Tree of Souls - An Avatar Community Forum - View Single Post - Jake, Grace, and the Spirit-Transfer (by Ashen Key and Sothis)
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:34 PM
Carborundum Carborundum is offline
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Originally Posted by Ashen Key View Post
And actually, I disagree with you - we ARE our hardware. We are our brains. Damage your brain, you can damage your personality. Change your brain, you change your personality. For example, I have ADHD. This means, among other things, my brain is very different from that of a neurotypical person. But I am my brain - the different chemical balance of my brain affects how I think, and thus how I am.
I'll give it a shot:

Keeping with the computer analogy, hardware has an effect on software performance there too. A harddrive can have faulty sectors, which result in loss of data, which in turn results in changes to the software. A CPU can have fried transistors, resulting in incorrectly executed commands, again affecting the software.

These computer-hardware failures have bio-hardware failure analogies: Alzheimer's disease causes neurons to breakdown, effectively causing loss of data. Biochemical imbalances causing mood-swings, psychosis, etc. could be considered "CPU problems".

Now, the harddrive and CPU can be replaced with new, fully functioning and possibly higher performance models. The lost data cannot be recovered (unless there was a backup), but the computer would be operating as intended again, with the data/personality mostly intact.

Sadly, the human brain is not modular (yet). Creating spare parts could theoretically be done with contemporary technology, e.g. cloning, but transferring data is another matter. The problem is that we are not digital, as our data/personality is instead stored in the form of biochemical equilibria. But if we could emulate this manner of data storage, we could theoretically copy everything a person is into a new body. From the perspective of the copy, they just underwent mind-transfer. The old model would still die, but really no more so than an old computer on the scrap pile, all of its data safely stored on a new harddrive.

The flaw of the analogy is obviously than the computer isn't sentient. I would personally be perfectly happy with the above version of "immortality", but I imagine others would have trouble accepting it.

Food for thought: strong A.I. (a matter for another thread).
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