- File Size: 11422 KB
- Print Length: 191 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0692279849
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Humanity+ Press and Alautun Press; 1 edition (September 12, 2014)
- Publication Date: September 12, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00NJZHGM8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,178,542 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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A Taxonomy and Metaphysics of Mind-Uploading Kindle Edition
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--JAMES J. HUGHES PH.D. * Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies * Author, Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future
"Along with AGI, life extension and cyborgs, mind uploading is going to be one of the major transformative technologies in the next century. Keith Wiley has done us all a favor by providing the most careful conceptual analysis of mind uploading that I've seen. The book is bound to become the standard reference regarding the various types of possible mind uploading, and the philosophical and scientific issues involved with each. As mind uploading moves closer to reality, his analysis and others inspired by it will provide valuable practical guidance to scientists and engineers working on the technology, as well as ordinary people making decisions about their own potential uploading to alternate physical substrates."
--BEN GOERTZEL PH.D. * CEO of Novamente * Vice Chair at Humanity+ Magazine * Chief Scientist at Aidyia Holdings * Advisor to the Singularity Institute
"Keith Wiley artfully blends key concepts, philosophy, and nascent technologies together in a fascinating work on mind uploading. His coverage of the field is broad and deep, and jolts readers to see that a spark at the end of the tunnel can now be seen in moving this technology from science fiction to science reality."
--ERIC KLIEN * President of the Lifeboat Foundation
"Keith Wiley has been involved with the pursuit of technology to accomplish mind uploading or whole brain emulation almost since the very moment those ideas crystalized and the terminology was born. In this book, he has diligently applied that long experience and his attention to detail. Carefully separating and describing the different paths and possible issues on the way to mind uploading, Wiley anchors the science and its philosophy. If you have ever been confused by the cornucopia of concepts bandied about, or if you want to dig deeply into the possibilities and consequences of mind uploading, then this book is for you."
--RANDAL A. KOENE PH.D. * Founder & CEO of Carboncopies.org * Founder of Minduploading.org * Science Director for the 2045 Initiative * Co-founder of the Neural Engineering Corporation * past Director of the Department of Neuroengineering at Tecnalia
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Wiley confines his metaphysical discussion to universals, particulars, types and tokens, and let’s throw in the supervenience topic, perhaps even his thoughts on dualism, as part of this. All this is good, yet we come quickly to a definition: “a brain is a type consisting of a sequence (ostensibly a temporal sequence) of brain-state types…” And...”A brain itself does not exist at a given time but rather spans time itself.” As Wiley readily admits, this is the usual discrete state conception, “like frames in a movie,” and he goes on to note that, “entities that naturally reside in time can be transformed to reside in space by utilizing an additional spatial dimension to encode and represent the time dimension.” It is a conception central to uploading scenarios. But this is also a metaphysic. It is a fundamental one – it is our classical metaphysic of space and time, and a framework falling increasingly into question. Bergson brilliantly critiqued this metaphysic, which simply spatializes time (as Wiley just did), in detail (Time and Free Will, 1889; Matter and Memory, 1896; An Introduction to Metaphysics, 1903) arguing that there can be no such thing as a “state,” that motion must be taken as indivisible. Lynds (Foundations of Physics Letters, 2003), echoed Bergson, arguing that there can be no static moment in a physical process, no matter how minute the interval, that if there were such a static instant, the entire universe would be frozen, never to change again, and that this is a foundational tradeoff in the time-development of the universal field – an intrinsic uncertainty for constant change. The brain, embedded in the universal field, would inescapably be an integral participant in this indivisible flow. The classic metaphysic with its “instants” and entities supposedly existing in instants could mean nothing to the brain; our conceptualized “features” as static entities found in “instants,” say, the “edges” and “vertices” of a rotating cube, cannot be the means by which the brain specifies the external world.
