Five years ago, our company reached the stage where we were able to create, maintain, and communicate with digitized brain transfer images.

These trials were conducted on patients with life-limiting conditions under the supervision and support of their families and their physicians. These trials were limited in nature in that we allowed the images to cease at the same time as their physical bodies. These were the wishes of the patients and the families involved.

There has been studies made by other parties which have proved invaluable in our research

How does the law treat uploaded personalities

The economics of uploaded personalities

There was, however, no firm outcome for those pieces of research.

We have now reached the point where we want to go ahead with a fuller trial period with the end intention of completely separating the mind from the body. In effect, releasing those with life-limiting conditions and allowing their minds to be productive members of society.

The next phase in this project is ensuring that we have a moral and ethical framework in place to protect our patients, but allow them freedom to work.

In order to narrow the scope of this phase, we want to focus on a particular area. If we have good feedback, we can progress to the next phase.

There's three basic questions:

  1. How do we protect our patients from emotional trauma and misuse?
  2. How can we help prevent our patients from carrying out actions that may harm others/property
  3. What emotional/long term implications of artificially restricting behaviour of our patients?

We are of course open for questioning and feedback from the WB research council.

* We have successfully replicated the brain's behaviour. Roughly ten man-years of patients interacting with their families and researchers has confirmed that the conscious mind and all the emotions/feelings/memories have successfully been digitized. To all intents and purposes, these are humans in a box.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd be rather more concerned about those people outside the box. Hacking human minds? Making unauthorized copies? Selling dreams or ideas on the iTunes store? Maybe selling copies of the personalities (got to get those extra workers somehow). Chattel slavery will seem like a walk in the park compared to some of the possibilities available to hackers. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Oct 10, 2016 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Thucydides We agree with you there. However, at the risk of having this line of research being closed down for being "too broad", we have to ask this question first. Safeguarding the system comes after we have a protection system in place for the patient. $\endgroup$
    – user10945
    Oct 10, 2016 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ The ideas from my Answer here applies to this. The uploads will be rich and powerful and will put considerable effort to maintaining their rights and wealth. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Oct 10, 2016 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


From the Law Offices of Meany, Tekel, O'Parson, and McGee.

Dear Mr. Pete:

We've received, and decided to accept, your request that we represent the preserved upload of Mr. Phillips in the case Phillips v. McIntyre. As you are doubtless aware, this will not be an easy case, and I do not want to set your expectations for a simplistic win. While the presentation from your company's lawyer gave an excellent review of the current questions, there is case law that may become relevant.

Unfortunately, recent jurisprudence regarding artificial intelligence does not help us. As you may be aware, in the recent case A1-C3 v IBM (870 U.S. 224 (2024)), the Supreme Court has decided that artificial intelligences are not people in any Constitutional or legal sense. A1's loss was a disappointment, but we feel that there is sufficient grounds here to make a clear distinction between artificial intelligences and uploaded human intelligences.

It is fortunate that you were able to persuade the judge to block Mrs. McIntyre's initial attempt to seize her father's assets in probate court. Unfortunately, as the law stands now, she has the law on her side: Mr. Phillips's body is dead by any applicable legal definition, and his will is quite clear that his daughter is to receive his estate upon his demise.

Now on to the specifics of the case:

There is currently no case law or statutory law that will aid Mr. Phillips. This is unfortunate: it means that we will have to persuade the judges to agree that the legal definitions of "living" and "dead" are no longer applicable to deal with cases like this.

There is little in the way of public support. If there is a "fault" here, some of this could be considered the fault of your company. Yes, the secrecy in which you did your research was necessary, as the public outcry that occurred when Mr. Phillips' situation became public demonstrates, but that also means that since you chose not to publicize, you lost any chance to build public support for your position. This was an opportunity lost, but we realize you made what you felt to be the best decision for your patients and their families.

There are, however, some positive developments. The introduction of the "Artificial Person's Act" in the Senate has widespread public support, and we feel that we may be able to expand that support to cover Mr. Phillips, and future patients in his situation. A1's public popularity has only increased with its recent court loss, and his willingness to stage a social media event with Mr. Phillips last year made for positive association between the two in the public eye.

The APA will not be approved and signed in time for Mr. Phillips' case, so we have to act now. Our strategy will be simply to have the court recognize Mr. Phillips's uploaded recording as a prosthetic for his physical brain. The development of artificial organs, and the recognition of those who continue to be active and productive citizens while having no physical heart, liver, or kidneys, provides the legal basis for doing so. We realize that your previous press releases made a distinction between a brain upload and the Jarvik line of artificial hearts--we ask you to de-emphasize that distinction in future press releases.

The biggest obstacle to overcome is the current legal definitions of death. As I noted before, Mr. Phillips's body is dead by any legal definition: his heart has stopped, his brain activity has stopped, which is sufficient grounds in all US states to declare him deceased. The fact that his mind continues to operate--though now it operates inside a machine, rather than inside a physical body--is our only chance to argue for his continued life.

In short, Mr. Pete, we have a difficult task in front of us. While we remain optimistic that we can, and will, prevail for your client, we do not want to set your expectations that this will be anything but an uphill struggle. We remain cautiously optimistic, but have an eye to the difficulties that this will present.


James Tekel, Esq. Partner, Meany, Tekel, O'Parson, McGee

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    $\begingroup$ I focused my answer on an issue that would have to precede the issues that you brought up--mainly because without the issue of legal recognition, any relative could sue to have the recording shut down for any reason, or for no reason at all. If the patient is recognized by the courts as dead, then legally speaking the uploaded human consciousness would be considered to be property of the estate. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2016 at 16:44

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