Mental Uploading And You
Let's say we're in the future, and technology has advanced. How far ahead from the present is anyone's guess.
Someone you know has died, whether they are an acquaintance, friend, or loved one. Following the person's will, the state takes their brain to a facility where it is sliced and scanned, and the data from that scan is turned into a program that mimics their mind prior to the time of their death. That program is then downloaded into an artificial body designed to act as similarly as possible to the deceased's body.
Would you view the product of this process as the same individual who died?
Please explain your answer, and feel free to venture into sub-topics.
I chose both 'Yes' and 'Other' on the poll, because my answer is along the lines of "yeah, sorta."
There are, of course, concerns about how well the technology works and the possibilities of errors. Even getting 0.00000001% of the data wrong could have some issues and would, logically, make them not the same identical individual despite how close it is. Any errors of the brain scanning and downloading would make the entity an imperfect clone at best, and thus not quite the same individual.
Even assuming the scanning process works perfectly there is a rather large hitch in the idea: the artificial body. The main issue with it is self image, how one views oneself. If the body is not a visual identical to that of the deceased person, what kind of screwed up things will happen with their mind? You can see the sorts of mental issues that can develop from body image issues in transsexual people (who tend to have issues with depression and such because they feel like they're in the wrong body) and women who hate their body (and thus often develop depression and eating disorders among other things). If the previously identical mind of the deceased person becomes afflicted by these disorders that it never would have had in its original body, is it truly that same individual anymore? Maybe, maybe not.
Even assuming the brain copy works perfectly and the body is a perfect copy, there comes another question: is this individual still human? They will essentially be a human consciousness in a machine. They would no longer have a biological form and would, presuming there are no accidents and the body is properly maintained, not be constrained by normal limits of mortality like aging. Hell, just being ported into a machine means they've surpassed mortality. Can someone who is essentially now a computer program, no longer bound to the mortal coil, really be considered human? I don't think so.
But then I would also say that one can be the same individual without still being human. What makes an individual is their personality and their memories, that's all that truly differentiates us from one another. A person is their personality plus the sum total of their experiences. If those can be copied and loaded into a new body, they're still technically that same individual regardless of the body they are contained in. They're rather different in some very important aspects, like that mortality bit, but what makes the person who they are is still technically intact. That is why I say "yeah, sorta" to the question, because while they are still technically the same individual they can also never be counted as completely identical to their previous form.
I've chosen no because avoiding the philosphical issues around this in the above scenario it is only the brain that is precisely scanned and replicated. While thought takes place in our mind the effect of the bodies hormones on mood cannot be ignored because even if they don't solely dictate it they affect it very strongly when they do. I believe these moods are significant enough that I wouldn't regard them as the same person and even if they are very similar it is not a continuum, for example siamese twins may behave similarly and have the same experience but one of them is not the other. This may not be the best parallel but unlike twins they definetly share experiences. If the body was also a clone of the original that would change my answer entirely.
No. Humans are also defined by adaption. While you suggest behaviours can be mimicked, you did not include the ability to learn or adapt one's views according to the situation (thereby creating new beliefs) which may change future behaviours. Because this is not accounted for in your explanation, you would create a recording rather than to allow a human mind to continue to exist.
Originally Posted by Ommanipadmehum
Originally Posted by Kestrel
You answered that for me.
If you believe that a human being is greater than the sum of data in its memory and matter in its body, then you must conclude that this replication is insufficient.
How would they continue to learn or comfort you? It would be as if you were looking at a living photograph. Comforting at first, but they aren't really there. You're only cheating yourself out of closure and happiness. It's like an old woman that collects tons of cats to fill the voids she may have. My answer is no.
It's better to just say goodbye, grieve and sooner-or-later get over the person lost than to try to live on with some lackluster living photocopy. As others have said, even if the brain scan is 100% accurate (which it might not be), there will still be other factors preventing it from being the same person. It also can't grow as a person, either. So, as Whetfeather said, they're not even fully there. It's incomplete closure. ...Hardly complete closure, really.
I vote no.
I don't get why people are saying this copy couldn't adapt or grow as a person. If it's a perfect replica of that person's brain functions and the artificial body is technologically advanced enough to mimic the basics of biological behavior such as feeling pain and feeling emotions that are caused by chemicals in the human body (which, if we're saying this is created at a time such that it is possible to perfectly copy someone's mind, is not unlikely), then that entity is perfectly capable of growing and adapting. Nothing said it would be a static copy of the mind, just that it would be a copy. Part of that stuff in your brain is what makes you able to adapt and grow. Why would this copy not be able to do these things then if it has that brain perfectly copied? They would be able to acquire new memories and experiences just like any human, and that plus sensory feedback is really all that is required to adapt/grow or to learn new things.
These assumptions of it being a static copy just strike me as a little silly. It's not as if the mind would be contained in an unmoving vessel that cannot interact with the world. That's the only way it would possibly be a static copy, so given the fact that this hypothetical copy is being put into a functional body that simply does not make sense.
No, because then I get the proceeds of their will.
If I acknowledge them as the "same" as the person who died they get to keep their shit.