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Author Topic: Mind transfer into someone else ?  (Read 4325 times)

Offline Username

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Mind transfer into someone else ?
« on: 25/12/2014 20:08:39 »
I was just wondering if it were possible to put your consciousness is another brain what would happen ? Like If a person with a brain disorder put their mind in someone else's brain that didnt have a brain disorder would that person also not have a brain disorder ?


 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #1 on: 25/12/2014 21:08:50 »
A particular consciousness is an expression of the unique structure & wiring of the brain the generates it. So you can't put it in another brain, even as a thought experiment.   
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #2 on: 26/12/2014 08:39:54 »
Some people have talked about uploading a brain into a computer (as dealt with in the 2014 science fiction movie Transcendence).
  • We think we are capable of understanding the structure of a computer that we build (although the function of some small human-built "neuronal networks" are already rather opaque to those who constructed them).
  • But at present, we have no way of understanding the structure of a human brain much beyond the gross anatomical level, so we have no idea how to read it and map it onto a computer, let alone another human brain.

To give an idea of where research has reached:
  • We think we have a reasonable understanding of the brain of the worm C.Elegans, with 302 neurones
  • Researchers are now trying to build a computer model of the brain of C.Elegans.
  • The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for discovering the function of a group of cells in the brain that give a sense of location.
  • So we have a long way to go before we can hope to understand a human brain at the level of neurones.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #3 on: 26/12/2014 10:36:59 »
Some people have talked about uploading a brain into a computer (as dealt with in the 2014 science fiction movie Transcendence).
I certainly think this is possible, in principle - although whether it will ever be technically feasible, I have my doubts - not that we couldn't build a system to emulate a brain (efforts are in progress now), but because of the difficulty of getting all the necessary information out of the source brain.

But even assuming we can do that, and upload a duplicate brain configuration to a machine, it will be a duplicate, or clone. This kind of duplication or transfer raises deep questions about identity. The clone will be effectively indistinguishable from the original to everybody except the original himself/herself. If you were told an identical clone of yourself could be made, but you'd die painlessly in the process, would you agree?

This is basically the Star Trek Transporter problem - would you step onto the transporter pad? What steps off at the other end is an identical copy that thinks it's you, but is it?

Would it make a difference if the clone was made from your original atoms - i.e. you were disassembled and reassembled from your own material?

What about if  you could be duplicated without destroying the original - is the original more 'you' than the duplicate?
« Last Edit: 26/12/2014 10:43:07 by dlorde »
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #4 on: 26/12/2014 11:03:23 »
There are hints that some imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain may increase the chance of certain psychological disorders. This is not easy to pin down, as many different genetic pathways could produce neurotransmitter changes by different pathways, but still produce similar symptoms.

Many mental conditions are a combination of genetics, environment and experience. If/when we can transfer consciousness, it is not clear if we could separately transfer genetics, environment and experience, and what effect this would have on the resulting consciousness.

If and when we can reliably correct certain psychological disorders by chemical means, we could assume that disturbing the brain of another person in a similar way would increase their risk of psychological problems. But this would be an unethical experiment to conduct (intentionally making a healthy person ill).
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #5 on: 26/12/2014 20:12:54 »
Quote from: dlorde
A particular consciousness is an expression of the unique structure & wiring of the brain the generates it. So you can't put it in another brain, even as a thought experiment.
I disagree. There are two concepts being discussed here. One is brain and the other is consciousness. I think we can use the computer analogy here. A computer is like the brain in that it has a particular structure. The second concept is consciousness which I see as being like both software and firmware which the brain follows instructions from and, like firmware, cannot be changed.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #6 on: 26/12/2014 22:00:09 »
A computer is like the brain in that it has a particular structure. The second concept is consciousness which I see as being like both software and firmware which the brain follows instructions from and, like firmware, cannot be changed.
I don't quite see what your point of disagreement is; can you explain a little more?

It seems to me that consciousness is a process, expressed in the patterns of activity of communicating neurons. It only occurs when particular areas of the brain are active in particular ways.

The brain is a bunch of interacting neural networks, so the hardware and the software are combined - as 'wetware'; the gross structure, architecture, and connectivity - the 'connectome' is equivalent to firmware, which is basically similar between brains, and the synaptic weightings, specific neural connectivity, neural responsiveness, etc., differ in detail between brains, and are the equivalent of software. But it's a pretty stretched analogy.

A neural network computer system is a more obvious analogy, which also has no explicit software for particular tasks (although the underlying system may be programmed to behave as a neural network rather than using neuromorphic hardware) - it is trained and the training changes the connection weightings & neural element responsiveness, etc.
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #7 on: 28/12/2014 23:17:22 »
Uploading brains into computers might be a way to preserve memories or certain thought processes, but I think it ignores our physical and sensory identity. And there are still so many aspects of brain function we don't understand. Every night we shut down our brains and go off line for about 7 or 8 hours. I've never really heard a good explanation why, other that people seem to be uncomfortable and almost crazy when it doesn't happen.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #8 on: 29/12/2014 01:07:05 »
Every night we shut down our brains and go off line for about 7 or 8 hours.
That's not strictly true - our brains are just as active (if not more so at times) when we're asleep; it just changes operational mode, and our consciousness isn't off-line for the whole time (though some parts don't participate).

Quote
I've never really heard a good explanation why, other that people seem to be uncomfortable and almost crazy when it doesn't happen.
There are plenty of ideas. There are several different modes of sleep, so there may be more than one reason.

Many quite simple ('primitive') creatures sleep, so at least one reason will likely be common to all creatures that do. I favour 'housekeeping', where full memory consolidation can occur without interference; and for those capable of self-modelling, free-wheeling 'what-if' scenarios are triggered from some of the associations that are made. Evidence shows that sleep, or even a good nap, improves recall of material learned just prior (students are better off getting some sleep than cramming all night before exams).
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #9 on: 06/01/2015 03:55:22 »
A certain published source that I have lost contact with said that during sleep, certain chemical wastes were cleared out of neurons, and that this seemed to be related to the delay of dementia developing in certain patients. There may well be other processes going on also.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #10 on: 06/01/2015 03:57:39 »
Quote
I was just wondering if it were possible to put your consciousness is another brain what would happen ? Like If a person with a brain disorder put their mind in someone else's brain that didnt have a brain disorder would that person also not have a brain disorder ?
To answer the original question: it would seem to me that this would be equivalent to curing the brain disorder in the  original brain. In both cases, the thinking would become cleared up, the only difference being from what reference frame the individual viewed the world.
 

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Re: Mind transfer into someone else ?
« Reply #10 on: 06/01/2015 03:57:39 »

 

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