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Selling eternal life! Is anyone interested?


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Poll: Selling eternal life! Is anyone interested? (81 member(s) have cast votes)

Would you pay to live forever on a hard drive?

  1. Yes (18 votes [22.22%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 22.22%

  2. Maybe (22 votes [27.16%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 27.16%

  3. No (41 votes [50.62%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 50.62%

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#21 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 05 May 2011 - 11:53 AM

You have to take into account the presently unimaginable pressure of immortality.

A human's entire span of existence has traditionally been ~40-50 years. It's only recently that it has become feasible for any given person to expect to live for 80 years or so. Discounting the jarring transition from having a body to having only thoughts, how long could your mind really tolerate persisting?

Would you run out of things to think about after 200 years of being able to do nothing but think? And you wouldn't be wasting any time sleeping either. I feel like the human psyche would need to be significantly altered to deal with existence on the order of centuries rather than decades, especially with the risk of death coming from so many fewer quarters. Would a human mind, transferred this way, survive for all that much longer without losing a grip on sanity? Would a mind that can successfully last in this state be recognizably human at all?



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#22 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 05 May 2011 - 12:52 PM

You guys are trying to talk about a subject using an inappropriate jargon.

You're arguing about "identity".. whether you are still the same "person" if your brain contents are transferred to another medium. The concept of "identity" and "personhood" assume a world where it's not possible to duplicate a mind. These concepts would have to be extended to accommodate such a world, and how you extend the concepts (i.e. redefine the words) would determine whether two mind copies would be considered the same "identity".

I like to think that the second you create a copy (assuming that copy is not static or "paused"), you now have two unique identities that happen to have a shared past. Let's say your mind was copied into a robot. The robot would say "Back when i had a human body" and human would say "I've always had a human body".

That's just my definition. Alternate definitions of "identity" are perfectly possible.

#23 zedz   Members   -  Reputation: 291

Posted 05 May 2011 - 02:29 PM


A Brain in a Vat just posted what I was gonna say

if u copy yourself (say its possible & will last forever) i.e. u hold a chip in your hands & declare now I will live forever.
How much comfort is that for you, would you stick a bullet through your head (cause you know you will still live on) the answer is NO it doesnt change anything at all, your soul (not used religiously) dies when your body dies

If you want to live forever the better method is nanobots (or something)
cruising through your body removing all aging effects/disease etc

#24 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 05 May 2011 - 04:34 PM

A Brain in a Vat just posted what I was gonna say

if u copy yourself (say its possible & will last forever) i.e. u hold a chip in your hands & declare now I will live forever.
How much comfort is that for you, would you stick a bullet through your head (cause you know you will still live on) the answer is NO it doesnt change anything at all, your soul (not used religiously) dies when your body dies

If you want to live forever the better method is nanobots (or something)
cruising through your body removing all aging effects/disease etc


How do you feel that your body differs from any other vessel that might hold your mind? It's fine to say that you aren't using the word soul in a religious sense. Then how are you using it? What if it's not a copy-paste operation, but a cut-and-paste? The first causes a bifurcation of identity, but the second doesn't.

It's true that even if there's only a single, persistent entity before, during, and after the mind-digitization process there will still be a pretty significant event which will likely alter that entity afterwards. But is that fundamentally different from any other significant event, even if the body (as a construct of constantly changing components) persists along with the mind? There are lots of anecdotes about people who are quite different after a near-death experience than they were prior to it; are these different people under your (and Brain in a Vat's) conceptualization?

#25 Nytegard   Members   -  Reputation: 820

Posted 05 May 2011 - 07:13 PM

Living forever is such a waste. I do think though, that this could be useful in a manner such as We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (aka Total Recall) once you can figure out how to implant brain images.

Then again, this could lead to not so great conclusions. While being able to have an entire life's knowledge & education implanted within a young child sounds good, this is heavily exploitable.

