July 16, 2008

‘Upload’ Yourself and Live Forever

Most of us easily accept to view the body part of us as a ‘machine’. But, what about our consciousness? What about our feelings, memories-------? Some people, they are very famous scientists and technologists, think that our consciousness too is a kind of ‘machine’. They say that it is a very complex ‘software’! So our body is the hardware and our consciousness the software. We are nothing more than the complex 'wiring' and '0' and '1' bits! Our senses, experiences and memories are the programs stored inside us. When you say something bad to me, some ‘switch’ inside me gets triggered, a program which makes me angry gets executed and I become ‘angry’! That simple! And another program will also be created which will remind me of this incident in future too. Fire executes another program and you feel heat and pain. It goes on like that!

Funny? Do you think this is just a joke that I am making as I couldn’t write anything new?

There is some serious discussion going on. Some people think that we can upload ourselves to a chip! One day computers will be so powerful that brain-machine interaction will be as common as photocopying. Then you can upload all of your memories, feelings etc. to a chip. Or you may choose to upload the good memories only. You will not have to live in your body. But you will be able to feel and enjoy your existence because you have uploaded yourself to a new body, a chip. If you continue to live in your ‘physiological’ body, it will die one day and your existence will die with it too. But if you live in a chip, you can live ‘forever’. But wait, someone can ‘delete’ you from your body, here too! Or someone can change ‘you’ so that you feel pain and loneliness only.

This concept is called 'singularity'. Some diehard believers of ‘singularity’ believe that such a day is very near. They believe that we will be able to ‘upload’ ourselves by 2030. Raymond Kurzweil, a 60 years old scientist and one of the proponents of this concept, even takes 30 vitamin supplements everyday so that he can live and stay healthy until 2030!

It was new and very interesting for me to read articles, both supporting and against this concept of singularity. I don’t believe that such a day will come. Our existence is far more complex and mysterious than any powerful machines we will ever build can comprehend. One thing is sure, machines will be more powerful than us in many aspects, and they already are in some. But ‘uploading’ our whole consciousness and existence to a chip is hard to digest!

But it is a funny concept. It will be interesting to read this again in 2030. The only problem is the reminder. What can be the best to remind me about ‘singularity’ in 2030? It will also be interesting to see what the ‘diehard’ believers will have to say then, if any of them still remain ‘believers’.

If you too are interested, you can read this discussion here.


  1. Thank you for posting interesting article but unbelievable.
    If we will be able to upload ourselves by 2030, it will be interesting…. Let’s see by 2030…, such a day will really come or not..

  2. The other day I was reading an article about "knowledge transfer". It described that within 25-30 years from now we'll be able to transfer "knowledge and information's" from a machine to a human brain directly.

    The process was something like downloading a software to your living hard disk (brain), But what you have written here is much more than that.

    Now I am afraid.... everyone should take a copyright of their own consciousness, otherwise if it can be stored in one chip then it can also be 'copied" and 'pasted" in several "hardware's' or existences.

    And further more if a hacker gets your consciousness he may change the scripts, codes and alter some registry entries to make you "someone else". It is dangerous !!!!!

    jokes are apart, I liked this post very much. Actually this concept can be related with the Hindu concept of "astral body" and "परकाया प्रवेश" . If I get time, I will try to write about it someday.

  3. May be some analogy can be drawn between brain and software (or Firmware) but our consciousness( or Brain) is certainly not Digital ('0's and '1's). The signals that nerves carry are Analog.

    But lets move to the major issue of Blog. Singularity sounds unbelievable but through science we have already seen and embraced many things that were considered unbelievable at some point in time. But how much we can achieve in Singularity or Brain Machine interaction depends upon our understanding of our own Brain. Till now people are trying but still are far away from understanding "How Human Brain Functions", that is why we haven't seen rapid advancement (as predicted) in the field of Artificial Intelligence(AI).

    Until we understand our Brain we won't be able to simulate it in Machine. But who can guess how our world will look like by 2030?

  4. I firmly believe that we humans are slowly evolving into machines !!

    Its our next evolutionary step, so lets get used to it.. :)

  5. Sounds bizarre, but even idea of internet must have sounded weird few decades ago. Looking at the trends, I don’t think anything is impossible (improbable may be). The million dollar question is “are we ready for that?” We might not be ready, but two generation down the line they might mock us for ridiculing this idea :)

  6. Thank you all!

    Yes Badrijee, it will be interesting to look back in 2030.

    Dilip dai, you are right! We may need copyright protection of our consciousness.
    But isn't परकाया प्रवेश diffferent from uploading to a 'chip'? परकाया प्रवेश may be the act of entering into someone else's 'physiological' body. I am waiting your article on this.

    mprofitjee, I agree that any further breakthroughs in this field will depend on our understanding of brain and its functions. I read somewhere that 'if our brain was simple, we would be simple too!'. I doubt we will ever be able to understand our brain fully and design a machine as perfectly as brain. Even if we do, our consciousness is not the brain alone. There are many 'parameters' involved.
    Thank you for pointing out the analog nature of the nerve signals.

    nnepalijee, if that is the next step in our evolution, it may be our extinction. This concept is still mysterious and 'spiritual' to me. Did we also inhabit this earth in the same manner? I mean by destroying the organism/machines that created us and made us more powerful than themsleves? And are we machines?!

    Prajwoljee, yes it sounds bizarre. If that is possible, are we ready to get extinct and let machines that we designed rule this earth? Will we willingly destroy ourselves?