A Critique of Mind Augmenting Technologies

The Potential

To critique these mind augmenting technologies, I'll use the criteria of ELSI. It stands for the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of these mind augmenting technologies.


Ethical Implications

Government eavesdropping has been in the news. But that's nothing compared to DARPA's Lifelog's implied liability. Since they don't have access to your brain (yet), they have to rely on what's playing on your TV, what publications you subscribe to, the radio station you choose for background music, and the email you read or ignore. What would we call this? Guilt by not paying attention? According to Lifelog, ignorance of what passes before your eyes or ears is no defense.

Legal Implications

Why anyone would want Microsoft's MyLifeBits? is beyond me. (Aside from the cost.) I understand why immense egos desire it. But are they so impressed with themselves they don't see the potential loss of privacy? A single warrant could make their life an open book, excuse me, an open computer. Revealing . . . everything.

Social Implications

The potential for increasing the capacity of the mind suggests it will be far more than the net via some medium far less than a cell phone. But who will be the haves and who the have-nots?


Ethical Implications

The World Transhumanist Association is an umbrella that includes the Extropians. These aspiring Ubermensches give new dimension to optimism. Their expectations begin with super computers, nanotech medicine, unlimited life spans, and the revival of the frozen.

For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen, the power of some men to make other men what they please. C.S. Lewis

        Governments will try to decide what improvements are made and for whom; money affects what is done and to whom; the free market is not always predictable; and there will always be extremely rich individuals to grab first advantage and access. Yet despite these social realities, Transhumanists/Extropians still believe.

Legal Implications

Will smart machines vote? Will they let us vote?

Social Implications

The Singularity cloaks a Social Darwinism espoused by a self-appointed elite. It presumes that directed manmade selection can achieve PREDEFINED evolutionary ends. This misinterpretation of Darwin is at least as egregious as Creationism.


Ethical Implications

The Ethical implications of mind uploading only begin with what is a WHO, what it means to be human.

From there they run roughshod over immortality, ownership, economics, not to mention religion's view of human life, the afterlife, and the meaning of God.

Legal Implications

If uploading the brain is possible, then why limit it to one copy? And if a person's brain can be copied, then which is the real person? Is an android equipped with an uploaded brain of a deceased person now that person?

Social Implications

If you can be uploaded, copied many times, then where are YOU?


Ethical Implications

The coming Ultimate Digital Divide: Who lives forever and who dies?

Legal Implications

We are already into questions of who owns your data when you die. Before that happens, you'd better decide and put into your will to whom you want to leave your data.

Another important issue for the Digital Immortality Institute

Social Implications

Some people think MyLifeBits™ is digital immortality. Not so. The pile of everything we experience is NOT who we are or were.

Saving everything makes as much sense as being conscious of everything. We aren't because we can't be and still function. Who we are is NOT what passes before our senses but those things we select for our attention. How is everything you've ever heard or read who you are, more so than your thoughts and expressions?

Previous Section of Paper: The Practical

Next Section of Paper: Conclusion

Index for The Paper

Digital Immortality Institute

This is The Potential page to the T2006 Paper page for DII
Last updated 3/11/06

  Copyright © 2006 Digital Immortality Institute
All Rights Reserved