#26 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 05 May 2011 - 08:59 PM

A Brain in a Vat just posted what I was gonna say

if u copy yourself (say its possible & will last forever) i.e. u hold a chip in your hands & declare now I will live forever.
How much comfort is that for you, would you stick a bullet through your head (cause you know you will still live on) the answer is NO it doesnt change anything at all, your soul (not used religiously) dies when your body dies

If you want to live forever the better method is nanobots (or something)
cruising through your body removing all aging effects/disease etc


Actually I may put a bullet in my head if it were beneficial! You need to realize that to you it may seem undesirable but to me it's actually more desirable then maintaining my current body.

#27 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 29481

Posted 05 May 2011 - 09:12 PM

Copying yourself into a computer, and then shooting yourself is pretty much the same as having kids (and giving them to foster parents) and then shooting yourself.

In both cases, you still die. A new organism lives on in your place. There's no connection between you and the copy.

#28 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 05 May 2011 - 09:32 PM

Copying yourself into a computer, and then shooting yourself is pretty much the same as having kids (and giving them to foster parents) and then shooting yourself.

In both cases, you still die. A new organism lives on in your place. There's no connection between you and the copy.


I agree, that's why I said only if it were beneficial.

#29 Chris Reynolds   Members   -  Reputation: 110

Posted 05 May 2011 - 10:02 PM

Copying yourself into a computer, and then shooting yourself is pretty much the same as having kids (and giving them to foster parents) and then shooting yourself.

In both cases, you still die. A new organism lives on in your place. There's no connection between you and the copy.


That's just not true - anything that carried all your experiences and memories would fully recognize itself as you. Sure it would be disorienting if it now had a robot body to adapt to, but it would still have inherent signatures like parents calling it a certain name, ex-girlfriends, education, loss, success, in all forms "identity".

Identity in this sense is not a singular term. It is a collection of memories that may or may not be unique. Therefore if two "anythings" had the same collection of memories, and operated on them the same, they would literally be the same "person" - certainly giving "person" a modified definition as well.


#30 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 29481

Posted 05 May 2011 - 10:13 PM

I mean in regards to shooting yourself though --- whether or not there is another organism out there that recognises itself as having the same identity as you is irrelevant.

The outcome of your suicide is that you die. Just as before your death, you and the copy did not occupy a merged conciousness, after your death, your own conciousness will still be disconnected from the copy's.
[edit]Just as that morning how you would wake up in your own body (not the copy's), the morning after shooting yourself you still won't wake up in the copy's body[/edit]

The only definition of identity that matters here is as "an instance of conciousness". When the copy process occurs, your instance is cloned so there's now two instances. At that point they instantly fork and become distinctly different identities (albeit with a shared history). When you die, you're still destroying your own identity / conciousness -- and at the point of death there's no connection between your current identity / conciousness and the clone's identity / conciousness.

#31 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 06 May 2011 - 12:12 AM

I mean in regards to shooting yourself though --- whether or not there is another organism out there that recognises itself as having the same identity as you is irrelevant.

The outcome of your suicide is that you die. Just as before your death, you and the copy did not occupy a merged conciousness, after your death, your own conciousness will still be disconnected from the copy's.
[edit]Just as that morning how you would wake up in your own body (not the copy's), the morning after shooting yourself you still won't wake up in the copy's body[/edit]

The only definition of identity that matters here is as "an instance of conciousness". When the copy process occurs, your instance is cloned so there's now two instances. At that point they instantly fork and become distinctly different identities (albeit with a shared history). When you die, you're still destroying your own identity / conciousness -- and at the point of death there's no connection between your current identity / conciousness and the clone's identity / conciousness.



I see my life as finite but what I do during my lifetime is what really matters. If I could do something right now that would have a lasting positive effect on the world but result in my death it would be worth it to me since I am guaranteed death but I am not guaranteed greatness.

#32 GMuser   Members   -  Reputation: 211

Posted 06 May 2011 - 03:13 AM

It's not the same thing logically to think you would be living forever on the hard drive. Do you expect to feel your consciousness on the hard drive copy ? Would you be controlling both your real world and hard drive copy? There would be two consciousnesses, two sets of self awareness and two sets of individual thoughts. It's really not the same thing at all. And that assumes it works at all.

