Digital immortality

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Digital immortality

Postby aburt » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:34 pm

Obviously a big longer term wish here. :) Be nice if instead of being limited to a body, one could move the locus of one's thoughts/sensation/etc. to a digital platform. Same (or better) mental capabilities -- not some watered down version of a human brain, but everything you think of as "you" except the fleshy bits.

Not giving up anything physical, mind you; the physical body would simply be a sensory input device and a tool to manipulate the physical environment. (Perhaps one of many -- why limit yourself to just one body at a time? Not to mention various other sorts of physical interaction choices one might have - virus sized, or wide area sensor nets, you could take direct input from a telescope [shared or personal], the choices are limitless.)

Once one is primarily a digital entity, there would basically be no concept of death like what we have today. Artists could continue creating art forever -- imagine if Da Vinci was still alive and working actively the past 500 years; this could be true of whoever goes digital. Imagine the depths of philosophical thought that could be achieved with near infinite time to spend on it, the depths of science if scientists could keep on working with ever stable and even increasing mental vigor instead of declining.

I realize this might not appeal to everyone, but sign me up.
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Re: Digital immortality

Postby RhodyDave » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:53 pm

A very cool idea, and certainly something that lies within the realm of possibility. Imagine carrying your physically deceased family members around in a flashdrive and uploading them to your computer/whatever and having conversations with them?

I would think this is something we could have in the next 50 years or so. Maybe sooner.
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Re: Digital immortality

Postby aburt » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:07 pm

RhodyDave wrote:A very cool idea, and certainly something that lies within the realm of possibility. Imagine carrying your physically deceased family members around in a flashdrive and uploading them to your computer/whatever and having conversations with them?


Better yet, they live their own digital life, and you hook up with them for dinner, movies, whatever, just like now. They wouldn't actually be "physically deceased" -- that concept would cease to exist. (Death would die, as it were.)

RhodyDave wrote:I would think this is something we could have in the next 50 years or so. Maybe sooner.


I agree, perhaps 50-100 years. If we can extend the lifetime of the physical body (anti-aging drugs, defeating the various major killers like cancer, heart disease, etc.), then we just need our single body to last until we get to the next rung on the ladder of a digital presence. The next rung on the ladder of evolution.

I suspect there are people alive today who will never die. More likely children, but who knows.

I can imagine in a couple hundred years people talking about, "Remember when people died? That really sucked." :)
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Re: Digital immortality

Postby Shanton01 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:08 pm

I completely agree and often think about the Digital Immortality idea. There is one thing that I can't seem to wrap my mind around, though. If we are a digital entity, we would be able to easily copy ourselves, just as we do with other digital media now.

You would assume that the copy would be a new, separate version of you, with all of the same memories and traits, but is it "really" you? Are you perceiving everything that is happening between you and this new copy of yourself? The new version will think that it is you, since it has your memories, but I would venture to guess that you would not have any link to this new entity. You and this copy would not share any senses, new experiences, or the like. It would be like asexual reproduction, whereas you are creating a new separate entity, soley from your own traits and characterstics, except this entity will think that it is you, and will share all of your previous memories and experiences.

Creating a copy does not worry me, I am just trying to get to my actual point, will the original digital transference of your human mind to a digital form really be you, or is it a copy that thinks it is you? Does your actual "existence" ceases to exist, or is it really still you? ...and how do you know going into it? Every digital copy will think that it is the original human, but how can it be verified that your existence is still intact?

