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Infomorphs and consciousness

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Renegade Imager Renegade Imager's picture
Infomorphs and consciousness
This question came up when discussing Eclipse Phase with friends. "If you are an infomorph - alive inside a computerised system - you presumably have the ability to generate thoughts. But, what about the issue of a "person's consciousness"? Would an infomorph possess a consciousness, thereby being aware of their thoughts? We didn't find that an easy question to answer, as much as it seemed simple enough on the surface. Anyone care to offer any thoughts/comments on this?
ubik2 ubik2's picture
Informorphs think the same
Informorphs think the same way normal people do, and have more or less the same interaction with the world. In a simulmorph world (where they have a virtual body), their experience is probably pretty indistinguishable from yours in reality. They don't have a physical body, so their input comes from the various sensors in the world (sometimes from robots that they are piloting). They also may be interacting with virtual input. When you're reading something on your monitor, you're seeing the data turned into physical light, and then you're processing that back into data. For them, this can be a direct path, where they just "see" the data. This is probably an option for any character in the world with mesh inserts, though. Similarly, when they want to change things in the physical world, they generally will do so through robotic proxies. Without the input and output through these data channels, it's probably like being paralyzed in a hospital, and simultaneously losing your sight, hearing, and other senses. Fortunately, with a steady stream of digital interaction available, there's no reason for them to be find that distressing. Of course, there are some people (e.g. Jovians) that feel that infomorphs are not real people, or that they no longer have souls, but these are concepts that have no real basis (they may be true, but there's no way to determine whether they are).
Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Most human infomorphs are
Most human infomorphs are full body simulations, so they've got at least faithful recreations of all the normal aspects of human thought and bodily functions.
ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
I think, therefore I [FILE NOT FOUND]
The real question is "why wouldn't they?". An Infomorph (or uploaded mind in general) replicates [i]all[/i] processes that make up the 'original' mind. Even if the nature of consciousness isn't actually understood, it'll still be replicated along with everything else. The only way it wouldn't come along is if the consciousness wasn't actually a part of the mind at all (essentially being a 'soul') and also incapable of interacting with the digital substrate. Since we're also assuming (quite reasonably) that consciousness is Important, it's lack would also have been visible from the very beginning, with the probable consequence that the uploaded copy would have been considered faulty or incomplete. For Infomorphs to exist, they need to be seen as Meaningfully Identical copies/uploads of the original subject, meaning everything that [i]defines[/i] that subject [b]must[/b] be included.
In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few. But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?
Renegade Imager Renegade Imager's picture
The mind's eye
Thank you all for your contributions. We ended our original discussion as regards the game by agreeing that an infomorph would retain his/her consciousness. This makes for an agreeable solution to the question, as we thouight that without consciousness our character would be little more than a zombie. Nevertheless, it is an interesting question, in that science doesn't really seem to know a lot about consciousness as such. There is no concensus that it is or is not part of the mind. Fascinating subject to discuss.