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What is your preferred body to achieve immortality?


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Poll: What is your preferred body to achieve immortality? (180 member(s) have cast votes)

Read the choices carefully.

  1. Mortal: I don't want to change anything in my body. I want nature to take its course. (7 votes [3.89%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.89%

  2. Methuselah: You keep your original biological body, but thanks to SENS (or something similar) it will never age. However, you are limited by the human condition and are still exposed to other diseases and elements. (15 votes [8.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.33%

  3. Gattaca: Like before, but this time you have the option to genetically modify your body to become immune to all sicknesses, and to become stronger, faster, smarter and so forth. (Note: no chips or artificial parts are added to this body) (47 votes [26.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 26.11%

  4. Cyborg: Like before, but parts of your body are also replaced with artificial components (except your brain) so as to make you even more stronger. You also have the option to augment (add chips) to your brain so as to have a higher intelligence and to have a direct connection with the future internet or metaverse. (36 votes [20.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  5. Full Prosthetics: Your brain and spinal column is removed from your old body and placed in a full prosthetic one. This body makes you resistant to radiation and you have the option to modify it so you no longer need to breath or sleep or eat or have sex, and so forth. Like before, you also have the option to alter to your brain (add chips to it, etc). This is also the Ghost in the Shell scenario. (23 votes [12.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.78%

  6. Eternal Mind: You upload your mind onto the internet (or something similar). This way you can download yourself into any prosthetic body (or bodies) and you can be anywhere in the world. This gives you complete invulnerability because your mind exists in cyberspace and not in a body. However, there is the philosophical problem of whether this really is your mind or just a copy of it. (52 votes [28.89%])

    Percentage of vote: 28.89%

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#61 markm

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 04:59 AM

I selected Gattaca, but I'm equally comfortable with Cyborg and Full Prosthetic. I wouldn't care to lose any sensory experiences, sex for instance, but I'm sure technology will create new ways to intake these signals. Like Kostas, my end goal is to become a pan-dimensional being, but I'm not yet certain what technological path will lead to that point. I doubt we've even imagined it yet. I'm not yet comfortable with the idea of mind-uploading, because I can't satisfactorily resolve the existential issue of the upload as potentially a mere copy, and not a direct transfer.

#62 Dmitri

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 03:41 AM

Gattaca

#63 almighty

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 04:30 AM

not sure if this has been stated before but eternal mind is one of the few things i would not like, i would accept a brain in a jar with a computer interface but not a mind upload. As was stated in the poll, you dont know if its you, or if it is not. This is also know as the teleporter problem, startrek teleporters disassemble a body/person, 1 atom at a time, then reassemble them at the destination, nowhere does it say it uses the original atoms, infact its theorized that it uses random atoms and "destroys" the original. If i was to make an exact 1to1 copy of you, and kill you but leave your copy, is your concious still avalible? No, but i can speak to your copy, but say during the time i made your copy you got a paper cut, your copy would not know about that paper cut. Im not sure why this is a hard concept for some to grasp, but im working to preserve myself, not a copy.

Todd

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#64 fatboy

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 06:31 AM

It's probably just me, but I'd like to know why I should even want to be immortal (let alone if my life even warrants it)?

#65 JohnDoe1234

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:51 AM

It's probably just me, but I'd like to know why I should even want to be immortal (let alone if my life even warrants it)?

Do you have any passions? ambitions? Do you feel the thrill of doing exciting things? Do you have a sexual drive? Do you have any goals?

If yes to any of the above, I would say you have reason enough my friend!

#66 Cyberbrain

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 02:55 PM

It's probably just me, but I'd like to know why I should even want to be immortal (let alone if my life even warrants it)?

Do you have any passions? ambitions? Do you feel the thrill of doing exciting things? Do you have a sexual drive? Do you have any goals?

If yes to any of the above, I would say you have reason enough my friend!

ditto!

By nature we strive for life, otherwise we'd just lay down on the road. Some people are happy with only a sort lifespan. Others just love life too mush to let it go for oblivion.

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#67 VirtuaKess

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 01:51 AM

I chose Eternal Mind, my reasoning for this is I feel that under the proper circumstances one could be sure the upload is indeed truly you. This is how I envision the process taking place:

Nanoscopic probes are injected into the brain, these probes would settle inside the cell membrane of the neurons so that they can sense the firing of their respective neurons as the ion channels are opened. The probes need not achieve 100% penetration since the brain is highly tolerant to change and damage, and they can be designed for passive movement from injection sights via fluid flow. A possible way of constructing them would be buckminster fullerenes (since they have a tendency to slip into a cell membrane and stick there) with a carbon nanotube assemblage that uses the voltage of the firing neuron to send out a signal to show it's neuron is firing. Each probe would signal in such a way that it can be registered, and would have a method of receiving signal. This could be via a radio signals or radiation, since inside a faraday cage there would be little intereference from external EM sources. The firing pattern of the brain is mapped, and used to reverse engineer the synaptic connections, allowing a reconstruction of the brain in silico, probably in a solidstate neural network and not via virtualization. Communication between the virtual copy and the brain is setup, and the firing patterns of the two synced to ensure proper mapping or the synapses, once this is confirmed either a signal or another method is used to systematically destroy parts of the brain over a slow period of time. Because there is a communication channel between the in silico and organic minds, the function of the destroyed portions is taken over by the in silico, and because the switch is done over a period of time, the flow of conciousness is not interrupted, thereby ensuring a transfer instead of a copy. Once the last bits of organic matter are destroyed, confirmation can be done to ensure a successful transfer, then the chip can be put in any body media of choice, whether it be to act as a starship intelligence or an android replica of a body. Another organic body could even be grown to be interfaced with the chip.

