Continuity in Uploading

I don’t ac­knowl­edge an up­load as “me” in any mean­ingful sense of the term; if I copied my brain to a com­puter and then my body was de­stroyed, I still think of that as death and would try to avoid it.

A thought struck me a few min­utes ago that seems like it might get around that, though. Sup­pose that rather than copy­ing my brain, I ad­joined it to some ex­ter­nal com­puter in a kind of re­verse-Eb­bo­rian act; elec­tri­cally con­nect­ing my synapses to a big block of com­pu­trons that I can con­sciously perform I/​O to. Over the course of life and im­proved tech, that block ex­pands un­til, as a per­centage, most of my thought pro­cesses are go­ing on in the ma­chine-part of me. Even­tu­ally my meat brain dies—but the sili­con part of me lives on. I think I would prob­a­bly still con­sider that “me” in a mean­ingful sense. In­tu­itively I feel like I should treat it as the equiv­a­lent of minor brain dam­age.

Ob­vi­ously, one could shorten the pe­riod of dual-life ar­bi­trar­ily and I can’t point to a spe­cific line where ex­panded-then-con­tracted-con­scious­ness turns into copy­ing-then-death. The line that im­me­di­ately comes to mind is “when­ever I start to feel like the tech­nolog­i­cal ex­pan­sion of my mind is no longer an ex­ter­nal mod­ule, but the main com­po­nent,” but that feels like un­jus­tified punt­ing.

I’m cu­ri­ous what other peo­ple think, par­tic­u­larly those that share my po­si­tion on de­struc­tive up­loads.


Edited to add:

Solip­sist asked me for the rea­son­ing be­hind my po­si­tion on de­struc­tive up­loads, which led to this ad­di­tional train of thought:

Com­pare a de­struc­tive up­load to non-de­struc­tive. Copy my mind to a ma­chine non-de­struc­tively, and I still iden­tify with meat-me. You could let ma­chine-me run for a day, or a week, or a year, and only then kill off meat-me. I don’t like that op­tion and would be con­fused by some­one who did. Destruc­tive up­loads feel like the limit of that case, where the time in­ter­val ap­proaches zero and I am kil­led and copied in the same mo­ment. As with the case out­lined above, I don’t see a crossed line where it stops be­ing death and starts be­ing tran­si­tion.

An ex­pand-con­tract with in­ter­val zero is effec­tively a de­struc­tive up­load. So is a copy-kill with in­ter­val zero. So the two ap­pear to be mir­ror images, with a dis­con­ti­nu­ity at the limit. Ap­proach de­struc­tive up­loads from the copy-then-kill side, and it feels clearly like death. Ap­proach them from the ex­pand-then-con­tract side, and it feels like con­tin­u­ous iden­tity. Yet at the limit be­tween them they turn into the same op­er­a­tion.