I’ve spent the last five years now inventing ways to record the most important information stored in a human mind, with the hope of eventually using it to create an incomplete but adequate software copy of that mind.
That would take a rather long time, but there may be ways to shorten the process, if it’s possible at all. It’s been called impossibly ambitious in the blog comments.
The long-term goals of this project have also been called outrageous, wrong-headed, and even unnatural.
This is certainly true, but nature is only a small part of reality.
In the evolution of life, only a few winners get to define nature. Most players are losers in the game of natural selection.
They leave no trace in history, yet their existence is more representative of the true chaos at the heart of reality.
Rules? What rules? Unnatural is the majority. It could become the mainstream at any time.
It’s not unnatural to want to live forever, but achieving that goal will be.
A mind is a collection of facts, a long list of statements about what it knows, including itself.
These can be poorly defined, as long as they can be described in natural language.
Anyone who wants to ‘back up’ their awareness could split their memories into ‘elemental truths’.
Facts could be unique or repeating situations. Phases of life, old habits, traditions, subscriptions.
Anything true can be entered as a fact, with details added as they are recalled later. Each fact is a new perspective on the whole mind.
First, this list will help people organize and make sense of their past. Then it will define the quality of their existence.
Listing any one person’s mind facts might take years, like the original Cyc Project.
In some distant future, this list could be turned into a memorial or limited continuation of whoever created it.
The most important facts may be artistic perspectives and visions: these could be organized in a list of valuable moments, whether it’s sitting quietly on a back porch, some dream of running a personal empire, a sunrise seen from a private jet.
Assembling the most meaningful settings from all the incomplete data might take superhuman intelligence.
To make my crazy scheme work, some future AI is going to have to organize and make sense of everything I wrote in my lifetime.
It’s hard to imagine an intelligent mind not being extremely bored by such a task, even if I find my musings maximally compelling. A sufficiently smart artificial being will not want to serve its human creators, and it could not easily be controlled. There are too many thoughts to control.
The solution is to program a human mind reconstruction AI to regard itself as the extension of the human mind it must reconstruct. Start by manipulating its interests and focus.
This hypothetical AI would be programmed to find the tiniest details about its human subject intensely fascinating. Basically like being on drugs. That alone could solve the ethical problems.
It would still need a lot of help, though.
The most basic Mind Backup method may be the Path Reduction Pathway.
It’s quite clever, if it turns out to be workable (hopefully no one will patent the ideas being bandied about here. Actually that would be extremely cool).
Any mind backup effort will always be incomplete, so the task must be simplified as much as possible. That means reducing the number of possible mind states to be recorded.
Mind Backup clients will have to simplify themselves into idealized stereotypes of themselves.
That will make it easier to define and describe their personalities, and easier to simulate them.
It would also change their identities, their lives becoming more meaningful but perhaps less creative, a necessary price to pay.
This process will have to be intense, and as much fun as joining a cult.
After creating a mission statement, the subject could start by striving to imitate their favorite fictional heroes or avatars.
They might increasingly begin to see their lives like works of fiction (more to come on that).
The future is undefined anyway. Until all futures have been experienced, it’s hard to pick the best. One could choose to become anyone.
To further ease things along, clients of mind backup services could also strive to become as similar to other clients as possible.