Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do libertarians dream of ruggedly individualistic sheep?

Megan loves her some Instapundit, hence a post on fucking robot bodies.

would you download your consciousness into a robot?

There are, of course, a lot of factors to consider. How good is the robot? Is it more attractive/stronger/faster than you? What's the MTTF? How good are your backup systems? Will you still enjoy normal human pleasures like eating? What about sleeping?

Then there's the question of tradeoffs, which becomes particularly difficult if we posit a robot self that is in some way less than idea. Do you download now, or like a lapsed Catholic, wait until you are near death and try to pull out a last-minute save? Is a few more years of gourmet meals worth the risk of a Sudden, Unexpected Mortality Event? And do you really want to live forever? Wouldn't you get bored?

I open the question to my readers: robot consciousness--yea or nay? Now or never? And how many of you would be willing to count on a death's door Hail Mary pass?
Let me explain something very, very simple. If you copy your brain structure or whatever the hell Megan thinks is being "downloaded" here into a robot, that will not be you. You will receive no sensation from it, you will not have physical control of the robot body, and you will still die with your physical body. Having your brain transplanted into a robot body might produce different results, but that's not on offer in Megan's scenario. She's asking if you'd copy yourself so the rest of the world would have to deal with some echo of your personality eternally. I'm going to be generous and assume Megan doesn't realize that's what she's placed on offer, because otherwise she's so narcissistic she thinks the world needs her voice permanently, and, well...

Furthermore, if we develop the technology to, say, transplant brains into android bodies, we'll also have the technology to give those brains sensation from those android bodies, allowing eating and screwing and all the rest. Otherwise, theres no fucking point. We'd be brains in jars, without the ability to speak to Steve Martin. So the whole trade-off question is basically moot. They'd probably even have an option where you take your reproductive organs with you so you can still have kids. Now that's a fucked up possibility, a hybrid android/human mother having a human baby. Megan can't even think her scifi all the way through.


Clem said...

Well, now, what if the female android-human hybrid (cyborg) were so configured not because she was bored or egotistical, but because she'd been in a horrible kiln accident? The child of a perfectly nice female cyborg with original, working reproductive organs would be no more icky or fucked-up than, say, Frances Bean Cobain, would it?

Hmm. I need to go find some photos...

jayinbmore said...

Instapundit + Jane Galt = Debbie and Marco.