Re: Definition of survival

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Fri Apr 18 2008 - 12:43:13 MDT

--- Lee Corbin <> wrote:
> But what's your view? Have you said? Specifically, how much would
> you have to be paid to lose 10 seconds', 10 hours', 10 days', etc.,
> memories?

I had to think about it for awhile, but I would say about $50 per hour.

I have to consider two factors. First, memory has value because it is how I
adapt to the environment. Losing memory means making more mistakes.

Second, the desire to learn is part of the utility function I inherited
because it caused my ancestors to have more children. It works a bit
differently, in that the prospect of having my memories replaced with somebody
else's and losing my identity has negative utility for me (even though I would
be unaware of it afterwards). Logically it should not matter as long as the
other person was equally well adapted. But that's the utility function I

> > On close analysis, our logic leads us to absurdities such as the
> > teleportation example.
> Again, you assume that everyone knows what you're talking about.
> I hope you can be more explicit from now on. There is nothing
> absurd about teleportation in principle, and after we're uploaded
> one might routinely teleport from one machine to another, even
> if the other is on another planet.

Well, issues like consciousness, copying, and uploading have been discussed
endlessly. You can check the archives. I don't want to rehash them. But to
summarize, there is no physical bases for the existence of consciousness or
qualia; there is just a universal (inherited) belief among humans that it
exists. If you are copied or uploaded, all you can say for certain is that
there will be something with your memories that claims to be you. Arguing
whether your consciousness actually transfers to the copy is just pointless
nonsense. Only the universal hope that it does transfer is relevant, because
*that* will guide the design of AI.

-- Matt Mahoney,

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