Will we be able to achieve immortality through uploading our brain into a computer?
Even since we became aware of our vulnerability as humans and death as an inescapable fate, we started to dream about immortality. Throughout history, humans have dreamt of discovering the secret of immortality.
Thankfully, the advancement of technology, medicine and the overall quality of life has expanded our life expectancy a lot. But, it seems like physical immortality is still out of reach. However, digital immortality is still a possible option according to many.
This article will talk about the possibility of achieving immortality through uploading your brain into a super computer.
Some initiatives are developing a method to upload your brain into a cloud system.
The US startup Nectone are among the leading initiatives that work to find a way to upload minds into a cloud system. They’re theory says that by preserving the brain and replacing the blood flow with embalming chemicals, they can preserve your soul and upload it to the cloud.
The operation also seems like a physical suicide, that’s why man people are not comfortable with it. Essentially, you will have to give up your body and preserve only your brain, hoping that the brain signals will still be functional. You won’t longer have a physical existence in the way we know about it. Your soul can inhabit an android (or several ones apparently) forever.
There’s an Initiative that promises humanity will achieve immortality during the 21st century
An initiative by the Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov
promises immortality by 2045. His initiative hopes to transfer human personality into a new form of body. The process involves creating an avatar for the person who wants to upload their brain. After that comes the process of transporting human consciousness from the biological body into the mechanical one. The second process requires cutting age computer interface technology that can contain all the complexities of human consciousness.
Theoretically speaking, mind upload is possible
The big question is “can a human upload their consciousness, with all of its intricacies, into a computer?” The short answer according to the theoretical framework is “Yes!” It’s very difficult and requires a lot of complexities, but yes, it’s possible.
The brain consists of 86 billion neurons that constantly communicate with each other. The connections are what make consciousness rise. If you can record all of the connections and the information they hold, uploading that data into a computer is possible. You only need the necessary brain scan and upload interface, which is the hardest thing to build. The device will map the human brain on a cellular level.
Essentially, the brain works like a computer. The big difference is the amount of data that the brain can process; it’s huge. To map all of the neural connections, we need to account for all the details of a person’s mind.
The practical and ethical issues of uploading a mind into a super computer
The scientific data of our age on the human consciousness is great, but it’s not sufficient to define what it is. It’s a big philosophical debate that still concerns the brightest brains on earth. The question is “what is consciousness?” The other big question is “Can we contain human consciousness?” It seems like consciousness is defined by our personalized memories that are preserved by our biological brains. But, can you still be you only by preserving your memories. According to some philosophers, our bodies also create our identity, so can you still be the same person in different body (or form)?
Additionally, uploading your brain means sacrificing your body, so you will have to die first if you want to change from one body to the other.
No matter how fascinating this idea might be, mind upload is still a tricky issue that needs further research and experiments. It will definitely redefine what humanity is and what does it mean to be a person. The biggest issue is that of identity. Perhaps if we can cage the concept of identity and have an objective definition about it, we might be able to finally achieve digital immortality.