Immortality: Serious possibility or just theoretical?

28 01 2011

Chris van der Hoven wrote:

I recently listened to a debate involving the philosopher John Gray. The proposition goes something like this: We suppose that to live longer (or forever) we need to stop the deterioration of the human form. But what if we simply ‘captured’ consciousness on a computer chip (and live in the matrix)?
If a digital model of your mind was created could you ‘live’ as a machine, or inhabit other forms, or inhabit multiple ‘bodies’? Could you be in multiple locations simultaneously? Would it be possible to ‘cut and paste’ the learning and skills of other digitally captured minds and consolidate them?

Could we freeze your body and send you off exploring in space with your consciousness on board piloting and ready to re-inhabit at different stages of the exploration?

Would a digital version of you mean the planet’s resources would be under less pressure or more? Would this form of ‘life’ only happen for computer hackers and the rich?

These ideas are of course theoretical – the stuff of Hollywood and Marvel comics. But science and engineering are getting closer all the time. John Gray and the panel don’t take this idea too seriously, but at the increasing rate of technological progress, maybe they should?

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