Judging by the last 10 years of movies and television, we’ve changed our minds on the whole robot apocalypse thing. The idea of uploading the mind first entered science fiction in the mid-1930s. The nascent discipline of computer science was exploding, and a handful of sci-fi writers extrapolated these developments wildly into the future: Arthur C. Clarke’s 1956 novel The City and the Stars was one of the first serious works of science fiction to consider the implications of being able to store your mind in a computer. The shorthand terminology Duncan and the people at Terasem and LifeNaut use for this information bank is “Mind file.” If you can create a “Mind file” big enough and comprehensive enough, and you feed that information into a neural network that is sophisticated enough to start making its own connections, would you wind up with another, entirely digital you? The stack is “pure human mind,” coded and stored. Unable to help myself, I start lobbing scenarios at him: How would mind clones be certified as “good enough”? How much information would a mind file need to contain to generate an acceptable mind clone? And who would do the accepting? A human mind being hacked or copied-could you, or would you, own the copyright to yourself? Would the agency that uploaded you own you? The cross-section of data capture and civil rights is already a bloody battleground; imagine if the battle line shifted to blur the line between personhood and patent ownership.
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