The Problem of Continuity of Conciousness

Posted in Life Extension on July 21st, 2009 by angry-monk

When talking about the future and transhumanism to people, specifically on the topic of life extension and the possibilities available to us, one of the most interesting debates I always get into is on the topic of “uploading”.

When we talk about the potential in the future of radically extending human life there are 3 major options.

  1. Extension of biological life, via therapies or processes designed to halt or reverse the aging process allowing a human to live young and healthy indefinitely.
  2. “Re-Life”, where a complete record of your brain, post death, is imprinted on a younger genetic clone¬† of yourself.
  3. Uploading, where your mind and consciousness are transferred out of the organic substrate of your brain into an artificial substrate such as a computer, robot or distributed network.

With the last two options discussion always falls to the problem of “continuity of consciousness”. This is the situation where many people feel that an uploaded consciousness would only be a “copy” or a “clone” of their consciousness rather than a continuation of their self. In this post I will discuss this debate and posit my possible solution to the problem.

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Watch out! I’m a Bleeder!

Posted in Medical on March 26th, 2009 by angry-monk

I was browsing slashdot the other day when I came across the headline “British Scientists on course to become first to produce symthetic human blood”. I must admit that I immediately became very excited thinking that someone had finally cracked the challenge of producing something artificial that carried out oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange as efficiently as human red blood cells.

Sadly this was not the case and while the breakthrough they have achieved is still very, very exciting I was left, once again, dreaming of the day I can have my puny human blood removed and replaced with something a little more efficient.

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Captain’s Log…

Posted in Captain's log on May 8th, 2008 by angry-monk

I’ve added a new category to the site called “captain’s log”. I’m hoping to use this category to add personal notes and thoughts on transhumanism and futurism. I promise to you all that I will make the biggest effort to avoid it becoming a “righteous ranting” or “whinging” platform.

I don’t want this to become a livejournal clone because I’ve always kind of envisaged it to be a place for me to draw attention to various technologies and ideas which I would like to comment on. But I like to think I have enough to bring to the table that I can make the occasional social commentary without becoming preachy. Read more »

The Unbridled Power!

Posted in Engineering on May 6th, 2008 by angry-monk

When discussing transhumanism and futurist philosophies usually the emphasis is placed on what advances we can manage with unbridled science and discovery. I have found in many of these cases the “missing link”, as it were, to bring these ideals to fruition can be boiled down to : “Where do we get the energy or idle time to do that? And who gets it? The rich? The poor?” Read more »

BBC – Human 2.0 : creeeeeepy!

Posted in Review on May 5th, 2008 by angry-monk

So apparently the BBC did a documentary on Transhumansim and the singularity back in 2006 and somehow it managed to slip through my viewing filters without me hearing about it.

I was extremely excited when I did hear about it since it seemed to have as interviewees some of the greats of the topic; Ray Kurzwiel, Henry Markram, Miguel Nicolells and more.

I managed to “find” a place I could get a copy of the documentary and fired it up with much excitement and anticipation. Read more »

It’s only a fleshwound!

Posted in Medical on May 1st, 2008 by angry-monk

I read an article today on the BBC site about tissue regeneration that I felt was worth mentioning here.

Regeneration research has been going on for quite a while now and various groups have had varying degrees of success with the process. Regeneration research is generally based on the question; “Lower organisms quite often have the ability to repair/replace perfectly, large (or whole) parts of their body should they become damaged or lost, so why don’t we?” Read more »

Sensory Extensions

Posted in Body Mod, Enhancement on April 22nd, 2008 by angry-monk

One of the central ideas of transhumanism is the enhancement of the human condition and experiance. This can vary in meaning from person to person and even from topic to topic within the same individual.

For me, my main areas of interest are enhancing my enjoyment and experiance of the world around me. This is a fairly broad requirement and actually covers everything from life extension (gives me more time to experiance and appreciate the world.) to more base hedonistic experiences.

As a result I’ve always been fascinated in things that let me sample and experiance the world in ways my normal biology doesn’t allow, such as insane jealousy of the multi-spectrum vision of the predator in the movies of the same name. Much to my delight there have been a couple of modern forays into this type of enhancement that I’ve been following with interest and I will detail them here… Read more »

“Hi there, I’m a transhumanist”

Posted in Body Mod on April 22nd, 2008 by angry-monk

I suppose it’s because I’ve always been interested in body modification and body art that I’ve often thought about the kind of body art that Transhumanist and Futurist proponents could get to, as a group, signify externally their internal views.

There are plenty of examples of it in other areas of human endeavour; athletes who attend the Olympics get the 5 rings tattooed on themselves, members of various millitaries get them to signify branch and service. So it got me to thinking about a similar symbol for Transhumans. Read more »

Of two Minds

Posted in Body Mod on March 25th, 2008 by angry-monk

Hrmmm I am of two minds about this.

http://www.modernplasztika.co.hu/audioful_eng.html

One one hand I am glad that we are finally reaching a stage in our social and scientific development where our physical form is becoming more fluid and subject to individual aesthetics.

On the other hand you _know_ that this and similar procedures are primarily going to appeal to and be used by people like this…

http://joi.ito.com/archives/cosplay5.jpg

“I cast magic missile on your heart!”

*sigh*

I think overall I’m glad to see it as it’s one more step towards us shirking off these boring old standard forms for far more interesting things but it’s not going to be a pretty transitional period.

*shudder*

Some background…

Posted in News on March 22nd, 2008 by angry-monk

Since these blogs always seem to have some kind of “about the author” page I would like to draw your eyes to the right where there is now an “About Angry Monk” link for a bit of a brief light background on me. I’m sure it’s not interesting and I’ll probably expand it as I go. In the meantime enjoy the fuzzy voyeuristic glance into my existence.

Live vicariously through me! I demand it!