Preface:

Let me begin this thread by stating that I read through the topic of transhumanism started by our esteemed TA member Nate Lundgren last year and felt like it did not address the issue of consciousness transfer. There was a lengthy debate on the definition/semantics of transhumanism and whether it is rightfully characterized as dogma. Hopefully this thread will focus more on the implications of transferring human consciousness into an alien body.

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If the technology was available and you were near the end of your physical life would you consider transferring your consciousness into a droid/robot? If our consciousness is our primary essence would this process not ensure our existence 'in perpetuity'?  Also, if you could specify, would you request having the dark unfortunate memories of your current human existence not transferred?  

As technological advancements gain increasing momentum we are toying with the ability to transfer our very cognitive thoughts at some point. Would our taking over the controls of human evolutionary development in the "posthuman age" lead to an improvement as a sentient being or it would it all unravel and be our ultimate demise?

There are certainly many considerations. A large one being would we retain our present compliment of emotional states after the transfer? Would our mental state develop in the direction of being a purely logic-oriented being devoid of compassion and empathy? That would be a wrong turn in my estimation. 

I see where it could become a very slippery slope indeed. On the other hand having the ability to glide endlessly into the future with my consciousness jumping from agent to agent is alluring.

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I think that our species biggest accomplishment would be to accept our deaths without any trace of fear or desires for immortality.

If we can manage that I think we will progress and evolve that much faster and maybe even escape the confines of our solar system.

It sounds like a contradiction but I think our fear of death will be the cause of our extinction.

@M.M.;

"It sounds like a contradiction but I think our fear of death will be the cause of our extinction."

A very deep thought and worth exploring...another time maybe.

M.M., sounds like a New Thread needs writing. 

How about the ethics of transferring one's consciousness into another human being. Perhaps someone who is suicidal and would gladly give up his/her own consciousness in exchange for some benefit paid to some family or institution he/she favors?

Whilst the idea seems feasible, we cannot even agree that people with agonizing and debilitating incurable diseases can be permitted to end their lives with assistance.  Before we go as far as permitting voluntary mental euthanasia, which effectively is what you are talking about, we need to get over our attitude to the entire concept of optional exit strategies for the living.

Well, this whole discussion is very futuristic anyway. We're imagining a future which is different from today.

Yes, I think some of us have concluded the debate on optional exit strategies--we Americans forget that our hang-ups are not universal.

@Unseen "How about the ethics of transferring one's consciousness into another human being."

Blending that with the idea of "death of personality" penalty imposed upon murderers in the Babylon 5 universe - what about wiping the murderer's mind and making the body available?

What if we have a way of making periodic saves of our minds? Then we could wipe the murderer and implant the dead person's mind effectively making it a suicide by the murderer. Although we'd need to be very certain of verifying who the murderer is.

 

And what if our biology can override consciousness transfer? The empty body was a gay man but you were a straight man and find out biology overrides your thoughts - you now only respond sexually to men. Or the empty body was a serial killer and you find out biology overrides your thoughts giving you deep urges to kill.

 

Related but opposite: uploading our consciousness - if you were schizophrenic is it ethical to keep you schizophrenic? or more ethical to change you into a non-schizophrenic? There are many mental illnesses which are at least in part biological. It would be a way to cure them. But it would potentially change the person.

Suppose certain types of homicidal people were eventually determined to not be fully responsible for those urges because of their biology and it had been decided to transfer such people into non-homicidal bodies before they kill anyone. After the transfer you find out one of them did kill prior to the transfer - do you hold him responsible? (Easy answer: same decision as before the transfer since society no longer holds them fully responsible.)


There are so very many variables here.    :)

@Ward Cressin;

"Although we'd need to be very certain of verifying who the murderer is.

Why? A copy of the murderer's mind/personality would be made just before the wipe in case of such an error, just plug them back in later.

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The questions you bring up on the biological side are more interesting, the ethics of making changes particularly so.

@ Gregg. I'm not ok with overwriting an innocent man's recent past. This type of society would need laws guiding the right to memory.  

This thread makes me want to write sci-fi.

This thread is Science Fiction.

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