I don’t know whether this is a good thing, or a bad thing, but at least he’s agreeing for a different reason. On the question of whether we’ll someday be able to download brains into a computer, I’ve said no for largely procedural reasons: there is no way to capture the state of all the complex molecules (and the simple ions, either) of the brain in any kind of snapshot, and the excuses of the download proponents are ludicrously ignorant of even the current state of biology. John Wilkins says no for a different and interesting reasons: a simulation (and that’s all a computer version of a person could be) is not the thing itself. The map is not the territory. So even surrendering the idea of a high-fidelity transfer and saying that you’ll just develop a model of a brain doesn’t get you anywhere close to solving the problem of immortalizing “me” in a machine.
Sorry, trans-humanists. I can believe that there can be a post-humanity, but it won’t include us, so I don’t know why you aspire to it. I can sort of imagine an earth transformed by human activities into a warmer, wetter, even more oceanic place that allows more squid to flourish, and it’s even a somewhat attractive future, but it’s not a human transformation.