Monday, December 28, 2009

Will Uploaded Minds in Machines be Alive?

IEET has an interesting article by Martine Rothblatt about Mindfiles, Mindware and Mindclones. Here are three quotes from the article.

Mindclones—consciousness in post-biological media—will feel as full of life as we biological creatures

The differences between organic and cybernetic life are less important than their similarities. Both are mathematical codes that organize a compatible domain to perform functions that must ultimately result in reproduction. For organic life, the code is written in molecules and the domain is the natural world. For cybernetic life the code is written in voltage potentials and the domain is the IT world. We call organic life biology. It seems fitting to call cybernetic life vitology .

Mindclones are alive, just not the same kind of life that we are accustomed to. They are functionally alive, albeit with a different structure and substance than has ever existed before. Yet, that is the story of life. Before there were nucleated cells, eukaryotes (of which we are comprised), such things had never been seen before – not for nearly two billion years. That is time duration that bacterium had an exclusive claim to life on earth. Before there were multicellular creatures there were only single cell creatures – from their perspective, the first slime molds were not so much a life form but a community of single cell creatures. And so the story goes, down through the descent of man. We must judge life based upon whether it streams order upon itself – self-replicates pursuant to a Darwinian code and maintains itself against the tendency to dissemble – and not get picky over what it looks like or what flavor of Darwinian code it uses. Using this objective yardstick, vitology will be alive. Mindclones, sitting at the apex of vitology, will feel as full of life as we do from our perch atop the summit of biology. Aware of themselves, with the emotions, autonomy and concerns of their forbearers, mindclone consciousness will bubble as frothily alive as does ours.

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