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View Full Version : A Digital Afterlife?



SkapePhin
07-21-2009, 11:33 PM
This thought actually sprung into my head the other day while I was out surfing. I am sure the concept just lay dormant in my mind from some sci-fi thing I had read or seen in years past, but I began to obsess about it.

Thinking back on my Psych classes, it would seem to me that if consciousness is merely a bunch of chemical process going on in the brain, it should be possible to convert those into electrical signals and upload them into a digital network.

This would, in essence, make us immortal - as long as the physical machinery is around to maintain the digital infrastructure. So if the Universe collapses on itself and crushes the system, there goes eternity.

There would be no limits in this digital afterlife, except for the limits imposed by the hardware of the system, so basically our consciousnesses would be able to create any reality we choose. There would no longer be any limits associated with the organic self. No need to eat or hydrate in order to survive.

Well, once I got home I did some quick internet research and its a concept that has been around since the 70s. It has also been mentioned in several pieces of Science Fiction including Neuromancer which I have heard of, but never read and didnt know entirely what it was about. I hope to read it soon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_uploading

This would also allow us to travel the universe and pursue further scientific studies. With time no longer being an issue for our conscious selves, we could inhabit robots in order to travel the universe and explore.

And if we could make machinery capable of maintaining and expanding the network, it may never run out of space to fit the gazillions of digital souls that inhabit the cyberspace.

So, if such technology became available in your lifetime, would you consider it?

In reality, it would probably turn into some really boring MMO after a year and Id just want to zap my consciousness into oblivion, lol.

Rafiki
07-23-2009, 02:31 PM
How are you so sure that you're not living in a digital afterlife right now?:ponder:

And if I did live in a digital afterlife, I'd live the same life over and over again never remembering the previous life. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

Dogbone34
07-23-2009, 09:29 PM
Did you bong out before hitting the waves?

SirDrums
07-24-2009, 10:30 AM
even it it were possible. THe digital "you" would only be a copy of the natural you. So you are still dead but there would be a AI that mimics you.

Jimi
07-24-2009, 09:21 PM
I have no scientific backing at all for this but thats a load of hooey.

Cool thought, but my religious beliefs would say conciousness is something far more complex then some neurons firing away.

SkapePhin
07-25-2009, 12:10 AM
even it it were possible. THe digital "you" would only be a copy of the natural you. So you are still dead but there would be a AI that mimics you.

It might not be just a copy. If the conversion takes place, it would still be YOUR consciousness. Just transformed into a new system. Just switching an organic chemical-based system for a digital system.

SkapePhin
07-25-2009, 12:12 AM
I have no scientific backing at all for this but thats a load of hooey.

Cool thought, but my religious beliefs would say conciousness is something far more complex then some neurons firing away.

If you study the brain at all, you will see that it all pretty much is. There are still some theories that certain things are controlled at a quantum level, but when it comes down to it, the brain is just a series of chemical reactions. That is why physical changes to the brain can change behaviors.

Look up Phinneas Gage for example.

SkapePhin
07-25-2009, 12:16 AM
Did you bong out before hitting the waves?

Oh ya, I forgot. science is looney toons, and religion is wholesome and completely rational. :rolleyes2:

Why doesn't anyone make drug comments when people say they believe that worshiping a 2000 year old zombie born of a virgin mother gives you a free pass to eternal bliss?

Jimi
07-25-2009, 06:16 AM
If you study the brain at all, you will see that it all pretty much is. There are still some theories that certain things are controlled at a quantum level, but when it comes down to it, the brain is just a series of chemical reactions. That is why physical changes to the brain can change behaviors.

Look up Phinneas Gage for example.

Of course its a series of chemical reactions, but there is absolutley no proof of how it occurs. Where do thoughts come from? No one has ever figured that one out. Sure you can track individual brain activity by electrical impulses but we do not know where they come from.

Sure we know some tiny little details, but to think we even scratch the surface on the knowledge of how the human brain works is foolish. This is why my beliefs sit fine with me.

HansMojo
07-25-2009, 04:27 PM
Anyone else watch Joss Whedon's Dollhouse? It's a show about these people (dolls) who have basically signed their lives away to this company (the Dollhouse) for a specified time (and for a boatload of money of course). Initially their personalities/identities/personas were wiped and saved to a hard drive so that they could be imprinted with a new identity (which includes abilities) each episode that allows them to complete whatever mission they are assigned. Need a spy ballerina with super kung fu grip. No problem. The Dollhouse just meshes together the necessary identities and imprints them on a doll.

Anyway, towards the end of the season there was an episode where this filthy rich woman had her persona saved to hard drive so that she could be "resurrected" after her death by being imprinted on one of the dolls. It was a cool concept. Brought up all kinds of moral/ethical issues to ponder (which is always fun for me). I remember thinking that if this weren't just sci-fi then you'd likely have the poor in their prime surrendering up their youthful bodies to the rich...kind of like an indentured servant but taken to the n-th degree. Although it is a very cool concept to ponder, I quickly realized that I would not participate because of all the moral issues this raises for me personally. I would have a serious problem using someone (especially to this degree) just because they need the money. It doesn't matter to me that they would be willing participants because you are actually buying a portion of the persons life...and to me that is simply unacceptable.

With that said, I can't wait for season 2! :woot:

Dogbone34
07-25-2009, 10:46 PM
Oh ya, I forgot. science is looney toons, and religion is wholesome and completely rational. :rolleyes2:

Why doesn't anyone make drug comments when people say they believe that worshiping a 2000 year old zombie born of a virgin mother gives you a free pass to eternal bliss?

My light hearted comment was a weak attempt at levity. But that was a cool rant on science, religion and weed.

SirDrums
10-10-2009, 09:38 AM
Rememebr at the end of the move "The 6th day" when the bad guy clones himself to try to avoid death?

Remember how the clone was walking around and talking just like the original guy while he (the original)was still alive on the floor holding his wounds?

This illustrated a great point to me.

Even though it walks like you, talks like you and acts like you. It is not you.

"You" cannot be translated.

JT-forpresident
10-23-2009, 05:19 PM
I have no scientific backing at all for this but thats a load of hooey.

Cool thought, but my religious beliefs would say conciousness is something far more complex then some neurons firing away.

yes, and religion also once said that thunder was god's way of expressing anger, etc. etc. ...


everything you feel, taste, think, smell, hear, it's all your brains, not some stupid voodoo conscience thing. A lot of people couldn't bare to accept this, but hey, who can blame'em, it's a boring answer after all ... :rolleyes2: