Please help me destroy my inner debate

I like bright ideas.

But the only one that seems important to me is how technology may lead to human immortality.

A higher intelligence.
Man and machine as one.
All humanity as one shared conscious.

My personal debate is this: Is it worth it?

Would it be better than say, a heavenly paradise? Would it be better than dying and fading into nothingness?

I mean, if I secure my existence, will there still be problems 500 years from now?

Would change continue forever?

Would there still be a desire for something more permanent?

If I had to remove my brain to be put in a robot body, would that been any less traumatic than death?

Would I always have to adapt?

On a long enough timeline would I even have a consistent identity? (Because without a true self, what would I be preserving?)

I ask you peeps here at ILP because nobody I know thinks about this stuff. Anybody I know is banking on a sure death. What I don’t understand is if they expect to die, why not do it sooner? Okay, maybe you want to be rich and famous and have fun, but your image will be forgotten, yes?

Why do people want to be remembered forever, but not live forever. Sure, the car comes at them and they jump out of the way by instinct. But in my view, they still have a death wish.

I’m no better than them, because I can’t figure this out.

I ate healthy all week, even boiled my water before drinking. Now I’m having a cigarette.

This is a big problem.
I want to let it go.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/

How exactly do you visualise this immortal life?

Do you expect to have a physical body with experiences of pain and pleasure as you do now? Or do you expect to have a continuing self as thoughts in a non-biological medium where self-preservation is never in doubt, although requiring some attention from time to time? What would be the concerns of your self in such a state, especially if you were not the only immortal, but everyone around were immortal too?

Immortality is something I have contemplated many-a-time. I’ll attempt to give my views on your questions.

Definitely worth it. A heavenly paradise can only exist in the minds of humans, and as such is only as real as you are able to make it for yourself (insanity). However, immortality can indeed be feasibly real, once our technology is able to facilitate it: transplants of any and all body parts; the use of robotic, inorganic bodies rather than organic ones; uploading of human consciousnesses into a connected web of computers; etcetera, etcetera…

Dying and fading away offers no real problem to me either, though: see my post on Questions for Atheists viewtopic.php?f=5&t=170902&start=125

There will undoubtedly be problems 500 years from now, but they will be of a nature that we are unable to predict right now. Immortality of most sorts will give us more time for error and experimentation, through which we could probably solve those problems.

Change is the only constant of this universe.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by this.

I consider death to be quite a peaceful process. However, back to the real question: I think that in order for the mind to be able to exist in such a robot body, the brain would first have to be replaced, bit by bit, by inorganic computer parts. Such a process would be gradual and, as far as I can see, unnoticeable. The final transplant of the computer/brain/thing into a robotic body would be the least traumatic part of the whole event.

Clearly, as the universe is in a state of change at all times, one will have to adapt to new circumstances, eventually.

I’m not sure what you mean by “consistent identity” and “true self”. One’s identity is always changing; I’m not the same person I was a year ago, and am radically different from the 3-year-old I was once. This is simply because of a constantly updated and re-evaluated experience of the world, which consequently updates the personality experiencing this world.

And the universe will also eventually die the entropic heat death or the gravitational collapse, thus rendering all activity ultimately pointless. Whatcha gonna do about it? :wink:

Firstly, as implied by the above, nobody can live or be remembered “forever”. Immortality in any sense will still result in a finite life-span, if only because of the end of the universe itself. I agree however that wanting to be remembered by everybody is rather silly: once you’re dead how’re you going to be happy that people are remembering you, or sad that they’re not?

In my view the answer to this question is simply that nobody considers immortality to be a feasible future, given our current technologies. They want to settle for what appears to be something that approximates to this: an immortality in other people’s minds.

Eat healthily, exercise lots, and then relax and have that drink and a cigarette. A fun life is one of moderation. :slight_smile:

A brilliant book that I think everybody should read is The Last Question by Isaac Asimov. Link to the e-book: multivax.com/last_question.html

Not really. You find you forget stuff. But things change, you change, and you have a consistent identity from one day to the next. So it isn’t a problem really. George Washington’s axe and all that. People say the turnover of atoms in your body is about ten years, see this for a few useful-looking links.

In answer to you both:

I, too, have used the phrase about change as the one true constant.

The permanence I mentioned above could be an experience outside the realm of this rule. Maybe a non-experience.

The other chance of this could be in the form of effortless change. The same tech that advances on the heels of logic would let emotions fade from the survival of decision making.

Emotional humaness is a good indication of how to adapt, but it comes to us in the form of avoiding other emotions, while attracting and attaching to other emotions.

This debate I’m having with myself is one of joining the progression with the very intent of losing what I know as human, or . . . going to my deathbed in my planning mind at the age of 30.

I doubt things would go on forever like this like you assume. History shows that the world will clean up the territory once in a while, so be prepared.

Death exists only as an unknown. Face that. You want to postpone it, because you assume it to be the negative of what you value. But look at it this way - life is experience, and experience is always the present. Time is a concept postulating a world of non-experience - past and future. Both do not actually exist, so neither does death in the sense of the end of a timeline.

Death may be a very different thing than the end of experience - it may be the end of the opposite - of identifying with past and future. It may be a purer form of presence. In that sense it would be “being” where life is “becoming”.

I’m just day-dreaming, but that’s perhaps better than boiling water before drinking it.

No one lives forever Kev.

With stemcells we may in the future be able to increase our brain capacity make us super savants.

I wouldn’t say that replacing ourselves with machivery would be desireable as it’s most difficult to implement finer motor skills into robots these days, as robots can barely walk, it is in a very slow fashion because the extremely complex motorskills.
Wtih stemcells we may be able to regenerate ourselves wholy should we be damaged, even severly.
Maybe in far future it would be desireable, as cyborgs would be much more sturdy and easily replaceable should we take damage, with a transfer able concious.

I think the telmores a key to prolonging our life, but not enough to sustain it.

It is worth it, in the sense that it may inspire others to do a greater effort in such kind of research.

Let’s not forget nanotechnology, even though it’s still busy making it’s first steps i expect that in a foreseeable future it will be possible to flood the bloodstream with miniaturized robots able to fix any damage in a matter of seconds, including cell deterioration…

But as fun as it may be theorizing about it, actual immortality, i think, would be a huge strain on the human psyche. Just imagine - the whole world changes around you, seasons come and go, climate changes, sceneries change: the only thing that always remains is YOU, an observer of life instead of living… Sure, you think you could change along with it, adapt - but that’s just on paper. In reality, you would come to a point of saturation, you would realize that you are becoming TOO OLD to change, most especially to change worldviews and your habits, to come up with FRESH ideas - you’d curse the day you chose immortality…

… and throw yourself into a molten lava.

Then where would the You be? The Self?

To me, that would be fading into nothingness.

For me, it would be more traumatic. I adapt alone.
I am not the Borg. :laughing:
That may not be any help to you.

I think you need to change a bit in your equation.

What if we could achive immortallity as being a 22y old the rest of eternity? Being young forever would be very appealing to me.

A bit? Easily done! :slight_smile:

I admit, i wouldn’t object being young and vigorous for the rest of time - but would i ALWAYS feel the same? I don’t KNOW immortality, and i don’t know anybody who is immortal, so i cannot really define what is it that i want… All i feel is a vague desire for the continuation of the present state, and as i’m constantly changing, the reward which is immortality appeals to me more or less, depending on circumstances… It would be a different story if I could somehow freeze a particular point in my life, a time of happiness, and then say that i want that state to last indefinently. But life is not just fun and games, it also contains misery, pain and trauma, and if a person is to live forever one can assume with reasonable certainty that immortality would bring unlimited amounts of both, the bad as well as good - but the human mind is more sensitive to trauma, the consequences of which can last for decades and impede one’s normal functioning. That is why i think immortality would eventually lead to PTSD and even insanity - our minds are not equipped to deal with it. Now, a gradual increase in human life span - that’s different…

Archangel

You paint a very dark picture of things, very old people in our modern world doesn’t grow mental illnesses as long as they have posetive stimulation that will outweight the bad, such as gran children, friends …etc.

I don’t think about it in terms of light and darkness, i’m merely pointing out that such terms as immortality are unknown to us experiencewise, so we have no basis to expect that it would be something utterly good if ever realized, without regards of our emotional affinities…

It’s about scaling up principles of already known behaviour of humans, it shouldn’t be totally unknown.

It all comes down to neurology if we can change the nature of decay of neurons.

You guys seem to all be making the blatantly false assumption that society rulers would ever allow you to live for any longer than they have use for you. As soon as you become clever enough to challenge them, they would be far better off replacing you with a clean-slate baby to program. So why would they even allow you to come close? You are a commodity and/or asset (a "Human “Resource”) to a socialist society and those who could grant you such technological extravagances such as eternal life, nothing more.

Would a Farmer go to the trouble of helping his cows get a college degree or read books on how to disassemble fences, build weapons or flying machines? He would do quite the opposite if he thought there was the slightest chance of them becoming free from his control.

Immortality is very doable (has been for some time). It will NEVER be allowed in public hands until you come up with a means to remove socialistic systems of governing. Until then, the technology will promise immortality but will lead to just the opposite - you must become actually less intelligent (more of a cog in the machine, a drone) even while being convinced that you are becoming superior and you must live only for as long as your body and mind are efficient and needed by the system.

There are no altruistic governors and Science is under their funding, not yours.

That is very likely. Even if we leave aside all possible psychological side effects of actual immortality, sociologically, the only way i see that could work is if the immortal can somehow preserve his incognito, changing his name and residence every few years - another problem most people grow old without. We can expect envy, fear, aggression if people would realize that an immortal is walking around amongst them, they would try to figure out how they too can become immortal… If they were to succeed and people stop dying all of a sudden - that would mean a huge strain on the basic life-sustaining resources like food and drinking water, and the planet would soon become uninhabitable… Also, there’s the problem of the Law of energy preservation - infinite life requires infinite energy - which is an impossible request and that makes immortality impossible. Q.E.D.