Saturday, June 20, 2015

Copying Your Brain Won't Save You From Death

I was crouched down in the rubble of what used to be part of the University of Chicago. The age of the building provided a wealth of protection in it's brick and mortar exterior. If only architects in the past fucking knew that their creations would now only be useful for protection against lasers used by aliens bent on human destruction maybe they wouldn't have used so much paper thin glass.

No one had been responding on the communicator for a few days now but the network connection in my heads up display showed full signal so I imagine everyone else must be dead. Fortunately their brains were probably just downloaded into a new body at one of those secret underground layers one of the rich silicon valley mother fuckers created. Hopefully mine would be also if I was killed. Though I have never been killed before so I don't know? I always kind of mistrusted the idea that "I" would still have consciousness if my brain was transferred to a computer or another body.

Before the attack on Earth I was in Data analysis, BIG Data. They said it was the next BIG thing and it was. Big Data analysis helped us discover the interstellar ships heading towards Earth. Some people didn't believe it, I did and started to learn to use a weapon immediately. I figured the worst case scenario I could impress my friends with my new-found weapons handling skills.

Rubble, Chicago... I am starting to fall asleep, barely slept in the past week, just been trying to avoid enemy confrontation and death. Death, oh yeah. Why avoid death if my consciousness can just be downloaded, just like copying the memory from one computer program to another. But wait, then there are two programs, each one with individual consciousness. If the electrical signal and proteins in our brains are what gives us consciousness, copying that won't keep us alive it will just create a whole new person that is identical to us in thought patterns and knowledge and life experiences. It won't be me, it will just be a copy of me. Shit, short of removing my intact brain and transferring it to a new body a brain download won't really save me, will it? Have they been just using this as a way to inspire people to fight? Fuck, Ass.

Wait, maybe I am just tired and delirious. I need to get out of this place, find somewhere to rest.

Fuck, an explosion just happened on the other side of the pile of rubble.

Shit, fuck. Should I fight or run? 

Fuck it, why not do both?


I remember dying, and then waking up, here. I remember me wondering if this "me" would be the same person as old "me"? I have the same memories, same thoughts, same ideas but that old me, that other me, was a program just like me, a human program. Computer programs run and end and die and go into the ether. Are human beings much different? Copying a computer program or restarting it makes it a different instance of the program not the same one. No matter how much I think I am the old "me" I am really just a copy, a different instance, a copy. I wonder what old me was like?


I read alot of Science Fiction and brain copying is a common technique used to allow people in the stories to die but be reborn. The problem is that copying the brain wouldn't theoretically allow one to live on after their death, it would only be a copy of you. However, maybe by keeping a consciousness connected to the new consciousness then you would continue to live on. This would require much more then just a storage medium for memories, it would require an artificial brain at both the upload and source locations.

This is still not a crazy idea. We can already use microelectrode implants in the brain or even just basic EEG to control a prosthetic. The algorithms and electronics that control these actions become a simplistic yet real part of the brain. But, without the brain that part is nothing. In effect, the goal of consciousness networking is to slowly(or perhaps even quickly) replace brain portions so the consciousness is never separated from the "brain". If the consciousness is ever separated is it still you or just a copy? I believe it is just a copy.

Once the consciousness is separated from the "brain" it loses what makes it you.