If it were possible to digitally live forever, would you want to?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by RawBert, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. RawBert macrumors 68000

    RawBert

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    #1
    About five years ago, I read a very interesting article. It said that within 50 years, technology would give us the ability to download the human brain into a computer.

    Ever since then, I have wondered and imagined what this means for humankind.

    Once a person’s memories, personality, consciousness, imagination, etc… have been turned into data, the possibilities are endless. For example, we can have robot bodies and interact in the real world or live as programs within a main operating system, as in The Matrix. Eventually, when your hardware gets old, you can simply load yourself into another machine. We can even travel across the universe without the limitations of a human body.

    Of course, problems may arise if or when we get to this point such as viruses and who knows what else. But it is a real possibility. I’m 31 now and by the time I get close to the end of my lifespan, I might have the choice. That’s if I can afford it.

    The question is - would I want to? Initially I thought, “Of course.” But now I’m not so sure. The whole idea is kind of weird. Another thought is – what if this is what John was talking about in The Book of Revelations? Now, I’m no religious nut. But I do believe in God. I wouldn’t want to defy Him just for a (neurotic) need to keep living – artificially. I know that last part sounds crazy, but…

    If you had this option, would you consider it?:confused:
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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  3. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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  4. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #5
    Yes, I would be immortal, and have access to google at any moment in time.
     
  5. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #6
    What, so our entire consciousness digitized? I'm not sure how they could extricate the intricacies our minds from our bodies because so much of it is inseparable... but okay, lets say it is somehow possible.

    I don't think so but it may depend on a lot of factors which are nothing but fiction right now. I'm an atheist so the god factor doesn't daunt me but I have my reasons for thinking this has bad idea written all over it. The main reason I might consider it is if there is a possibility of easing curiosity, to learn what becomes of life on earth, other planets, etc. Given limited (real) information, at this point all I really would want out of it is knowledge.
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #8
    No- I am not religious and don't believe in an afterlife either. Who would want to live forever? How boring that would get after a while. It would be torture.
     
  7. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #9
    ANOTHER immortality thread (albeit in different format). This topic just won't die!
     
  8. MacRy macrumors 68040

    MacRy

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    #10
    Great question!

    One thing in life that really bothers me is the fact that I won't be around to see what technological and sociological advances humanity will make in the future. I hear all of these futurologists predictions and think "That is going to be so cool......but I won't get to see it!" So from that point of view I would go for it in a heartbeat. But then another part of me worries that I would become trapped within my own consciousness forever and never be able to do anything about it which would pretty much blow so i'm not so sure. Interesting concept though. I'm going to say.....yes.
     
  9. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502

    Ca$hflow

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    #11
    It would really only be a simulation of me. What about my spirit. The is no way a machine can replace that. An archive of your past, perhaps. Your spirit, no.
     
  10. RawBert thread starter macrumors 68000

    RawBert

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    #12
    Pun intended?
     
  11. pilotError macrumors 68020

    pilotError

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    #13
    As someone already mentioned, you just stumbled upon the plot to Caprica on the Syfy Channel.
     
  12. GSMiller macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

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    #14
    We encounter that risk on a day to day basis with our organic bodies anyway.
     
  13. quadG5guy macrumors member

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    #15
    There's a big difference between merely downloading, (i.e. storing the content), and putting that content into another vessel that will allow you and your conscience to "keep living".

    Download the content of a brain is just storing its content. Like ripping a Nintendo Cartridge into a ROM file. The ROM file in and of itself is not terribly useful. You need a Nintendo Emulator program to use it. Likewise, you would need a "brain emulator" or "conscience emulator" to make use of the stored content downloaded from a brain. That technology is many centuries away, if it's even possible.

    The brain is the least understood part of the human body, and intangible things like conscience even less so.
     
  14. MacRy macrumors 68040

    MacRy

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    #16
    Indeed. We need to determine what consciousness is in the first instance. Is it a result of the collection of our memories and synapses or something altogether more abstract?
     
  15. Antares macrumors 68000

    Antares

    #17
    This topic has been covered in a lot of movies and tv shows. I, for one, wouldn't mind my consciousness being downloaded into a fully functioning android body. To a lesser degree...a computer. That way, a form of me would continue forever.

    However, you need to realize that there is a major catch this concept. The problem is, you are only creating a copy. Unless you preserve your original brain, intact, and that brain continues to operate indefinitely, your original consciousness will not continue. If you "digitally downloaded" your brain, a copy of you would exist. However, your current self would never get to "live on."....you (your current self) would cease to exist once your original brain died. You (your original self) would never get to experience what your copy would experience. You would not live on. Only a copy of you would live on.

    What I would ideally want is a way for my current brain to live on forever. Perhaps my living brain could be transplanted into an android body. I would technically become a cyborg, then, I guess.

    My point is, you can (rather, someday will be able to) create a copy of your consciousness, with all of your memories, all of your skills, all of your personality. However, you will never be able to transfer your consciousness. Unless you preserve your original functioning brain, your original self will cease to exist.
     
  16. quadG5guy macrumors member

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    #18
    Good points about "making a copy". Quite true, you would die, and your copy would live on. That's a very different thing from YOU continuing to live.

    But a brain transplant is not just the one organ. The brain, brain stem, spinal cord, and entire body's nervous system are one and the same. You might be able to attach the nerve ending in a wrist onto a bionic hand which your brain could control, but that's completely different from *replacing* all of the nerves in the body with electrical counterparts.

    Aside from that, even if you could transplant your brain, you would still end up with age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer's. You would be a forgetful senile old man in a robotic body.
     
  17. andalusia macrumors 68030

    andalusia

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    #19
    I think I'll pass... I'd rather die naturally thanks.
     
  18. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #20
    I think the point was that your consciousness would be transferred, in other words, your sense of self, that which makes you, you. The meat is immaterial in this case. Whether 'tis a copy or not, you would still have your own memories, experience, and thought patterns, assuming any of this were possible in the first place.

    And yes, I realize that the organic makeup of the grey matter and how any two neurons may connect plays some unknown part in how you perceive yourself and all, but as this is just a thought experiment and not a practical exercise, I think we can let it pass.

    Roddenberry called it "suspension of disbelief." ;)
     
  19. Kenzembo1 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    +1
     
  20. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    The promise of death is what makes life worth living. Immortality would be the equivalent of eating pizza for every meal for the rest of your life. Barf.

    Besides I'm holding out for head in a jar tech..

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

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  22. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #24
    Nope, dying is part of the natural world. The truth is, no one knows what exactly what consciousness is -- or has a full understanding of how the universe works. I'm tired of people claiming to "know" what absolutely cannot be proven one way or the other.
     
  23. King Mook Mook macrumors 6502

    #25
    No! I would not want to live like that! I'll die naturally and normally thanks.

    And also another thing that hasn't popped up:

    Let's say that we copy my brain into a robot body and it works. However I am still naturally alive so am I conscious in the robot body or my natural one? The way I see it, how could you move your consciousness out of your current body if your brain etc. was still there?
     

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