Identity Crisis: Artificial Intelligence and the False Logic of “Mind Loading”

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Many “futurists” insist that technological advances will enable humans to “load our minds” into computer systems, allowing us to “live forever,” defying our biological limitations. This concept is highly flawed but has gained popular attention in recent years. To a large extent, Amazon has a TV series based on the assumption called Downloadnot to mention countless other popular culture references.

As a background, the concept of “mind loading” is rooted in the very plausible premise that the human brain, like any system that adheres to the laws of physics, can be modeled into a program if it suffices computing power Dedicated to this problem. To be clear, mind loading isn’t about modeling human brains in the abstract, it’s about modeling specific people, whose unique minds are represented in such detail that each neuron is accurately simulated, including the massive tangle of connections between them.

Is this possible?

Of course, this is a very difficult task. There are more than 85 billion neurons in your brain, each with thousands of connections with other neurons. That’s about 100 trillion connections – a thousand times more than the number of stars in the Milky Way. It’s trillions of connections that make you what you are Your personality, memories, fears, skills, and ambitions. To reproduce your mind in programs (sometimes called a file informations), the computer system would need to accurately simulate the vast majority of these connections down to their most accurate interactions.

This level of modeling will not be done by hand. Futurists who believe in “mind loading” often envision an automated process using some kind Supercharged MRI Machine, which captures biology down to the molecular level. They also imagine using Artificial intelligence (AI) to turn this detailed examination into a simulation of each unique neuron and thousands of connections with other neurons.


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This is a very difficult but theoretically feasible task. It is also theoretically possible for large numbers of simulated brains to coexist within a rich simulation of physical reality. However, the notion that “mind loading” would enable any biological human to extend their life is deeply flawed.

The real problem is that the keywords in that previous sentence are ‘their lives’. While it is theoretically possible – with sufficient technological advances – to copy and reproduce the look and function of a uniquely human brain through computer simulations, this copied human will still exist in his or her biological body. Their brain will still be held securely inside their skull.

The person who will be in the computer will be a copy.

In other words, if you log yourself into Mind Loading, you won’t feel like you’ve suddenly transitioned to a computer simulation. In fact, you won’t feel anything at all. Brain replication can happen without your knowledge while you are asleep or sedated, and you would have no idea that your brain was being cloned in a simulator.

Mind the upload and the digital twin – you, but not really you

We can think of the copy as a file digital reproduction Or a twin, but it won’t be you. It will be a mental copy of you, including all of your memories up until the moment your brain is cleared. But from that time onwards, the copy will generate its own memories within whatever simulated world it is installed in. You may interact with other simulated people, learn new things and have new experiences. Or perhaps it interacts with the physical world through robotic interfaces. At the same time, the You are the biological It will generate new memories, skills and knowledge.

In other words, your biological brain and your digital copy will immediately begin to diverge. They will be identical for a moment and then grow separate. Your skills and abilities will diverge. Your knowledge and understanding will diverge. Your personality and goals will diverge. After a few years, there will be significant differences. However, both versions “I feel like you’re real.”

This is a critical point – the version will have the same feelings individual that you have. He will feel entitled to own his own property, earn his wages, and make his own decisions. In fact, there is likely to be a conflict between you and the copy over who can use your name, as you both will feel you have used it your whole life.

If I make a copy of myself, you’ll wake up in a simulated reality and totally believe it was real Louis Barry RosenbergHe is a lifelong technician. If it were able to interact with the physical world through robotic means, the copy would feel as though it had every right to live in my house, drive my car, and go to my job. After all, the copy will remember buying that house and getting that job and doing everything else I remember doing.

In other words, create a file digital copy By “loading the mind” has nothing to do with letting you live forever. Instead, you will create a competitor who has identical skills, abilities and memories and who feels the same justification to be the owner of your identity.

And yes, you will feel the version married equally to your wife and father to your children. In fact, if such technology were possible, we could imagine the digital version suing you for joint custody of your children, or at least visitation rights.

To address the paradox Create a copy of the individual Rather than enabling digital immortality, some futurists are suggesting an alternative approach. Instead of scanning the mind and uploading it to a computer, they postulate the possibility of a gradual transformation of a person’s brain, from neuron to neuron, into a non-biological substrate. This is often referred to as “cyborg” instead of “Download“And it is a more challenging technical task than scanning and simulation. Additionally, it is unclear whether incremental replacement actually solves the identity problem, so I would call this trend uncertain at best.

After all, mind loading is not the obvious path to immortality that popular culture represents. Most likely, it’s a path to creating a duplicate that will interact exactly method You are If you woke up one day and were told – Sorry, I know you remember getting married and having kids and working, but your wife isn’t really your wife and your kids aren’t really your kids and your job isn’t really...

Is this something anyone might want to swipe a copy of?

Personally, I find this highly unethical. Unethical, I wrote a cautionary graphic novel over a decade ago called Raising the level of Explores the dangers of mind loading. The book is set in a future world where everyone spends most of their lives metaverse.

What the inhabitants of this world do not realize is that their lives in the metaverse are constantly determined by an artificial intelligence system that monitors all their actions and reactions, so that it can build a digital model of their brain from a behavioral perspective (no scanning required). When profiles are complete, fictional AI convinces people to “upgrade themselves” by taking their lives and allowing their digital copies to replace them entirely.

When I wrote this book 14 years ago, it was intended as satire. However, there is an emerging field today that is going in this very direction. The dampener is called The digital afterlifeThere are many startups out there that seek to “digitize” loved ones so that family members can interact with them after their death. there even Startups that want to describe your actions in the metaverse so that you too can “live forever” in their digital world. Even Amazon recently stepped into this space by showing how Alexa can Reproduction of your dead grandmother’s voice And it allows you to hear her words.

With so much activity in this field, how long before a startup starts touting the cost-saving benefits of ending your life early and letting your digital replacement live? I’m afraid it’s just a matter of time. My only hope is for entrepreneurs to be honest with the public about the reality of mind loading – it’s not a path to immortality.

At least, not the way many people think.

Louis Rosenberg, a leading company in the fields of VR, AR, and AI. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, holds more than 300 patents, and has founded a number of successful companies. Rosenberg got his start at the Air Force Research Laboratory, where he developed his first job posting Augmented Reality System To integrate the real and virtual world. Rosenberg is currently the CEO of unanimous AIchief scientist at Responsible Metaverse Alliance and global technology consultant for XR Safety Initiative (XRSI).


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