A few assumptions are made here, that there is no soul, that who we are is comprised of the structure of synaptic connections, and that the continuity of conciousness is maintained by the perpetual flow of electrochemical reactions within the brain. There will likely be some personality changes due to the process, mathematical reconstruction is not necesserily complete, there may be some loss in the process, and there solidstate chip would not necesserily emulate the endocrine system, which could lead to a loss of endocrine-related emotions, though emulation of the endocrine system is certainly a possibility, it's just more cost to put into the chip. In my opinion, none of these changes, the imperfection of mathematical reconstruction or the loss of the endocrine system would make this no longer you, it'd be the same as certain forms of brain damage that result in personality changes. :-)

#68 Proconsul

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 05:42 PM

I opted for the cyborg option. I guess I would keep many parts of my body though, apart from the brain - at least skin, subcutaneous tissues and most striated muscles (of ocourse completely rejuvenated and biologically enhanced). I think I wouldn't like to live in a completely artificial body. As for the last alternative, the identity issue seems a problem. Your mind is not a kind of invisible substance - what often mistakenly is thought as 'energy' - which can be transferred somewhere else, let alone to a computer network. You may transfer data to a computer, but those 'data' are not you. If somebody copied your memories into the brain of another person, would that person become you? Of course not, because you would still be there, unaffected by what the other person is experiencing. He may believe to be you, but your identity would be unaffected. That's also the reason I think Tipler's idea that we'll be resurrected as emulation at the Omega Point is - forgive the wordplay - pointless, since that emulation wouldn't be you, no more than an identical twin with identical memories would be you. That's easy to prove, since in theory there could be not one, but two or even infinite emulations, all perfectly identical.

Edited by Proconsul, 04 February 2009 - 06:33 PM.


#69 Proconsul

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 04:53 AM

Communication between the virtual copy and the brain is setup, and the firing patterns of the two synced to ensure proper mapping or the synapses, once this is confirmed either a signal or another method is used to systematically destroy parts of the brain over a slow period of time. Because there is a communication channel between the in silico and organic minds, the function of the destroyed portions is taken over by the in silico, and because the switch is done over a period of time, the flow of conciousness is not interrupted, thereby ensuring a transfer instead of a copy. Once the last bits of organic matter are destroyed, confirmation can be done to ensure a successful transfer, then the chip can be put in any body media of choice, whether it be to act as a starship intelligence or an android replica of a body.


What if the original, organic brain is not destroyed?

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#70 VirtuaKess

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 06:20 PM

Communication between the virtual copy and the brain is setup, and the firing patterns of the two synced to ensure proper mapping or the synapses, once this is confirmed either a signal or another method is used to systematically destroy parts of the brain over a slow period of time. Because there is a communication channel between the in silico and organic minds, the function of the destroyed portions is taken over by the in silico, and because the switch is done over a period of time, the flow of conciousness is not interrupted, thereby ensuring a transfer instead of a copy. Once the last bits of organic matter are destroyed, confirmation can be done to ensure a successful transfer, then the chip can be put in any body media of choice, whether it be to act as a starship intelligence or an android replica of a body.


What if the original, organic brain is not destroyed?


There are several factors that could effect the answer to this. Is the silicon brain activated? Does it remain connected to the organic brain? Will it continue to remain synced to the organic brain?

Depending on these answers, it could vary from 'nothing' to 'mental enhancement of the original' to 'seizure' or 'congrats, your brain's been cloned'

The assumption is that the actual parts of the silicon brain are not generating their own signals until those regions of the organic brain have been destroyed. This allows the seamless transition of the logical component from the organic brain to the silicon one. (the logical component being the transition of signals between neurons, as opposed to the bioelectric signaling process, you can say that neuron A activating neuron's B and C is logical, the bioelectrical is active, and the physical matter is structural.) If the silicon brain is never activated, then it's a paperweight, if it's activated seperately, it's a clone. If it remains connected and activated yet passive, then it cold cause seizure, it could cause mental enhancement (as the two structures differentiate, the number of neurons for new and more complex connections is basically doubled), or it could cause nothing (since the signals are duplicated across both, no noticeable effects show.)

Without forcing the transition by destroying the meaty parts, then the logical transition doesn't take place. It's basically the same as having two occipotal lobes in your head.