This is integral to Chalmers’ “hard problem,” which Wiley, laudably, engages. Chalmers argued that any neural or computer architecture must explain our experience, in his terms, the “qualia” of our experience – the “whiteness” of the coffee cup, the “clinking” of the stirring spoon, etc. If the brain is not solely responsible for experience, uploading is, shall we say - a problem. Chalmers’ formulation, unfortunately, has been very misleading – it is not just the “qualia” that must be explained, rather it is, more generally, the origin of our image of the external world – the coffee cup on the table, the spoon stirring, the kitchen floor, the gently waving kitchen curtains (dynamic form is also "qualia")… Nowhere in the brain do we see this image. We see, to pick a level, only neural-chemical flows. We can attribute an image as existing over these flows - we know it must be there, we experience it, but there is no clue how we obtain the image from these flows. While Wiley evokes the vague notion of “emergence,” a concept even Yudkowsky ridicules (Rationality: From AI to Zombies), his additional effort, “To be in a brain state of such activity literally is to be conscious. Period.”, is only a hopeful plea that this problem somehow goes away. This image of the external world is integrally related to our metaphysic of time – the image holds stirring spoons, twisting leaves, waving curtains, buzzing flies. There is no decent theory of the fundamental memory that makes this perception of flowing events possible. There are theories, for example, of the decomposition of the ongoing event into those ever-referenced “features,” say, again, the edges and vertices of a rotating cube, which are then stored in separate brain-spots, then reassembled, in real time, constantly, over and over, as the event unfolds. There is no model of how this could actually be done, or where the handy picture on the puzzle box is that guides the reassembly, or meets other numerous logical problems, or handles phenomena like this: a rotating wire cube, when strobed in phase with its symmetry period, is perceived as indeed a rigid cube in rotation, but when strobed out of phase, is seen as a wobbly, plastic-like, non-rigid, not-cube, i.e., the nice static, supposedly intrinsic “features” are now gone, even though each strobe would seem to equivalence to a static “sample” of the event.
So, just as something that metaphysics-considering uploading theories should maybe be considering, we can go back to Bergson and consider the significance of his rather different “temporal” metaphysic, for in Bergson, we find in 1896 a prescient vision of the universal field as a holographic field 50 years before Gabor (why his contemporaries thought him “obscure”), and with this, the brain being conceived as creating a modulated reconstructive wave passing through this field and specific to, or specifying, a portion of the indivisible past transformation (or flow) of the field (there are no "instants" falling one by one into non-existence), and by this process now an “image” of the field – the coffee cup with stirring spoon. The underlying dynamics of the brain is also responsible for specifying the field at a scale of time - a “buzzing” fly whizzing by the coffee cup as opposed to a heron-like fly slowly flapping his wings. But this is a specification of events right where they are – in the field - and it means that our experience is not occurring solely within the brain, and thus, experience cannot be solely stored there. It also means that the brain is a quite different device; it requires a very concrete dynamics, as concrete as an AC motor generating a field of force. It cannot be reduced to a device for mere, abstract symbol manipulations, manipulations that can equivalently be carried out on a Turing machine with read head and infinite tape, a register machine made of boxes and beans, or an abacus, etc., nor can it be captured as a series of states on a spatial dimension. In a word, uploading would gain many fun dimensions of problems for consideration.
Most surprising though, even if you are not interested in the idea of mind-uploading, the book is still compelling. In the process of tackling the big questions of this unusual topic, he purposefully takes on some of the big questions of philosophy of mind and theories about consciousness. I found myself making a list of further reading my second time through this book.
It's a short book, but not necessarily an easy one. Yet I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the relationship of mind to body, consciousness, and/or identity.
Keith Wiley's book does an impressively careful job of articulating the concept of mind uploading in all its incarnations. He doesn't solve all the related conceptual puzzles (indeed, some may not be "solvable"), but he does clarify nearly every related issue.
The tone is scholarly but concise; this is not an academic tome, but nor is it a 5th grade reading level popularization. It will stimulate anyone interested in future technology and the nature of mind, identity and consciousness.