all integrated in the kidney). Besides, if it turns out something is so relevant for the mind that it cannot be simplified, just simulate it too, to arbitrary precision needed to achieve simulation transparency, its not written anywhere that we have to stop at the CNS.

The fact that body influences the mind is not a good argument againt transhumanism. If thats the case, just simulate that influence, problem solved. Its not a showstopper.


edit on 11/7/13 by Maslo because: (no reason given)



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