You may have noticed my user name is Cybermind2100. I choose this because it was what I had recently began thinking about and thus the subject of this first post.
The human mind is a very interesting thing. People in times past have often wondered about its existence. Some thought of it as metaphysical, and resided in the human soul. Others thought it existed in physical form. Still others believe it to be a combination of the two. Whatever the case, the inability for a clear answer has kept this subject going well into our times.
Now we hear of the possibility of linking our minds to machines and the internet. This begs many a question, as the moral and ethical boundaries of humanity are pushed further and further into the grey zone.
For example, if I were to ‘upload’ my mind to the internet, would I still exist in my body as well?
If the human mind is a physical entity, then to remove it would likely kill you, much like removing a vital organ would if not properly replaced. So I uploaded my mind, then I would in fact do one of 2 things; kill my body and exist solely in cyberspace, or copy my mind into cyberspace and I still exist in my body.
If the mind is metaphysical, then uploading my mind would likely leave my body functioning, but ‘soulless’ and without conscience. This would inevitably lead to the possibility of body swapping, given all that I am can be detached from it.
You see what I’m getting at here? Who are we? If it is one day possible to upload you mind to something other than your body, then the result of it would have profound effects on who we are.
Personally I believe the mind is physical. From what science knows of the brain, the human mind seems to resided in how the neurons are structured in the brain, developed from you utilizing that brain throughout you life. If this is the case then clearly uploading would be impossible without copying, as there is nothing to ‘take’ from the body into cyber space. All you could do is replicate those neuro structures in some form to ‘create’ a conscience in its own right. Arguably this would render uploading pointless unless you intended to replace humanity with a cyber counter part.
However this still leaves further possibilities. Once such one is ‘connecting’ the brain to cyber space, treating it similar to a computer. In this case ‘you’ would exist in cyber space, much like software exists in hardware. But physically you’d still exist in your brain it’ll only be from your point of view that you’d exist somewhere else.
Still in the meantime we have technology already that allows us to use our minds to control machines. By tracking neural activity with a sensor, a computer can be programmed to respond to certain patterns. Then by teaching you’re self to repeat that pattern, you can perform that action. Now this is a lot harder than it sounds and requires much training to develop the mental discipline to perform this action. Currently this tech is being developed to help disable people function.
Personally I’d like to see a more developed one in the future for more commercial uses like video gaming and surfing the web. A well-developed form of this tech could open up all kinds of new possibilities. But that is a ways off. Perhaps in time it’ll come about, but I’d give it a decade or two before its viable for general use.
Now here’s an interesting question. How much of the brain can you replace and still be you? For example earlier I side the science describes you mind as a developed neural structure. Replicating it would make a copy. But what if for say, immediately before an accident you’re neurological structure was mapped. In this accident you suffer brain damage. Doctors then replace the damaged area with artificial ones in the same structure.
Now are you still you? In all likelihood you wouldn’t notice a difference. But on a philosophical level, are you still you are a new sentient being with the same memories?
Let’s put it another way. How much of a car’s engine can you change and it’ll still be that same car? I drive a 95′ Ford Taurus. How much can I replace the insides with a different kind of part before it’s no longer a 95 Ford Taurus. It may look the same. It may have the same performance. But is it still the same car?
Personally I believe self to be subjective. Therefore the mind in this case would still be you, even if it was completely changed.
Now if I would make an entire new copy, which one would be you? You’d both have the same memories, the same likes and dislikes. Who’s the real you? Sure you can say the original. But why does that matter if the copy is 100% the same? That would simply be solving a problem, and dodging the question.
I believe them to be two separate individuality. Here why.
If current science is correct on the mind, then every moment you’re developing and changing your neural structure. Every single moment you’d being replaced with a ‘new’ you.
You’re not the same anymore. You’ve got a new memory. So as soon as the copy is made, you become two separate individuals. You (the original) have new memories. You’re not the same anymore. You (the copy) have new memories of a different perspective. You’re not the same anymore.
No one may ask, what about at the very moment of creation? What about if the copy was produced instantly and for that very moment where identical in every way?
Well answer me this. Are they inside each other exactly? No. Then the copy and the original would exist in a state irrelevant to the conversation at had. So the copy from the exact moment of creation would have an entirely separate identity and perspective. Even if he does not recognize it, its existence is as immediate as him.
Well I’ve rambled on enough now. Have fun thinking about this. It’s ultimately as confusing as you dare it to be.