Point, CounterPoint: Why You Should Upload Your Mind
2012-05-18 0:00

By Eugen Spierer | H+Magazine



Point:

Space travel, particle physics, cosmology. These are just some of the endeavors humankind has embarked on, trying to understand the great mysteries of the universe. But why haven’t we been able to decipher those puzzles yet? Is it because they are vast and we are so small and insignificant? Well, yes.

In order to achieve these huge goals we need to change the very thing which is holding us back: Ourselves. Our mind has limits which we are only starting to be aware of and those limits are only made more restrictive by our fragile, sickened, mortal bodies.

How can we expect to learn the secrets of the world around us while trapped within a body which only lives for several decades, demands constant nourishment and attention, and dictates limits and desires beyond our control? This is why I think the first and foremost challenge we should “put our minds to” is mind uploading.

Once we have severed the link between our consciousness and the cruel joke someone has played on us by enclosing it in a mortal body, can we begin to really appreciate the beauty of the world around us. We would then be able to explore its secrets not just for a limited number of years, but for an eternity.

The first steps toward such a noble cause have already been taken in Switzerland. Scientists have already simulated a part of a rat’s brain with proven accuracy. It’s called the Blue Brain Project and it aims to use developing computer technologies in order to simulate an entire human brain and thus, hopefully, create a human personality which will be based on computer hardware rather than on the miserable excuse we have for a wetware body.

Just think of the possibilities! Eternal life. Easy and accessible space travel and colonization. Plenty of time for all human beings to grow and develop. Far less strain the planet’s limited resources. No more disease. No more suffering. No more death. A better understanding of the world around us, free of the constraints which currently bind us to a meager existence and a short life span.

No other research is this important, for this will be the base of our success as a species.

-----

CounterPoint:

By Jonatas Müller | Comment

While the mind-uploading can certainly have many good outcomes, much care should be taken as for the bad outcomes too, and in order to protect us from it. For instance, consider your vulnerability inside a virtual world controlled by other people, possibly stupid and oppressive people.

Does government currently sometimes abuse our privacy with some spurious justification? Think about what horrendous nightmare, worse than 1984, governments could cause with a population living inside virtual worlds. They could control everything, cause slavery without consent, and invade *any basic privacy*, recording and spying on everything, from your very thoughts to your sex life.

This could of course turn into a horrible authoritarian dystopia, possibly constituting a global catastrophe or even a sort of partial existential risk. Nobody wants that, but how to protect against it?

The Deep Blue project sounds very innocent and harmless, but let’s be careful. Laws need to be created and enacted *as soon as possible* to fiercely protect and actively guard the rights of beings in virtual worlds, to respect their consent to the experiences they be submitted to, to respect their privacy, dignity, etc.

When a human brain be simulated in huge computers, to what form of miserable and undignified life will scientists subject it to, perhaps not having an actual body, not being able to live in the real world, but in a complete farse, and being alienated from the world in its basic human needs? It all seems very innocent and promising until we consider the potential for harm.

Should we abandon the technology? Most surely not. But we need to be *very* vigilant and cautious regarding the ethical and responsible use of it, and assuring it by laws. Otherwise, we would be irresponsibly opening a gigantic can of worms which could cause untold suffering and problems. Do we want to be the next Hitlers or Mao-Tse-tung, by being our lack of proper planning?

Proper legislation should happen *in advance*, before crimes happen, which should be RIGHT NOW.

www.jonatasmuller.com



Article and comment from: hplusmagazine.com

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