Archive for July, 2009

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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