Re: [sl4] 'Ethical' uploading

From: Petter Wingren-Rasmussen (
Date: Wed Feb 11 2009 - 13:02:18 MST

On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 8:13 PM, Johnicholas Hines <> wrote:

> 1. A group of scientists, the "Consortium for Continuous
> Consciousness" campaigns for the legalization of amphetamines and
> rapid research of permanent anti-sleep drugs. Because of their
> research into the underlying biology of sleep, they believe that
> consciousness does not in any real, physical, sense "transfer" from
> one episode of wakefulness through sleep to the next episode of
> wakefulness. A CCC rep tells you "Science has discovered that people
> just go out like a candle at a specific point in the sleep process.
> Claims that you will be magically teleported forward in time to the
> entity that wakes up is merely your fear of death talking." My
> question is: Could a discovery in the biology of sleep cause you to
> consider sleep to be morally equivalent to death?

In the age group about 4-6 year olds a phobia of sleep, because of belief
that it might lead to death is not uncommon. It is almost always cured
quickly though through exposure, since you cant avoid sleeping for very
(Whereas other phobics often can avoid their fear inducing stimuli
throughout a whole lifetime, and therefore never get rid of their phobias.)

So my professional answer to this is yes, people might definitely consider
it, but as long as we cant avoid sleep we will eventually get used to the
idea and stop thinking much about it. If we manage to avoid sleep through
any of the techniques known at the moment we will die much faster than
others and the behaviour wont have much effect at the species as a whole. If
harmless, cheap techniques to stay awake are discovered I´m confident that
the belief will become as common as local anesthesia is at the dentist's.

The thought experiment got me thinking though - it doesnt matter what we
think about this in the long run. As long as a small group is willing to
upload and they live considerably longer than everyone else they will become
a majority after a few hundred years and shape the future of civilization,
even if they´re not capable of self-expansion.

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