Is There To Be Dignity in Digital Immortality?
In the future, it is quite probable that when your body runs out, you can upload your brain to a substrate – that is to say; into a computer. Indeed, in doing this you would have digital immortality, as long as someone kept the computer on. Of course, if someone kept the computer on, they would have to pay for the energy, and perhaps they might get tired of that, or tired of listening to what you had to say, or the output of your consciousness.
If you downloaded your brain to the cloud, in essence you would be in heaven, living for eternity, but you had better trust that cloud not to go down, get hacked, or end up losing your memories and brain. Because if that happened your consciousness would cease, and if there were no backup, that would be the end of you. Okay so, here is the big question; “will there be dignity in digital immortality?” Will those which have downloaded their brains, in essence are still alive because they are conscious, still have rights? Who will defend their legal rights?
Will they be stored in some place similar to the Library of Congress on a digital basis, deep in the clouds, with no one to talk to? Will people such as their future genetic lines contact them and visit them perhaps by e-mail or through futuristic thought swapping technologies? Will all those people who are still alive in the mind, but whose organic bodies have died long ago, start their own social network in the cloud, able to contact each other and enjoying digital online social networking nirvana? Will they have voting rights? How exactly is all this supposed to work in the future?
Well, it turns out that futurists, science fiction enthusiasts, and even those at the Singularity Institute at Stanford are beginning to ask questions just like that, for which there are no answers yet, as we still don’t even know if this is possible, or if this is how the future will unfold. It is quite possible that we can unlock the secrets of life longevity, and people will be able to live for as long as they might possibly want. Perhaps 400 or 600 years, maybe 1000 years, who knows?
Maybe they will be able to upload their brains into a storage device just in case, backing up their memories as they go through their lives. Indeed, I’d like you to sit back and think of this scenario, and all the implications upon it for the next 15 minutes. If you have any questions or comments, I am available.