Friday, January 30, 2009

Anissimov on the benefits of mind uploading

Transhumanist and Accelerating Future blogger Michael Anissimov has posted a thought-provoking article about universal mind uploading and the potential benefits it may bring.

Mind uploading
, sometimes called whole brain emulation, refers to the hypothetical transfer of a human mind to a substrate different from a biological brain, such as a detailed computer simulation of an individual human brain. Given the (likely) functionalist nature of the human brain, and given steady advances across a number of scientific disciplines, mind transfer may eventualy become reality; this is not just idle fantasy.

And as Anissimov notes, even if this technology doesn't arrive for a hundred years, it's still something worth speculating about and working towards; the ramifications would be, quite obviously, profound for the human species.

Indeed, as Anissimov notes, there are at least 7 benefits to mind uploading:
  1. Massive economic growth
  2. Intelligence enhancements
  3. Greater subjective well-being
  4. Complete environmental recovery
  5. Escape from direct governance by the laws of physics
  6. Closer connections with other human beings
  7. Indefinite lifespans
Mind uploading, which may or may not be possible, would clearly represent an existential gamechanger. As Anissimov concludes,
From a utilitarian perspective, it practically blows everything else away besides global risk mitigation, as the number of new minds leading worthwhile lives that could be created using the technology would be astronomical. The number of digital minds we could create using the matter on Earth alone would likely be over a quadrillion, more than 10,000 people for every star in the 400 billion star Milky Way. We could make a “Galactic Civilization”, right here on Earth in the late 21st or 22nd century. I can scarcely imagine such a thing, but I can imagine that we’ll be guffawing heartily as how unambitious most human goals were in the year 2009.
Read the entire article.

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