The Science & Technology of Immortality
"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." Carl Sagan
The various sciences and technologies that have an impact on immortality research number in the hundreds, if not thousands. They include the computer sciences with an emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) and brain machine interfaces (BMI). Nanotechnology with its as yet unimaginable applications including Nanomedicine. Robotics, Virtual Reality (VR), and every field of Neuroscience. It would be impractical to delve into every detail of the work involved in all these different fields. Nevertheless, we can explore many areas that are of particular concern to immortality research.
First we look at Brain Preservation and Reanimation. Is it possible to cryonically, or otherwise, preserve a brain after death and then reanimate it to a degree that a new existence is a preferable alternative to death?
Next we explore the huge field of Neuroscience. Does it now, or will it in the immediate future, provide us with enough knowledge and technology to repair, replace, and eventually translocate physiological brain functions?
We then explore two other huge fields; Computers and Artificial Intelligence. Will these two sciences provide us with more information and ultimately interfaces that will allow us to translocate the human brain to a nonbiological substrate?
We also examine the science of construction at the atomic level, building devices and systems atom by atom. Nanotechnology. Will nanotechnology fulfill our expectations and enhance the incredible scientific and technological advances we hope for?
We then move on to Robotics and Virtual Reality. Can these technologies provide us with a new substrate to house translocated brains?
Can Digital Immortality and Minduploading resolve the problem of translocation?
A Caveat About Immortality
Being immortal does not make us indestructible! There will always be threats to our survival. Existential threats from some cosmic cataclysm or our own predilection for self destruction. Even when we become beings of pure thought and energy we can expect to encounter unimaginable hazards. Therefore ongoing research into the Preservation & Reanimation of the self is vital.
Table of Contents
Brain Preservation & Reanimation
Some immortality pundits predict that we will have physical immortality close to the year 2050. If you are in your early twenties or younger, there is a good chance that you will live forever. Or at the very least, for much much longer than you would today. If you are in your sixties or seventies there is a high probability you will be dead and gone. Unless you do something about it. For that reason, brain preservation becomes a critical issue to those of us in our “golden years.” More
"Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system." This simple definition while accurate, belies the complexity and breadth of the science. Today the hundreds of subfields of neurosciences involve every thing from basic chemistry and biology to artificial intelligence and quantum physics. While most neuro research is rightfully aimed at helping people with physical and cognitive disabilities, this research will also help to supplement, replace, or enhance brain activity along with the capability of relocating brain activity to a nonbiological substrate with the intention of ultimately achieving physical immortality. More
Not only have computers become crucial to modern life but if we consider that the primary essence of life is information processing, they are also vital to immortality research. While different computers could be put into dozens if not hundreds of categories, they all perform the same three basic functions: inputting data, manipulating data, and outputting data. This of course is the same thing that our brain, in its simplest interpretation, does. In addition, computers are one of the chief “machines” that we interface with. More
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Computers, Artificial Intelligence, and immortality research go hand in hand. The goal of AI research is to build a machine that can not only think like a human being but one that will ultimately be superior to the human brain. And it is coming. Some pundits believe strong AI will arrive within the next twenty years. More
So much has been written and there is so much information about Nanotechnology that there is no need for me to ‘reinvent the wheel.’ I refer you directly to the Foresight Institutes web site for practically everything you need to know about Nanotechnology. More
Whether a brain is made of biological, bio-mechanical, or totally nonbiological material, a robot or android may prove to be an ideal habitat for it. Therefore it is important that we explore the merits of androids and robotics as important adjuncts to immortality research. More
Like robots and androids, Virtual Reality can also provide an alternate habitat for translocated brains. Virtual Reality spheres or nodes, could be built to house reanimated minds either as an interim measure or as final destination for those interested in purely intellectual pursuits. It will be entirely up to the individual. More
3D printing is important to immortality because it facilitates other technologies that are relevant to living forever. Neural implants, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence and many other technologies will benefit from the advantages provided by 3D printing. More
Digital Immortality &
Let us consider Digital Immortality as a state of existence and Mind Uploading as the process by which we achieve that state. In addition, let us consider that Digital Immortality means existing in a virtual environment, as an android , or as an Avatar. And Mind Uploading is the process of copying or transferring a conscious mind from a brain to a non-biological substrate. (Adapted from Wikipidea) More