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.