#71 Proconsul

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 07:04 PM

What if the original, organic brain is not destroyed?


There are several factors that could effect the answer to this. Is the silicon brain activated? Does it remain connected to the organic brain? Will it continue to remain synced to the organic brain?

Depending on these answers, it could vary from 'nothing' to 'mental enhancement of the original' to 'seizure' or 'congrats, your brain's been cloned'

The assumption is that the actual parts of the silicon brain are not generating their own signals until those regions of the organic brain have been destroyed. This allows the seamless transition of the logical component from the organic brain to the silicon one. (the logical component being the transition of signals between neurons, as opposed to the bioelectric signaling process, you can say that neuron A activating neuron's B and C is logical, the bioelectrical is active, and the physical matter is structural.) If the silicon brain is never activated, then it's a paperweight, if it's activated seperately, it's a clone. If it remains connected and activated yet passive, then it cold cause seizure, it could cause mental enhancement (as the two structures differentiate, the number of neurons for new and more complex connections is basically doubled), or it could cause nothing (since the signals are duplicated across both, no noticeable effects show.)

Without forcing the transition by destroying the meaty parts, then the logical transition doesn't take place. It's basically the same as having two occipotal lobes in your head.


These are really fascinating speculations... I could spend hours pondering on these issues. Even if I'm afraid I'm not smart enough to grasp them correctly!
Now, what you are proposing, wouldn't be like creating istantaneously a perfect clone of yourself, where you are destroyed the instant the clone is created? If it's so, then the clone can't become you, even if you are destroyed. The fact that you are destroyed or remain intact and alive doesn't affect the identity of the clone, which is separated from you from the very first instant he is created - even if HE may believe it's you. But, if you are destroyed, you die. If you not, your identity will not be affected by the clone. For you, he would be like any other person. If you try to circumvent the problem by creating a bioelectric 'continuum' between your natural brain and the artificial one, then the latter will become a kind of protesis, but it wouldn't be able to exist independently from your organic brain. Well, at least it seems to me like that.

#72 VirtuaKess

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 01:47 AM

These are really fascinating speculations... I could spend hours pondering on these issues. Even if I'm afraid I'm not smart enough to grasp them correctly!
Now, what you are proposing, wouldn't be like creating istantaneously a perfect clone of yourself, where you are destroyed the instant the clone is created? If it's so, then the clone can't become you, even if you are destroyed. The fact that you are destroyed or remain intact and alive doesn't affect the identity of the clone, which is separated from you from the very first instant he is created - even if HE may believe it's you. But, if you are destroyed, you die. If you not, your identity will not be affected by the clone. For you, he would be like any other person. If you try to circumvent the problem by creating a bioelectric 'continuum' between your natural brain and the artificial one, then the latter will become a kind of protesis, but it wouldn't be able to exist independently from your organic brain. Well, at least it seems to me like that.


If the silicon brain is replicated, instantly destroying the organic one then yes, it would be a clone and not a transferal. The idea is to systematically replace functionality of the organic brain with functionality from a silicon substitute over time until there is no more organic left. It's akin to the idea of having a part of your brain replaced, like in the event of an accident if you have a chunk of your hippocampus turned into jelly and so you get an artificial hippocampus. That artificial hippocampus doesn't exist apart from your consciousness, it is a part of your consciousness. The 'information' that makes up your consciousness (the interaction between neurons) transitions seamlessly between the natural neurons and the artificial ones in such a way that the 'information' is not affected, so you are in effect both your natural brain and artificial hippocampus. If we systematically do this over time until there is no meat matter left, then the transition can be smooth and seamless from organic to artificial. That is the principle here.

Previously I proposed that there is an upper limit to how fast this transition can take place based upon the firing frequency of neurons and the time it takes for information to traverse the brain. Exceed this speed and you're copying, but go below it and your transferring.

Edited by VirtuaKess, 06 February 2009 - 01:49 AM.


#73 squ1d

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 01:19 AM

If I have given you the impression that I believe in a soul then I must not have been clear, but I do suspect that conciousness is unique to an individaul and bound to a body because I have so far seen no evidence to the contrary. And the idea that conciousness can be transferred is riddled with philosophical problems, the most basic of which are embodied in the questions I wrote in my last post. If anyone could please answer those questions for me then I feel like I would have a better understanding of where the "eternal mind" people are coming from.

Honestly I have found your explanation even more confusing. You seem to have confirmed some of my issues with the eternal mind, such as the fact that two copies of a mind would diverge into seperate people as soon as they started having different experiences. Well wouldn't they start having different experiences the second after they were created? So how is "making back-up copies" of your mind even possible? And while you say that there are "no dual-consciousnesses", dual-consciousnesses seem to be exactly what a lot of eternal mind people expect. In fact I think the existence of dual-conciousnesses is a critical element of the "eternal mind" theory. Without it how is the transfer made? And finally "two people with a lot of shared memories" doesn't mean they are the same person. My wife and I have a lot of shared memories but we each have our own distinct consciousness. If I die I will not perceive that I continue to live on because my wife is still alive. Neither would you perceive anything after death simply because there still existed a copy of you with "a lot of shared memories". That is not immortality.


Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID and specifically look at RAID 1. That is the simplest equivalent to what I'm talking about except imagine the mirrored drives are in two separate countries and are linked by a network.

Look its really not about having "your consciousness" continue to exist forever. At least not if we use your definition of a conscioussness which seems to be anything with a particular set of "memories, knowledge, and personality". Immortality is about maintaining an unbroken sense of continuity of existence. That may or may not be necessarily connected with what you are referring to as a "consciousness" but when I say "conscioussness" that's what I'm talking about. To me, that is "me". This feeling of self-awareness. There are plenty of simple thought experiments and even some real world examples that can confirm that two beings with the same "memories, knowledge, and personality" likely do not have the same sense of self. So when one dies they still go into oblivion while the other lives on.


I don't disagree with your points here but I have a few thoughts on how this can and must be done if the goals of those who gather here are to be met. Let's imagine the day has come when it is possible to run a high resolution MRI of a person's brain and upload their entire repertoire of memories, personality and individuality to a digital substrate (computer). You and I will agree that the digital copy might be neat but it's still not "them" in the continuity of consciousness definition. However let's imagine the technology advances a bit more and it becomes possible to hardwire a link via carbon nanotubes to each individual neuron of the human brain. At this point the computer would have instantaneous input that would let it keep the "copy" exactly up to date. If it allowed the copy to "run live" it might even have experiences and be able to update the wetware brain. However we're still not at the critical point. The critical point would come the day our wetware human decides his protein and myelin processor isn't going to cut it anymore. Perhaps he is diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's. Alzheimers, in a guy who doesn't even like to sleep at night because of the loss of consciousness and control it entails. THIS is the critical point. The wetware brain was already effortlessly feeding information back and forth between itself and the digital side of things. The digital side is a complete copy and so "it" knows that it is conscious. The meatware knows that "it" is conscious. They both are fully synced. There is no differentiation of consciousness between the two. Both are taking in the same sensory input. The "consciousness" is fully merged. At that point a nanosurgical probe signals a region of the brain not involved in the sensation of "me-ness" to undergo apoptosis (controlled cell death). Let's choose the cerebellum which is involved in balance and coordination. This process is done for the benefit of the nervous presumptive uploadee. No sedation or anesthetic is involved as he is fiercely interested in making sure "he" does not disappear in the process. As the biological cerebellum atrophies away perhaps over the course of a couple hours the carbon nanotube connections take over signalling the body to maintain balance and sensory functions.

Our subject doesn't notice the difference so he gives the go-ahead for the next stage. The occipital lobe is next. It is largely concerned with processing sight and the digital processor is far advanced beyond it's abilities at this point of time so switching from biological control to the nanotubes only causes a slightly increase in visual processing ability. The process continues over the next several days. At each juncture the man digitizes a piece of his fading brain. However he ensures the process is ceased entirely while he sleeps at night. Finally all of the brain has been switched to digital control with the exception of the frontal lobe. The nanoelectrical apparatus is controlling the autonomic systems of the body, regulating heart rate and respiration. It is the sole repository of his memories. It is processing new sensory input and storing it to memory. The frontal lobe of the brain is the section that has been worried since the beginning about the risk of it's demise. However the parallel model of it in the computer is just as worried. After all, they are identical synapse for synapse, input for input, output for output.

Slowly, and with the knowledge that there is no other way to ensure his survival the man pushes the button causing the frontal lobe to undergo apoptosis.

Twenty minutes later it is done. The body has not moved. He lets out a deep breath. Alzheimer's cannot destroy him now. Indeed, if he keeps live synced copies of his consciousness in multiple locations on earth very little could. If he launches copies of his consciousness in various directions across the universe - all capable of reintegrating and joining into a single entity if they ever come into contact again - he will have achieved practical physical immortality. And, he'll never have to sleep again.

I really think this needs to be thought out in a little more philosophical detail here. Or at least I need someone to explain it to me in a little more detail. I need the nitty-gritty if I'm going to accept this possibility. Right now it just seems like a lot of vagaries and inflated hope in the powers of technology. Its almost a religious faith people seem to have that somehow its going to work out. Look "eternal mind" people. I want to believe. "Help thou mine unbelief"!


I hope this helped a bit.


Explain to me then what would happen to consciousness if there were two individual substrates being made at the same time instead of one. Both in complete sync.

Where would your consciousness be? Who would you be?

#74 valkyrie_ice

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 10:34 AM

To be honest there are drawbacks to all of them. Even Eternal mind assumes that the computer you uploaded to will exist forever. Same with cyborg, full body prosthetic and other high tech solutions.