#33 Tachikoma   Members   -  Reputation: 552

Posted 06 May 2011 - 09:26 AM

Storing your brain on a disk is nothing but an inert copy. Pretty useless, unless the copy is executed in a system that gives it self awareness.

Also, you can not transfer your own self onto a different medium. The moment the copy is 'alive', it will be an independent sentient being, with its own unique experiences. It may have your memories, but it will be no longer you.
Latest project: Sideways Racing on the iPad

#34 owl   Banned   -  Reputation: 364

Posted 06 May 2011 - 09:49 AM

Storing your brain on a disk is nothing but an inert copy. Pretty useless, unless the copy is executed in a system that gives it self awareness.

Also, you can not transfer your own self onto a different medium. The moment the copy is 'alive', it will be an independent sentient being, with its own unique experiences. It may have your memories, but it will be no longer you.


Gradually replacing one's brain cells with synthetic ones could do the trick there. Still, all the hormonal influence that is a big deal in relation to one's temperament would be missing.
I like the Walrus best.

#35 Matias Goldberg   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3137

Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:14 AM

I'm surprised no one mentioned Tron.

Hard disks do crash, you know? And as it's already been said, an HDD lifespan is shorter than an average person life.

I think hundreds of terabytes is just too little to store human brain's information



#36 SuperVGA   Members   -  Reputation: 1118

Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:41 AM

How would your brain cells interact with one another? We'd need software that can actually interpret the very-very vague charges in every cell. Obviously, sooner or later we'll see if the interpretation is fullfilling, and maybe expand with an extra opcode or two...

D*mn i hope the developers practice clean and stable code...

#37 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 06 May 2011 - 03:08 PM

I'm surprised no one mentioned Tron.

Hard disks do crash, you know? And as it's already been said, an HDD lifespan is shorter than an average person life.

I think hundreds of terabytes is just too little to store human brain's information



If we store an image of each neuron at a resolution of 512x512x512 with 64 bits per pixel before compression the image of an entire brain would be 97,656,250 terabytes. That is of course the maximum possible space requirement. I am quite sure images could be compressed a great deal and would take up no more then 100 petabytes but this is obviously still far to much to fit on a hard drive so the weights and connections would need to be interpreted as each neuron is scanned. If this information could be extracted a full diagram of a human brain would likely take up no more than 1 terabyte but to extract that information would require a large neural network to visually interpret each neuron.

#38 dublindan   Members   -  Reputation: 457

Posted 06 May 2011 - 05:44 PM


You wouldn't live forever... the copy of you on the computer might though.

It's essentially the same thing



No, its not. Think of it this way: when you create the artificial "you" but don't die yourself, there are now two of "you". You will look at it and say "here is a copy of me", but the original will still be "you". Your consciousness will not be transferred - only your memories. When the original dies, the copy will still exist, sure, but what you identify as yourself - your consciousness and sense of self - will have died along with the copy.

If I can exist at the same time as something else - that something else cannot be "me".


FWIW, an artificial neural network only approximates the operation of neurons in a biological brain. There is a lot more going on in a brains neuron than you would think - both electrical and chemical processes. To create a copy of a complex living organism is still way way beyond us. Making such a copy take on the originals consciousness and sense of self is something I doubt will ever be possible. Religious people would say that you may be able to create an exact copy of the body, but you cannot transfer the soul. I believe that consciousness is created by something religion refers to as a "soul" - whatever that may be. Maybe one day we will be able to explain it scientifically, and maybe then we will be able to live forever by transferring it into a new body, but if it will ever be possible at all, it will be long after our lifetimes.


However, the technology for full immersion virtual reality may well be possible in the not *too* distant future. I'm told by a good friend of mine, who is doing research in brain-computer interfacing and has spent a lot of time hanging out with neuroscientists, tells me that bidirectional brain interfacing isn't all that far off, but that ethical issues will likely hold it back (eg, how do you perform the initial tests required for an invasive brain interface when doing so could seriously damage the brain, injuring or killing the subject).


Storing your brain on a disk is nothing but an inert copy. Pretty useless, unless the copy is executed in a system that gives it self awareness.

