Indefinite life extension

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The idea that a digital identity can be a conscious-being operating under the digital mechanism, taking in case the philosophies of Transhumanism is not something unimaginable. The concept has been visualized by visionaries for years and is no longer a science fiction story. Some of the futurists believe that humans may/ will achieve immortality by the year 2025 by simply upload their minds to a digital memory stick. This notion formed the basis for the Global Future 2045 International Congress. The conference, which is the brainchild of Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov, fell somewhere between hardcore science and science fiction. It featured a diverse cast of speakers, from scientific luminaries like Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis and Marvin Minsky, to Swamis and other spiritual leaders.

So, in 2014, a collective called the OpenWorm project mapped all the connections between the worm's 302 neurons and managed to simulate them in software, as Marissa Fessenden reports for the Smithsonian [1].

Past

Mythology readings have been something that goes beyond the level of understanding of an average human, in terms of science and reality but to look at it in a way that surpasses the current science infrastructure is something that can be seen from the eyes of a visionary. To interpret the time dimension in the opposite direction, one may simply call the past, the future and may see things from a different angle. Mysteries of the pyramid, chariots, etc. may not be solved using the available set of mathematical formulas but then nuclear fission was also not discovered till 1934, which doesn't mean that it could not have existed before the discovery. The idea is simple, we can not neglect any science fantasy as per the science infrastructure available to 'us'. A large set of scientific manuscripts are not available to everyone which further should make us open to any such idea.

Transhumanism

The idea that, given the opportunity, we should work to evolve ourselves through means of scientific and technological enhancements, then probably evolve ourselves into a being who may become immortal either in digital sense or via a bionic upgrade.

Morality One needs to also consider the practicality of looking at each augmentation. A bunch of atheist Western scientists might conclude one thing, but then the religious right will conclude another while various cultural authorities will have their own conclusions etc. Who will be right? Who will have the right to decide who is right?

For example, scientists might conclude that uploading consciousness is the only moral thing to do given that it would allow people to exist and contribute to society perpetually. But would Christian or Islamic fundamentalists agree? How would cultures as diverse as those of India, Nigeria, The Philippines etc. react to the idea?

Unless we reach a point where the scientists are the only ones humanity as a whole defers to, with some sort of technocracy in place, there will be no end of debate and conflict surrounding the topic.

Digital Immortality

Carbon to Silicon: Possibility, and practicality, of one of the major tenets of the transhumanist movement — the intention to upload human minds to computers.

If we could replace each neuron in the brain with material like silicon, small sections at a time, you wouldn't know any different and you would keep functioning as normal. When your entire brain was replaced, could the information (you, not a copy) then be uploaded to a computer simulation for immortality? Could we grow cloned bodies and put your silicon brain into one of them to fully function instead?

China Brain Thought Experiment [2]

Suppose that the whole nation of China was reordered to simulate the workings of a single brain (that is, to act as a mind according to functionalism). Each Chinese person acts as (say) a neuron and communicates by special two-way radio in a corresponding way to the other people. The current mental state of the China brain is displayed on satellites that may be seen from anywhere in China.

The China brain would then be connected via radio to a body, one that provides the sensory inputs and behavioral outputs of the China brain.

Thus, the China brain possesses all the elements of a functional description of mind: sensory inputs, behavioral outputs, and internal mental states causally connected to other mental states. If the nation of China can be made to act in this way, then, according to functionalism, this system would have a mind. Block's goal is to show how unintuitive it is to think that such an arrangement could create a mind capable of thoughts and feelings.

Food for thought

- The idea of your consciousness existing outside of your brain comes down to different discussions, both scientific (as in, does the consciousness even have its own form that could be altered or transferred) and also philosophical/theological (what is consciousness, is it a soul, etc).

- Science has yet to be able to explain how consciousness exists, so we can't really rule out that it can't be created artificially.

- If a computer can host a digital consciousness, and humans can manually do anything computers can do with a lot of time and manpower, could a group of billions of humans acting as neurons in a network form a consciousness?

Sources