I see a mix of technologies. Advanced bioengineering to take advantage of biological self repair systems and the commonality of carbon mixed with internalized brain computer interfaces capable of functioning independantly of a technological base makes far more sense to me. Mixed with a record of your thoughts and so on externally as back up even in the event of a body destroying accident, it would be possible to recreate you with simple elements. The shape and function of that body would be a matter of choice, but with both biological systems and a backup, it has a higher survival likelihood than simple uploading or cyborgization.

True immortaility should not require high maintainence. It should be not require a potentially unstable technological base, it should be able to deal with almost any possible scenario required for survival, even utter collapse of the society that developed it. It should be redundant in case of occasional failures, with multiple backups that can repair or reconstruct the individual. And it should function without a single conscious thought.

#75 anderl

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 04:13 AM


I hope this helped a bit.


Explain to me then what would happen to consciousness if there were two individual substrates being made at the same time instead of one. Both in complete sync.

Where would your consciousness be? Who would you be?


I would like to interject, you would be both at the same time as long and both substrates are interconnnected. When one is plit off from the other then they become their own separate entities. It would be much like splitting off a piece of your brain and transplanting into to the head of another human being. Theoretically if those neurons developed synaptic links with the existing brain in theat other human it could access the information stored there disregarding rejection of foreign tissue and what not.

If we reach a point where we start to intergrate electronic devices into our brains. The electronically stored information becomes as much a part of us as any other organic tissue. After the brain has had timeto adapt to those devices what happens when you remove them? Disconnect the device but the synaptic links are sitll there the neural patterns still fire attempting to access the information that was once stored there. It would be as if a piece of you had been removed. Be it amnesia, or the respembalnce of a ghost limb the mind still seeks the removed part.


If my mind were to be backed up both my current self and the back up would consider itself the original and would refuse to believe it was a copy. Why I would choose Eternal mind is that there would be no physical limit to the space thaat my mind could occupy. Feasibly I could occupy an entire data center an entire continent. I could have access to a massive distributed network that encompasses the entire planet. Childhood memories locaate in Oregon, Mathematical prowess running on cutting edge servers in Zurich, while the concept of beign able to download to android bodies might be novel and nostalgic I think that most at that level will find it difficult and confining. They would have to operated at slower speeds, slower response, and could only put a finite amount of ourselves into those bodies. Think about trying to stuff personal computer level software onto a mobile device. It won't happen without excepting the limitations.

#76 .fonclea.

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 10:46 AM

shit! i selected methuselah but actually gataca is a better option. ;)

Erase just the defectives gene ok.... after modify your ability no thanks, i don't consider esentiel and sane to give the same skills, talents, .... to the all hearth.

Edited by .fonclea., 02 March 2009 - 10:49 AM.


#77 Evolutionary

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 11:21 AM

Cyborg

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#78 Infernity

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 02:15 PM

First, I voted Cyborg.


There is a great conflict with "Eternal Mind" as you describe it, because once you upload yourself, it doesn't keep YOU there forever. It's like copying yourself. Your thoughts will remain existing, but once YOU die, it won't even matter to you, which is why you have to maintain YOURSELF, and the uploading MUST give YOU the ability to keep it independent or something. Can you understand my point? Even if it was another you, it wouldn't leep you forever alive.


As for Full Prosthetics: It is necessary to have this ability, in fact, it is necessary to have the ability to form yourself into data that can be moved in the speed of light at least, and yet know how to reconstruct as a creature. That is for traveling and learning.
But by not needing sleep, food, sex etcw, I wouldn't like to give up on them, just on the need to it.

Hence, a Cyborg, fits to what I want to be MOST of the time. As for looks, an Icon of me, simply a young me that will be flawless.

#79 Cyberbrain

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 01:58 PM

First, I voted Cyborg.


There is a great conflict with "Eternal Mind" as you describe it, because once you upload yourself, it doesn't keep YOU there forever. It's like copying yourself. Your thoughts will remain existing, but once YOU die, it won't even matter to you, which is why you have to maintain YOURSELF, and the uploading MUST give YOU the ability to keep it independent or something. Can you understand my point? Even if it was another you, it wouldn't leep you forever alive.


As for Full Prosthetics: It is necessary to have this ability, in fact, it is necessary to have the ability to form yourself into data that can be moved in the speed of light at least, and yet know how to reconstruct as a creature. That is for traveling and learning.
But by not needing sleep, food, sex etcw, I wouldn't like to give up on them, just on the need to it.

Hence, a Cyborg, fits to what I want to be MOST of the time. As for looks, an Icon of me, simply a young me that will be flawless.

I'd probably go for cyborg too, at least for the first few decades or centuries. With of course a back up solution, ie an implanted brain chip that could download my memories and thoughts to the internet instantaneously in the event my body is destroyed for what ever reason. I probably wouldn't want to give up sex or sleep, but I'll probably have a different answer in 200 years :)

#80 erzebet

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 05:57 PM

i chose eternal mind. i feel like my memories is what constitutes me "me".
still i would like only one copy to be "waked up" at one time and the others "sleeping" then periodically upload the new memories in all copies.

