I Don’t Want To Upload My Brain To A Computer

Great documentary by Germany’s DW, though I don’t find myself all that interested in uploading my consciousness to a computer.

Don’t get me wrong: mapping the brain and reconstructing its functions are indeed worthy pursuits with grand implications. But I suspect what makes the idea compelling to most people is a hope for self-preservation, i.e. you upload your consciousness to a machine and then you get to live forever!—but that wouldn’t exactly be the case.

Mapping or “uploading” your brain to a computer is fundamentally just a data transfer. In any data transfer, the source data and destination data are momentarily identical—but they persist as two distinct entities, with neither having any particular influence on the other. When you copy a file from one location to another, the original file doesn’t change just because it was copied. It doesn’t become the copy. And of course, the original file can still be destroyed.

Likewise, if and when the technology arrives to map your brain and recreate your consciousness using a computer, it will essentially be like cloning the person you were in that moment—in other words, making a copy. And like any other original file, you, too, can still be destroyed.

Using machines to emulate our consciousness does little to prevent our biological demise. This sort of technology is fascinating and valuable for plenty of reasons, but immortality is not among them.