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I remember reading a story, probably posted online, about a person who was uploaded (i.e. had his consciousness transferred into a computer.) I don't recall whether it was more like short story or novel length, and I don't know whether it was ever published in a non-online medium.

I think the protagonist was a grad student, but he might have just been a volunteer who had his brain scanned by grad students in a lab. The experiment was at first thought a failure, and ultimately it was abandoned, and I think the brain scan data was released to the world. (One detail I specifically remember: it turned out that they had gotten the sign of one of the synapse connections backwards.)

I don't recall what sequence the various revelations were actually presented in the story, but at some point the protagonist wakes up in the lab where he was scanned. The lights are off and nobody else is around.

It turns out that he actually died in the scanning process (I believe?), and it's actually a simulated copy of him waking up in a simulated lab (this is definitely the big twist I recall, and leads into what was probably the main part of the story, where he explores the simulated world.)

There's some other stuff that happens that I could fill in, but I'm a lot fuzzier on the details; plus I have read a ton of stories in this genre, and am prone to mixing them up.

Some authors I've read a lot of, but think this is probably not:

  • Charles Stross
  • Greg Egan
  • Ted Chiang

At one point I thought it might have been written by Roger "localroger" Williams, but I couldn't find it among his work.

(The story by localroger that most reminds me of this one, but is not this one, is Mortal Passage: Identifying scifi story: a military pilots consciousness is uploaded after an accident, ends up piloting spaceships thousands of years later )

Anybody recognize it?

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    In roughly which year did you read this? Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 0:05
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    Gooooood question. The best range I could confidently give is something like "2000-2015" which is not very helpful. The center of that range is more likely than the edges -- so 2005-2010, say. Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 0:07
  • Reading through the "related questions" and their answers/comments, I found this story, which might be it: interstice.com/~simon/AfterLife/index.html Or more likely, I think I might be mixing up two different stories, of which this was one. (It seems to be missing the detail about the sign error, but it has some other details I recognize.) Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 0:33
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    This isn't it, but there are a lot of similarities to 'Lena' by qntm, which is a very good short story and available online.
    – N. Virgo
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 9:56
  • 'Lena' is a great story, and one of my favorites. Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 17:48

2 Answers 2

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The story is After Life, a novella by Simon Funk. It can be found online here: https://interstice.com/~simon/AfterLife/index.html

It's told out of order, with various details revealed in flashbacks that the protagonist experiences as dreams. (This explains my confusion about the order of things, and the difficulty I had in verifying that it was the right story.)

Most of the details I recalled were from the first chapter. (The protagonist indeed worked in the lab doing the experiments.) The bit about the sign error doesn't show up until a flashback in Chapter 10.

(After I posted my question, I started skimming through the related questions, clicking through to every story about brain uploading in answers and comments. One of the comments, with the wrong answer to someone else's question, turned out to be the right answer to mine.)

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    Congrats on finding it! Don't forget to accept the self answer in about 37 hours. :)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 12:00
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Reminds me a lot of this vignette:

https://qntm.org/mmacevedo

It's a brief history of how Mind Maps are collected, and proliferate via open source. It's a lot like what is currently going on with LLama LLMs and its variants.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This would be a better answer if you included relevant quotes from your link so that people didn't have to read the entire work to see how well it fits the question.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 14:49

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