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of digital immortality and am excited for the opportunities that it would present. I just hope that my digital copy, is really still "me".
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Re: Digital immortality

Postby crit25292 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:07 am

Ok, I realize that this is a very intriuging and interesting idea, and it would be cool if something like this were possible and agreeable. But, my question is, what would be the probability that you can virtually (or literally) rip a person's soul from the body? I mean the idea might sound and seem like it could happen, and will eventually, but for some reason it just sends shivers down my spine. I mean, imagine yourself in your body one day, and then wake up the next morning and be in a compleatly different body. This poses another question: wouldn't it take a while for you to adapt to the new features of the body you woke up in? I mean, it would be extremly awesome if you could gain the body of your choice by day, hour, or even minute, but the adaptations you might have to make to your mind to deal with all the changes in your balance, sight, hearing, and other bodily features are unfathomable. If we can find a way around these two problems- ripping the soul from the body, and adapting to the many different new bodies,- then this would be a very attractive idea that could eventually become the future population of the world. Another problem I can see that we would face would be that after a while wouldn't you get bored or run out of things to accomplish? What would be left if you could acquire the body you want just by thinking about it, and you can move from body to body to accomplish everything, each body having the abilities needed, wouldn't it be much better and make you feel more accomplished if you had one body that you acquired with all the different strengths and knowledge to do all the tasks you wanted rather than everything being easy? What reason would there be for life if you could have everyting handed to you? Please think about this again from my point of view and try to find the pros and cons, and see which side weighs more on this topic. I feel you may be suprised at what you find within your own mind when you try to go against your original thoughts and debate with yourself.
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Re: Digital immortality

Postby crit25564 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:36 am

Suppose a teleporter manufactures a perfect copy of you, but neglects to destroy the original. Are "you" the original? Are "you" the copy? In physical terms, if teleportation is perfect, there is no scientific basis to say one is more "you" than the other. Digitization poses the same question, but the copy might be different, worse, or better than the original.

Now, it is possible that the basis of consciousness is some anomaly of physics which is not copyable - but I'll discount that possibility because, as they say, "natural intelligence can be manufactured by unskilled labor". Or it could be copyable even by ordinary computers - but I tend to doubt that possibility, because it seems like there should be more to consciousness than a 6502 chip and a really long number in extended memory. Or it may require a method of computation which could be copied, but cannot be simulated by a Turing machine.

Going far beyond the purview of any existing science, I tend to favor the last model. Specifically, I'd field the outlandish hypothesis that a) the combination of quantum effects and the definition of "concepts" as perceived by the mind permit the accurate foreknowledge of future events (at least in conceptual terms), b) except in instances of pathological misdirection, this foreknowledge serves solely to create causal loops which are not determined by past events, i.e. "free will", and c) free will is an independent boundary condition of this universe, and serves as a bridge linking parallel realities in a spiritual dimension of time. (To make a simple analogy, suppose you have a machine that prints out the number you will enter into it five seconds from now. You pull the ticket from the machine, and put it into the input slot. What does it read? It is neither random nor predictable. Yet it affects future events. And perhaps in a parallel universe, someone did write the number you see).

In this way, we come to two different kinds of soul. The first, widely known as "atman", is the essence of consciousness that is shared by all conscious beings. A person who is duplicated by the teleporter in fact exists in both places at once, never remembering what he does in the first when he is in the second, or in the second when he is in the first. The same is true of ordinary, unrelated persons in the world today. The second, the traditional Christian sense of the soul, is defined in terms of a causal loop and may be unique, linking parallel universes (i.e. the "new heaven and the new earth" of revelation, or other worlds at smaller distances along this extra temporal dimension).

So the idiosyncratic model I'd favor is that digital immortality is only possible if one has discovered new ways of thinking and describing artificial intelligence - yet very near equivalents may exist naturally. The idea requires strange paradoxes - the indeterminacy of physics is required for a single fixed future, which is in turn required for the operation of free will, which occurs in a time dimension orthogonal to that in which we usually think of decisions being made! But it's the best model that I've been able to devise.
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Re: Digital immortality

Postby Miss.skye77 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:47 pm

Maybe this is just me being stupid, but why would you have to make yourself completely digital? Couldn't you just give youself digital aspects like a heart and such to keep you alive? And then you could perform sugeries and such to make yourself young if you so chose to? Or maybe create a sort of robot (but very advanced that was almost exactly human-like) and then keep your brain intact? Or does your brain actually ever die?
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Re: Digital immortality

Postby crit27393 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:04 pm

Or we could all be in brainvats right now and just think we are alive with physical bodies. How would we tell the difference?
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