Culture & Ethics
Neuroscience & Mind
Your Personality Uploaded to a Robot Wouldn’t Be “You”
Transhumanism is a materialistic religion that seeks to attain the comforts provided by faith through belief in technology as savior. One aspect of the movement is the quest for eternal life. Now, a hyper-rich Russian mogul hopes to live forever by uploading his personality to a robot. From the Telegraph story:
Web entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov is behind the “2045 Initiative”, an ambitious experiment to bring about immortality within the next 30 years by creating a robot capable of storing human personalities.
The group of neuroscientists, robot builders and consciousness researchers say they can create an android that is capable of uploading someone’s personality.
Mr Itskov, who has made a reported £1bn from his Moscow-based news publishing company, is the project’s financial backer.
They believe that robots can store a person’s thoughts and feelings because brains function in the same way as a computer.
Says Itskov, “Different scientists call it uploading or they call it mind transfer. I prefer to call it personality transfer.”
Even if they could do this, however, so what? Whatever programming the robot was able to access, “Robot Itskov” still wouldn’t be Itskov. Our beings are so much more than what we think and remember. For example, there are the subconscious, physical sensations caused by stimuli that trigger hormones and body chemicals, the experience of emotions, and for those who believe in such things, the spiritual element.
No matter how powerful the algorithms that governed an “immortality robot’s” programming, it would exhibit — at most — a faux or mimicking of “personality.” The person being mimicked — the being the robot was supposed to have become — would not be present.
Image: Jaquet-Droz automaton, by Rama (Own work) [CeCILL or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr], via Wikimedia Commons.