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Why some people are drawn to mind upload technology

The idea of transferring one’s consciousness to a digital form has been a popular theme in science fiction and transhumanist philosophy. But what makes some people more attracted to this concept than others? A new study reveals the psychological factors behind the appeal of mind upload technology.

Mind upload: a futuristic possibility

Mind upload, also known as whole brain emulation or substrate-independent minds, is a hypothetical process of scanning a person’s brain in great detail and recreating it in a computer simulation. The person’s mind and memories, emotions and personality would be duplicated, creating a new and potentially immortal version of themselves in a digital form.

This futuristic possibility has been explored in many works of fiction, such as the TV series Black Mirror and Upload, and the movie Transcendence. Some transhumanists, who advocate the use of science and technology to enhance human capabilities and overcome biological limitations, also support the idea of mind upload as a way to achieve eternal life.


However, mind upload is not a reality yet, and there are many scientific, technical, ethical and philosophical challenges to overcome before it can be achieved. Moreover, not everyone is equally interested or enthusiastic about this concept. What makes some people more open to the idea of mind upload than others?

Why some people are drawn to mind upload technology

The role of Machiavellianism and utilitarianism

A recent study by researchers from the University of Helsinki and the University of Turku in Finland, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, investigated the psychological factors that predict the moral approval of mind upload technology.

The researchers surveyed 1,096 participants from 11 countries, using online questionnaires that measured their personality traits, moral attitudes, and views on mind upload. They found that one of the main predictors of mind upload approval was Machiavellianism, a personality trait that involves callousness, manipulativeness, and a disregard for moral norms.

The researchers explained that people high in Machiavellianism may see mind upload as a way to gain personal advantage and power, and may not care about the potential negative consequences of this technology for themselves or others. They may also view mind upload as a means to escape death, which they may fear more than others.

Another factor that influenced mind upload approval was utilitarianism, a moral philosophy that judges actions based on their consequences for the overall happiness and well-being of society. The researchers suggested that people who endorse utilitarianism may see mind upload as a way to maximize human potential and reduce suffering, and may not be concerned about the possible loss of human dignity or identity that may result from mind upload.

The researchers also found that psychopathy, another personality trait that involves lack of empathy, remorse, and impulse control, was not directly related to mind upload approval, but was indirectly linked through Machiavellianism. This means that psychopaths may not have a genuine interest in mind upload, but may use it as a tool to manipulate others.

Implications and limitations

The study provides some insights into the psychological profile of people who are more likely to support mind upload technology, and raises some concerns about the potential misuse and abuse of this technology by individuals with antisocial personality traits.

However, the study also has some limitations, such as the use of self-report measures, which may be subject to bias and social desirability. The study also did not examine the role of other factors, such as religious beliefs, cultural values, or existential anxiety, that may influence people’s attitudes towards mind upload.

Furthermore, the study did not address the ethical and philosophical issues that mind upload poses, such as the nature of personal identity, the value of human life, and the rights and responsibilities of digital minds. These issues require further debate and dialogue among scientists, philosophers, ethicists, policymakers, and the public.

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