Saturday, March 25, 2017

the road to immortality ... well, sort of

Here's an article to try to get your mind around ... or into ... or something...

I can't pretend to write a synopsis.
 ‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality. In California, radical scientists and billionaire backers think the technology to extend life – by uploading minds to exist separately from the body – is only a few years away

Because there was something, in the end, paradoxically and definitively human in this desire for liberation from human form.


  1. This might explain a lot. I imagine that for a human mind-set to be able to accept this new machine body life, it would have to be "prepared" beforehand.

    What find most strange - and scary - about this whole idea is that it sounds like the process is more alike with copying (emulating) your mind into a machine body, rather than actually transferring your consciousness. If the later cannot be achieved (which feels to be a much harder yhing to do), then the process would actually result in you dying and an imortal machine clone replacing you. If that is the case, then you'd really be sacrificing whatever little life you had to give a copy of your mind to a machine.

    Kind of stupid, I'd say, but probably a good business for the machine makers.

    It's only ironic that I should have to prove not being a robot before posting this comment.

  2. Biology is a pretty sloppy way to get around, but putting a neurotic, instinct driven brain into a machine strikes me as a dangerous thing to do.

  3. Charlie, if you are suggesting implanting a biological brain in a machine body, I guess that might transfer consciousness and - in any case - the degree of danger depend on the mind's condition. Still, science would have to find a way to make the biological brain immortal.

    The article suggests a different scenario though; transferring the contents of your mind, without a word about consciousness.

    Are we - at the root of the individual self - mind (memories and thoughts) or consciousness. I'm inclined to say consciousness and - somehow - I doubt this would be transferred.

    Hence why it appears to me that, in the end, it wouldn't be you being immortal, but a replica of you, with you dying on the operation table.

    That sounds pretty dangerous.

  4. Actually, just a small correction. The article does mention consciousness once, if I remember correctly, as a byproduct of the mind, just no mentioning about it being trasferred. In that view, the material body and brain produce mind and mind produces consciousness.

    I'm not so sure about this view or whether it might be more accurate to say the material body and brain produce pure consciousness along the basic mind funcionality which then evolves into a more complex mind through acquisition of experiences, memories, knowledge and all.

    Either way, individual consciousness seems to be a byproduct and - as such - I cannot see how transferring/replicating the contents and processes of a brain would result in a transfer of the individual consciousness.

    A perfect carbon copy of an individual's personality at best, but still a new and distinct - however alike - individual consciousness.

  5. Was God Adam's Dawn or Was Adam God"sMarch 27, 2017 at 12:03 AM

    Since the body will be essentially robotic, it strikes me that it will need a set of first order rules similar to Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics":
    A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
    Off hand, I'd change the second law to a xxx robot can only follow orders from it's own mind except in life saving circumstances which do not conflict with the first law.

    Tiago there's a saying that goes "past mind is ungraspable, present mind is ungraspable and future mind is ungraspable." If one accepts these as a premise then a) you're correct in thinking that the original consciousness will differ more and from the clone consciousness as time passes. (Johnny Depp's movie "Transcendence" demonstrate this point well), b) while you may be correct in saying this uploaded consciously will not be the individual consciousness, it may in fact be so similar as to be either seen as a continuation of the original or as a new individual conscious that used another individual conscious as its foundation without ever knowing how much difference there"d be over time.

    I'm Not A Robot

    1. WGADWAG,

      You raise a few interesting points...

      I had written the last "robot" comment as irony, though it was slightly off topic.

      You suggest the Three Laws of Robotics as a response to the fears that Charlie raised, which is the prospect of uploading a human mind-set or implanting a brain with all its potential misgivings on a far more powerful mind and/or body. It's the same old fear about AI, that it may become simultaneously more intelligent and a threat to human existence. If we can deceive and pose a threat to each other, chances are that AI will excell at it.

      The paradigm here is that the authors of the project see this as the next evolutionary step for humanity, so - in their perspective - the three laws wouldn't make much sense. In their view, the "mechanical human" is still human, only more evolved.

      In that sense, it seems strange to take a step forward in evolution and "program" our more evolved versions to obey to the less evolved ones. We would, in effect, create a more intelligent and powerful subclass of humans.

      Of course, this raises again the question as to what the result of this process might be; a more evolved human (the authors' view) or a mechanical clone; a robot with a human mind-set? As I said, it appears to me that it would be the second.

      And yes, like you I would also imagine that, right after the process and presuming the mind transfer was made perfectly, absolutely no one would tell the difference, not even the clone itself.

      The original individual consciousness would just dissolve - like a ordinary human in death - and the new one would act pretty much as the original one, even thinking it was the original one. The original individual consciousness would still be iMortal.

      And that is my basic point here. The human desire to be transcend from the limited human body and become immortal which is fuelling the project would - in the end - be a dream that never came true, instead giving up its own mind and life altogether to offer immortality to "someone else".

    2. The only way I can imagine the original individual consciousness become immortal, instead of dissolving on the operating table, is by actually implanting the biological brain and, unless this biological material could be made immortal, perhaps by replacing its parts in a phased way until no biological material was left.

      Otherwise, in the way it is described, it sounds more like replicating a "twin-mind" as a foundation to a new individual consciousness.

      This view might not go down so well with those that flirt with metaphysical views that consciousness is one and universal and we're like radio receptors of a part of it. I'm more inclined to the opposite view that we are individual source and emitters of consciousness which then combines to produce a larger one (the collective Karl Jung pointed at), where would otherwise just exist a purely mechanical universe, as it may have been before the dawn of the first intelligent and sentient form of life.

      Could be wrong though...

    3. Bottom line: will this science result in human evolution and immortality or will it result in its extinction and replacement by human-like artificial intelligence?

      Kind of crazy and ironic to think we might actually commit collective suicide to give birth to something we have for so long feared that might one day turn against us.

    4. As to the question ask in your name, I would say Adam (first sentient) was God's Dawn and later God (collective mind) became the dawn of Adam's kinship.

      The whole may be bigger than the sum of its parts, but without them wouldn't exist, not in the same evolutionary degree at least; sentient.

      Just how I see it, I wouldn't bet my life on it, just as I wouldn't for some apparently half baked promise of immortality.

  6. I wasn't thinking of maintaining a biological brain into a machine. As you suggest, most things biological have a sell by date. But implanting a person into a machine would have to include all aspects that make that person who they are, their fears and prejudices, blind spots and passions. Would longevity allow them time to develop intellectually? Or would it delete the need to develop and impact the individual's compassion? Would boredom drive them mad? Biology is messy and unsatisfactory, but it limits potentials as well, and some limitation may be needful.

    1. Ok, I wasn't sure if you were suggesting that as an alternative. Well, again I question whether even the mind upload as described in the article would result and could be classed as implanting a "person" (with its own individual counsciousness) or merely copying and implanting a personality; same mind-set resulting in a distinct consciousness, that if the result of the later could even be classed as consciousness. Even today science can hardly come to terms as to what it is or how it is produced. How would the different sensorial experience of a mechanical body and the newly acquired processing power affect consciousness and therefore the evolution of the personality?

      Longevity might allow time, but would the new version be curious to learn or would it merely respond to commands or momentary necessities? Would it have the will to open its own mind and be able to adjust and change past views and prejudices? Without a beating heart, would passions, fears and compassion become stone-written binary setups or simply fade away to be replaced by complex calcutions of probabilities?

      Who knows...