Also, you can not transfer your own self onto a different medium. The moment the copy is 'alive', it will be an independent sentient being, with its own unique experiences. It may have your memories, but it will be no longer you.


Gradually replacing one's brain cells with synthetic ones could do the trick there. Still, all the hormonal influence that is a big deal in relation to one's temperament would be missing.

This is an interesting possibility which may or may not be possible in the future. Repairing your existing body may well extend your life indefinitely and is very different from creating a copy like the OP suggested.

I don't know if I would want to live forever though (longer perhaps, but not forever) - think of the overcrowding! (Presumably we will have technology to terraform other planets then, but I think we will probably annihilate each other in a big war first - more people = more conflict and poverty = more destruction and death).

#39 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 06 May 2011 - 06:15 PM

I feel like I'm always recommending stuff for people to read, but I have another recommendation relevant to this thread. A Thousand Deaths is a short story by Orson Scott Card that involves a lot of stuff here, particularly the original dying. Fat Farm is another good one related to this, same author.

#40 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 06 May 2011 - 07:31 PM



You wouldn't live forever... the copy of you on the computer might though.

It's essentially the same thing



No, its not. Think of it this way: when you create the artificial "you" but don't die yourself, there are now two of "you". You will look at it and say "here is a copy of me", but the original will still be "you". Your consciousness will not be transferred - only your memories. When the original dies, the copy will still exist, sure, but what you identify as yourself - your consciousness and sense of self - will have died along with the copy.

If I can exist at the same time as something else - that something else cannot be "me".


FWIW, an artificial neural network only approximates the operation of neurons in a biological brain. There is a lot more going on in a brains neuron than you would think - both electrical and chemical processes. To create a copy of a complex living organism is still way way beyond us. Making such a copy take on the originals consciousness and sense of self is something I doubt will ever be possible. Religious people would say that you may be able to create an exact copy of the body, but you cannot transfer the soul. I believe that consciousness is created by something religion refers to as a "soul" - whatever that may be. Maybe one day we will be able to explain it scientifically, and maybe then we will be able to live forever by transferring it into a new body, but if it will ever be possible at all, it will be long after our lifetimes.


However, the technology for full immersion virtual reality may well be possible in the not *too* distant future. I'm told by a good friend of mine, who is doing research in brain-computer interfacing and has spent a lot of time hanging out with neuroscientists, tells me that bidirectional brain interfacing isn't all that far off, but that ethical issues will likely hold it back (eg, how do you perform the initial tests required for an invasive brain interface when doing so could seriously damage the brain, injuring or killing the subject).


Storing your brain on a disk is nothing but an inert copy. Pretty useless, unless the copy is executed in a system that gives it self awareness.

Also, you can not transfer your own self onto a different medium. The moment the copy is 'alive', it will be an independent sentient being, with its own unique experiences. It may have your memories, but it will be no longer you.


Gradually replacing one's brain cells with synthetic ones could do the trick there. Still, all the hormonal influence that is a big deal in relation to one's temperament would be missing.

This is an interesting possibility which may or may not be possible in the future. Repairing your existing body may well extend your life indefinitely and is very different from creating a copy like the OP suggested.

I don't know if I would want to live forever though (longer perhaps, but not forever) - think of the overcrowding! (Presumably we will have technology to terraform other planets then, but I think we will probably annihilate each other in a big war first - more people = more conflict and poverty = more destruction and death).


There is no evidence for this thing you call a soul and it completely contradicts even abstract logic. Where is this soul? I can cut off a person's arms and legs yet their soul is not gone. I can replace organs with new ones yet the person never takes on the personality of the donor. Obviously it must be in their head. If I preform a lobotomy on them they still have feelings, thoughts, and memories. If I cut off their cerebellum they simply have severe problems with motor skills but again they have complex thoughts and feelings.

I can do this for many parts of the brain yet they still exhibit thoughts and feelings. When I get into the limbic system suddenly I am having an effect on this thing they call a soul. But wait... What's this... When I cut out different parts the individual only loses aspects of their soul... It's almost as if this is some type of biological system?! Posted Image But I thought souls ran on magic and pixie dust?!




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