World-known philosophers and thinkers gathered in the State Archives of Palermo to debate around the possibility of uploading the human mind to a computer system. For the first time the Summer Philosophy School was held in Italy.

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From July 27 to August 2, 2023 the Summer Philosophy School "Metaphysics of Uploading" was held in Palermo, Italy, as a part of an international program of intensive lectures and seminars for graduate students and young scientists from various countries where they discuss topical philosophical problems under the guidance of recognized experts. The program is organized by the Center for Consciousness Studies (CCS), founded by philosopher and global entrepreneur Dr. Dmitry Volkov. CCS focuses on the development of analytical philosophy, and organises the Summer Philosophical School biennially since 2014 in various countries, including Latvia and Malta.

This time the School featured two prominent lecturers: Dr. Pietro Perconti, author of The Future of the Artificial Mind, Professor of Philosophy and Theory of Languages at the University of Messina, and Dr. Eric Olson, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sheffield, one of the most highly cited philosophers specializing in metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

The discussion revolved around the potential of artificial computational systems to possess characteristics humans consider essential features: consciousness, thinking, and personality. If they do, how would this impact our understanding of existence? And do we have grounds for technological optimism?

"In the last few years we have seen a significant progress in the development of large language models and AI in general. This will lead to the emergence of artificial agents. But does it open a possibility for digital immortality? Some philosophers believe that human consciousness is some kind of software on the neural architecture of the brain. Maybe in can be uploaded to the silicon microchips? Maybe we can transfer ourselves to more sustainable platform and transpass the limitations of our biological nature".These are the discussions that we held during the philosophy school in Palermo.

Transhumanists and techno-optimists passionately argue that uploading human personality onto a computer could lead to immortality and omnipotence. However, more skeptical ones voice legitimate doubts about the possibility to create a thinking computer and transfer human beings onto machines.

During the Summer School's philosophical debates, the opinions of the participants were notably divided. Professor Eric Olson presented arguments from a metaphysical perspective, asserting that humans are, in essence, human animals - material beings that cannot be uploaded onto a computer. Contrastingly, Professor Pietro Perconti, the second School leader, believes we have reasonable grounds for technological optimism. However, he raises the question in the social context: should we be afraid of AI? Will it subjugate us, or will we work together?

The diversity of perspectives towards the metaphysics of uploading provoked enriching discussions among the participants, and left them with a commitment to further explore consciousness research.

The Summer School's philosophical debates were spectacularly and convincingly supplemented by the presentation of GAIA Art Project. The project is created by digital media artists Sharon Bloom and Yaroslav Kravtsov together with machine learning engineer Artem Konevskikh. GAIA combines modern AI technologies and digital art to explore the possibilities of consciousness transfer. School participants uploaded their digital avatars into the simulation and watched how they engage in thought experiments discussed during the School's seminars. Over time, GAIA began conducting its own experiments on the philosopher avatars.

The goal of the artists was to create a setting in which living and digital agents could interact unpredictably. They provided participants with the opportunity to communicate with the simulation and their digital counterparts.

In the finale, GAIA's experiment was visualized with the modern neural networks, resulting in a powerful video art piece that was showcased at the culmination of the school. The project offered a glimpse into the future where consciousness transfer becomes a reality.