Image from Bernd Helfert

Definition [1]: To transfer the consciousness and mental structure of a person from a biological (or other) matrix to an electronic or informational or virtual matrix. This process is sometimes called Whole Brain Emulation (although modern uploading techniques also upload a great deal of information about the rest of the persons' physical body). The term <{A4f5430c9ee716,"Downloading"}> is also sometimes used, mainly to denote transferring the mind to a slower or less spacious matrix.

Definition [2]: The resulting infomorph sentient; a type of virtual.

Uploads are also sometimes called ghosts if the original did not survive the process. These are former modosophonts who have had their brains (and possibly bodies) scanned and turned into a digital emulation.

Although suggested by Alan Turing in the 1940's (Old Earth calendar) and a major research goal during the early Interplanetary ages, the sheer complexity and difficulty of precisely translating and reproducing the entire human brain with all its encoded memories and experiences, meant that even destructive nanotech uploading was only partially successful prior to the 4th century AT. Early uploads consisted of just parts of the original neural net, with the rest interpolated. Since the Federation Era first destructive and then non-destructive uploading has become essentially perfect, allowing the creation of entities that are subjectively identical to the original.

Even today nearly all simple nanotech methods of uploading are destructive to the scanned brain, but there exists some advanced nanotech methods that can perform a non-destructive scan, and these are generally used wherever possible. Partial uploading methods are also commonly used to create backup copies of minds.

Copies usually live in virtual environments with virtual bodies, although it is possible for them to download themselves into suitable equipped vec or android bodies. Given their ontological state they can easily make backup copies, copy themselves or edit their own neural network with the right software. While copies do not age, over time they tend to either get stuck in a static personality or extend themselves beyond recognition in various ways.


Alpha Upload - An uploaded copy with a personality practically indistinguishable from that of the original entity.

Beta Upload - A copy (or a copy of a copy) of the alpha that is degraded somewhat from the original entity

Exemplar - The original entity, whether biont or aioid.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman TerminologyInitially published on 15 December 2001.

See also Uploading and Souls FAQ.