#81 TigerMask

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 07:33 AM

Cyborg, but it's possible I may change my mind about that. Good thread.

My friend, not a member here, chose Gattaca.

Edited by TigerMask, 03 September 2009 - 07:38 AM.


#82 Akagi

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:41 PM

Gattaca would be ideal.

Eternal Mind is just copying data. You can no more separate a mind from a body than you could the heat from a flame.

As evidence, I submit this essay on mind/brain dependence:

It's long been known that specific types of brain damage can cause massive personality and mental changes. Granted, other parts of the brain can be removed without noticeable ill effect on the mind, but so can relatively unimportant parts of other systems be damaged--the knees, heart, etc.--without causing those to fail. And even those "unimportant" parts, when removed, often impair the system's function in more subtle ways than can be easily detected.

In general, the nervous system provides very strong evidence for complete mind-brain dependence. Conditions like Alzheimer's disease and amnesia can damage or even destroy parts of the mind in perfect unison with the appropriate brain sections.

"This patient, who suffered damage to both his hippocampus and his temporal lobes (thought to be important for storing memories) at age 46, has total anterograde and near-total retrograde amnesia: he cannot form new memories or recall old ones. He is trapped in a permanent present, a void of consciousness without memory.

Indeed, he has no sense of time at all. He cannot tell us the date, and when asked to guess, his responses are wild--as disparate [as] 1942 and 2013.... This patient cannot state his age, either. He can guess, but the guess tends to be wrong. Two of the few specific things he knows for certain are that he was married and that he is the father of two children. But when did he get married? He cannot say. When were the children born? He does not know. He cannot place himself in the time line of his family life. (Damasio 2002, p. 69-71)

(As Dr. Damasio tells us, the patient's wife divorced him over 20 years ago, and his children are long since grown up and married.)

Does this man still have a soul? In what sense is he conscious? He is adrift in a world of darkness, a blank void with neither past nor future, merely an ever-moving present that continually fades from sight."

Damage to the frontal lobes can produce massive changes in both personality and mental abilities. Brain damage can even produce a person who's incapable of acquiring new memories - in effect, a mind trapped in the same time and place, one which will revert to his or her old memories every 15 minutes and nonchalantly ask his loved ones why they've aged so much after 20 years of asking them the same question.

A young priest once suffered a stroke that rendered him incapable of feeling sadness. Formerly compassionate and empathetic to his leukemia-stricken sister, he now made jokes about it and didn't understand why he should feel guilty about it. As his father commented, "... He looks like our son and has the same voice as our son, but he is not the same person we knew and loved... He's not the same person he was before he had this stroke. Our son was a warm, caring, and sensitive person. All that is gone. He now sounds like a robot."

"This wrenching story illustrates how a human property as fundamental as compassion arises from the brain and can be destroyed by altering the brain. A warm, caring, intelligent young man of God, as the result of brain damage, underwent a complete and drastic personality change. He became indifferent to his duties, unconcerned about the potentially fatal illness of a loved one, even light-heartedly joking about it with his grief-stricken parents, who said that he was "not the same person [they] knew and loved", not the same person he had been before his stroke. "

The author of that article, which explains a mass of other difficulties and cites many case studies, closes with this apt statement:

"The materialist can explain the effects of frontotemporal dementia without difficulty. How does the dualist explain it? What is happening to these people's souls? Is the deterioration of the brain causing changes to the soul - or are personality traits a quality of the brain and not the soul? But that implies that these traits will be lost upon death. In that case, in what sense will the soul in the afterlife be the same person it was during life?"

Not only does brain damage harm the mind, but certain bizarre conditions can even produce, for all intents and purposes, two damaged minds for the price of one healthy one.

"Research shows that in such split-brain cases, the brain generates what seems to be two separate consciousnesses. Research on split-brain patients led brain scientist and Nobel laureate Roger Sperry to conclude, 'Everything we have seen indicates that the surgery has left these people with two separate minds, that is, two separate spheres of consciousness. What is experienced in the right hemisphere seems to lie entirely outside the realm of the left hemisphere.'"

I will expand on this particular point below.

Case studies in severed corpus callosum (the "split brain experiment" alluded to above) more or less spell the death knell for the soul. First, a bit of background on what we can learn from the different hemispheres in healthy people:

Posted Image
Left brain dominates for language, speech, and problem solving
Right brain dominates for visual-motor tasks


"1. Each hemisphere was presented a picture that related to one of four pictures placed in front of the split-brain subject.

2. The left and right hemispheres easily picked the right card. The left hand pointed to the right hemisphere's choice, and the right hand pointed to the left hemisphere's choice.

3. The patient was then asked why the left hand was pointing to the shovel. Only the left hemisphere can talk, and it did not know the answer because the decision to point to the shovel was made in the right hemisphere."

This experiment indicates both sides of the brain are capable of individual thought in some capacity, as if each one had an independent mind. Now we just need to find out whether this curious effect is merely an artifact of our consciousness, or really at odds with self-awareness being the result of a single, indivisible paranormal spirit.

