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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.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.