Certain epileptic patients that don't respond to conventional treatment sometimes get the brain halves severed from each other. Amazingly, both halves can go on to develop unique tastes, preferences and beliefs. This indicates once the data link is cut, both can effectively function as "half a soul." In turn, this is quite difficult to reconcile with any remotely traditional model of dualism.

Courtesy of the Macalester College psychology department:

"Before the operation he integrated information between the two hemispheres freely, but after the operation he had two separate minds or mental systems, each with its own abilities to learn, remember, and experience emotion and behavior. Yet, WJ, was not completely aware of the changes in his brain. As Gazzaniga put it: "WJ lives happily in Downey, California, with no sense of the enormity of the findings or for that matter any awareness that he had changed." As previously explained (experiments), words flashed to the right field of vision of patients like WJ could be said and written with the right hand. In contrast, patients couldn't say or write words flashed to their left field of vision [even though they could pick out the object with their hand]."

One brain hemisphere is verbal but has difficulty with certain other functions, while the other can't really talk but has other traits that make up for it. Each of those can, in their own way, identify and describe reality around them, but neither hemisphere has access to the self-awareness or thoughts of the other. Splitting them produces all kinds of anomalous results, like this:

"The patients give evidence of having two differing minds. The best example of this is patient Paul S., whom you read about on the home page. Paul's right hemisphere developed considerable language ability sometime previous to the operation. Although it is uncommon, occasionally the right hemisphere may share substantial neural circuits with, or even dominate, the left hemisphere's centers for language comprehension and production. The fact that Paul's right hemisphere was so well developed in it's verbal capacity opened a closed door for researchers. For almost all split brain patients, the thoughts and perceptions of the right hemisphere are locked away from expression. Researchers were finally able to interview both hemispheres on their views about friendship, love, hate and aspirations.

Paul's right hemisphere stated that he wanted to be an automobile racer while his left hemisphere wanted to be a draftsman. Both hemispheres were asked to write whether they liked or disliked a series of items. The study was performed during the Watergate scandal, and one of the items was Richard Nixon. Paul's right hemisphere expressed 'dislike,' while his left expressed 'like.'"

In light of these and other facts, the existence of the soul is effectively falsified unless one postulates an enormous number of ad hoc hypotheses to salvage it from the data. A modus operandi that tells us nothing about truth, and in fact usually obscures it.

If the soul existed, people wouldn't suffer Alzheimer's disease, couldn't be anesthetized, wouldn't have radical personality changes caused by tumors, and would, if brain hemispheres were split, either die or show a mysterious, spooky data link was still operating at a distance to make both hemispheres consistent with a single mind.

The difference can best be described as thin-client/mainframe vs. personal computing. In one device, the "consciousness" would run on an inaccessible device some distance away from the client, getting its instructions from a network connection. Damaging the client (i.e. body) would leave the files and processes (consciousness) on the mainframe as safe as ever, but it would only produce erratic results in the client.

If a part of the client's processor was damaged, you would feel as fine and clear-headed as you usually would, but your sources of input from the physical world would progressively fail until the link was severed, at which point you would experience conscious, total sensory deprivation (assuming no other source of input was provided, this is a nightmarish scenario).

You couldn't lose any memories, personality and self-awareness, because it would be safe and indestructible on the server. At worst, you could only lose the ability to express it to others successfully as the body went, but it would affect all memories equally, not apparently destroy some while leaving others entirely untouched.

As a further analogy, you could destroy your client's ability to present Microsoft Word documents to others, but you could never find that a specific .DOC was missing on the mainframe from damage entirely limited to the client side.

This is not what occurs--in fact, the exact opposite is observed. People really forget things because of brain damage. Chemical changes in the brain can induce depression and other personality changes. Self-awareness itself goes bye-bye if you're knocked on the head, anesthetized or asleep. And, of course, the "soul" is somehow split in two, directly correlated with physical splits to the brain itself. Thus, there's only one conclusion you can honestly draw from the neurological evidence. You're not an indestructible entity using a fragile gateway to the physical world--you are the gateway, on which every single aspect of yourself is stored. Once it goes, so do "you." So enjoy it while it lasts.

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#83 Esoparagon

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:17 AM

Cyborg, that way I'm still biological but it's like having armor on all the time. I would consider going for the full prosthetic thing but I'm not sure. If having a prosthetic body ensured I couldn't die by way of accident, I might opt for that just in case. I'd hate to have an uploaded mind or be 'pure energy', I simply don't see the point in that. I want to augment my reality, not escape it entirely.

Edited by Esoparagon, 21 September 2009 - 11:19 AM.


#84 exapted

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 10:27 PM

Eternal Mind. Substrate is a non-issue. The brain embodies a pattern which could be implemented on a computer. There would be no loss of embodiment or experience. It would be as good as or better than normal in every way, except perhaps for the paradox of choice.

#85 JohnnyLi

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 10:40 PM

Cyborg is wonderful idea to me...And seems to be very real soon. I mean, to enhance your body deliberately in the market or so on. It is partialy availible now, but still not in the scope I would like to see. We'll see what tomorrow brings...

#86 Transcentity

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:48 AM

I'd go for full-fledged mind uploading, the fact that i'm limited to this single frail vessel already gets me upset.

Imagine wirelessly transferring yourself across the universe in seconds to occupy another cybernetic body of your choice through a main Nexus. By Nexus I mean a central processing unit of information which transmits scientific and strategic data and 'firmware' updates to each human.

Edited by Transcentity, 14 October 2009 - 08:50 AM.


#87 Cameron

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 05:33 AM

My choice is eternal mind, but obviously the transfer|upload would have to be done in a gradual careful manner, so as to preserve identity[The new substrate should also be checked for adequacy... i.e. say it doesn't have features that destroy and create replacement copies in non-gradual careful manner... in events like crashes or the like. I don't doubt that traditional computational substrates can sustain consciousness, but whether all such can preserve 'continuity' of identity|existence is another question.]. I'm not fond of the idea of simply leaving a copy of myself, would it really be 'I'(It is conceivable but not beyond doubt.).


In light of these and other facts, the existence of the soul is effectively falsified unless one postulates an enormous number of ad hoc hypotheses to salvage it from the data. A modus operandi that tells us nothing about truth, and in fact usually obscures it.

If the soul existed, people wouldn't suffer Alzheimer's disease, couldn't be anesthetized, wouldn't have radical personality changes caused by tumors, and would, if brain hemispheres were split, either die or show a mysterious, spooky data link was still operating at a distance to make both hemispheres consistent with a single mind.

It depends on how you define a soul. I tend to see it as the brain parameters|patterns that define 'you' as 'you', similar to the way a book's letters represent a story, the brain's dynamic structure represents a 'you'. We know that a book's story is preserved eternally[as an abstract possible arrangement of information], similarly the brain's patterns are also preserved eternally in an abstract manner. The question is what exactly makes one particular instantiation of said patterns 'you' and another not really 'you', as clearly the possibility of simultaneous multiple instantiations could be considered real. While it is conceivable that all versions are really 'you' but disconnected(The possibility of the same conscious being existing in two places at once is for example seen in time travel speculation. Where it almost never shows sharing of sensory information, one or both may be blissfully unaware of the other being present somewhere else, despite being the same actual being. e.g. if one does not know one's actually time traveled.), the possibility that only one instance is really 'you' cannot be completely dismissed.

As to the split brain studies, there are various possibilities. One is that 'you' effectively cease to exist, and two individuals with parts of your former self remain. Another is that you're one or the other, and another being just came into being[ which could merge together later on and maybe one or the other would cease to exist, both would cease to exist, or they could somehow merge.]. And a third possibility is that you're actually both, suggesting the possibility that all conscious beings are actually different instantiations of the same consciousness[which would give a whole new meaning to things like rape, murder, etc.].

Edited by Cameron, 01 November 2009 - 05:34 AM.


#88 ben951

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 11:57 AM

I choose full prosthetic and maybe eternal mind later if discoveries in the future settle the problem of pattern, identity and subs trait change.

I wonder why choose cyborg over full prosthetic ?
If I understand well in full prosthetic I'll still be able to have the appearance and feeling of a human body if i choose , like having soft (silicon type) skin that feels like real skin, a bit like the terminator concept with my biological brain protected inside and enhanced with chips.

I should be able to turn off those brain chips for a while if I want to feel the limitation of my natural brain again ?

And why in the hell I'm supposed not to have sex in that form ? I don't need to have sex i want to have sex :p the only problem I see here is that it might be dangerous for my partner if she does not have a full prosthetic body too since I might weight 400 kg and break her in several pieces in the hit of actions.

It should be possible to have a safety protocol for that and maybe it's also possible that the weight of full prosthetic body could be low with the use of kevlar like material.

Full prosthetic if i can have sex with any body type otherwise downgrade me to cyborg :p

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#89 Teixeira

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 05:06 PM

Most of the posts here are about the possibility of improving human nature with the help of thecnology.
Didn´t any body considered the possibility that the architecture of the universe includes the possibility of a natural (according to the laws of nature) and dramatic change of human characteristics toward a non-human nature, far better than this one? In that case we wouldn´t chose the features, they will come as standard, and ready to use!
Does this looks too strange? Will see about that. Take a look on my topic we will discuss that for sure.

Edited by Teixeira, 20 November 2009 - 05:07 PM.


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#90 Cyberbrain

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 08:02 PM

Most of the posts here are about the possibility of improving human nature with the help of technology.

Welcome to imminst! The largest online forum of enthusiasts and scientists dedicated to transhumanism and longevity. :~

Didn't any body considered the possibility that the architecture of the universe includes the possibility of a natural (according to the laws of nature) and dramatic change of human characteristics toward a non-human nature, far better than this one?

Yeah it's called designer evolution, the very essence of transhumanism.




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