IEET > Vision > Virtuality > HealthLongevity > Martine Rothblatt > Enablement > Implants
What is Techno-Immortality?

Cyberconsciousness implies techno-immortality.  Immortality means living forever.  This has never happened in the real world, so we think of immortality as a spiritual existence (as in heaven) or as a non-personal existence (as in ‘Bach’s music will live forever’).  With cyberconsciousness it will be possible, for the first time, for a person to live forever in the real world.  This unique, technologically empowered form of living forever is called techno-immortality.



Mindclones are the key to techno-immortality.  Imagine that before a person’s body dies he or she creates a mindclone.  After bodily death is declared the person will insist that he or she is still alive, albeit as a mindclone in cyberspace.  The surviving mindclone will think, feel and act just as did the deceased original.  While the mindclone will be stuck in cyberspace, he or she will still be able to read online books, watch streaming movies, and participate in virtual social networks.  It will seem no more right to declare the mindclone dead than it would be to declare someone dead upon becoming a paraplegic.  Practically speaking the mindclone’s original achieved techno-immortality.

A semantic purest may argue that “immortal” means “forever”, and since we have no way to know how long the mindclones will last they cannot be deemed immortal.  This is a fair point, but it should be recognized that mindclones last far longer than the hardware they run on at any particular time.  Mindclones, just as people, are really sets of information patterns.  In the same way that the information patterns of great books and works of art are copied through the ages in new media after new media, so will be the case with mindclones.  We are continuing to copy and interact with human texts that are thousands of years old, originally written in stone, and now stored digitally.  Mindclones, being conscious beings with a desire to survive, can be expected to last even longer. 

Therefore, by techno-immortal, we do not literally mean living until the sun explodes and the stars disappear.  Such eschatological timeframes are beyond our consideration.  Techno-immortality means living so long that death (other than by suicide) is not thought of as a factor in one’s life.  This uber-revolutionary development in human affairs is the inevitable consequence of mindfiles, mindware and mindclones.  Our souls will now be able to outlast our bodies—not only in religion, but also on earth.

Techno-immortality need not imply an eternity of life in a box.  Broadband connectivity to audio and video, and to tactile, taste and scent enabled future websites, will make life much more enjoyable than the ‘in a box’ phrase suggests.  The outputs of our fingertips, taste buds and olfactory nerves are electronic signals that can be interpreted by software in the same manner as are sound waves and light signals.  Nevertheless, it is hard to beat a real flesh body for mind-blowing experiences.  Within a few score years for an optimist, and not more than a few centuries for a pessimist, current rates of technology development will result in replacement bodies grown outside of a womb.  Such spare bodies, or “sleeves” as novelist Richard Morgan calls them , will be compatibly matched with mindclones.  To make the sleeve be the same person as the mindclone either:

(a) the sleeve’s neural patterns will need to be grown ectogenetically to reflect those of the mindclone’s software patterns; or
(b) the sleeve’s naturally grown neural patterns will need to be interfaced and subordinated to a very small computer implanted in the cranium that contains a copy of the mindclone’s software.

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”, Samuel Langhorn Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, in a May, 1897 note to the New York Journal, which had reported news of the fatal illness of Twain’s cousin, James Ross Clemens, as that of Twain.  New York Observer, June 2, 1897.  (In fact, Twain died the day after the 1910 perihelion of Halley’s Comet, having been born two weeks after its 1835 perihelion, leading him to immortally observe “now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”)


Once these feats of neuro-technology are accomplished, techno-immortality will then also extend into the walkabout world of swimming in real water and skiing on real snow.  In addition, mechanical bodies, including ones with flesh-like skin, are rapidly being developed to enable robotic help with elder care in countries like Japan (where the ratio of young to old people is getting too small).  Such robot bodies will also be outfitted with mindclone minds to provide for escapes from virtual reality.

Techno-immortality triggers a philosophical quandary about identity.  The gist of it is that people say ‘you cannot be dead and alive at the same time.’  This is related to another objection to mindclones – that they can’t really be ‘me’ or ‘you’ because we can’t be two different things, or in two different places, at the same time.  All of these objections flow from the inability of the philosopher to accept that identity is not necessarily body-specific.  In other words, a person’s identity is more like a fuzzy cloud that encompasses, to a greater or lesser extent, whatever loci contain their mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values. 

It is hard for us to feel comfortable with this view of identity because we have had no experience with it.  Throughout history the only locus for our mind was the brain atop our head and shoulders.  Hence, it is natural for us to believe that identity is singular to one bodily form.  In a similar way, before Einstein, it was natural to believe that the speed of light depends upon how fast the source of light is traveling.  All of our experience was that a rock thrown from a moving train must have the combined speed of the train’s motion and the rock’s pitch.  When Einstein showed us how to think about something outside of our experience, we were able to logically deduce that the speed of light must be invariant.  Similarly, when you think about a computer that runs mindware on a mindfile that is equivalent to your mind, then you must logically deduce that identity is not limited to one locus.  Identity follows its constituents – mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values – wherever those components may reside.

We are all familiar with the associative law of mathematics:  if a = b, and b = c, then a = c.  In our case a = our identity as defined by b, the key memories and characteristic thought patterns stored in our brain’s neural connections.  With the advent of mindfiles and mindware it is possible to recreate those key memories and characteristic thought patterns in c, a mindclone.  Since our original identity, a, derives from our cognitive status, b, and since the cognitive status from a brain, ba, is no different than the cognitive status from a mindclone, bc, it follows logically that our mindclone identity, c, is the same as our brain identity, a.  Furthermore, this proof demonstrates that identity is not limited to a single body or “instantiation” such as a or c.  Ergo, with the rise of mindclones has come the demise of inevitable death.  While unmodified bodies do inevitably die, software-based patterns of identity information do not.

There is a great inclination to argue that unless every aspect of the a-based identity is also present in the c-based identity, then ba is not the same thing as bc and hence a is not really equal to and c.  This argument is based on a false premise that our identity is invariant.  In fact, nobody maintains “every aspect” of identity from day to day, and certainly not from year to year.  We remember but a small fraction of yesterday’s interactions today, and will remember still less tomorrow.  Yet we all treat each other, and our selves, as people of a constant identity. 

Even in the extreme cases of amnesia or dementia, we do not doubt that the patient has a constant identity.  Only in the final stages of Alzheimer’s does our confidence in the sufferer’s identity begin to waver.  Therefore, a perfect one-to-one correspondence between ba and bc is not necessary in order for them to be equivalent.  Instead, if suitably trained psychologists attest to a continuity of identity between ab and cb, which would tend to track with the perceptions of laypeople as well as of the original and their mindclone, then it must be accepted that the psychological fuzz of identity has cloned itself onto a new substrate.  The individual’s cloud identity is now instantiated in both a brain and a mindclone.

Techo-immortality is possible because it will be soon possible to replicate the constituents of your identity – and hence your identity – in multiple, highly survivable loci, namely in software on different servers.  It is irrelevant that these copies are not identical to the original. Perfect copies of anything are a physical impossibility, both in space as well as in time.  Mindclones that are cognitively and emotionally equivalent to their originals, and practically accepted as their original identities, must be techno-immortal continuations of the original beings.

This question reminds me of the amazing story about how a young student, Aaron Lansky, saved Yiddish literature from disappearing.  By the late 20th century, virtually all of the native speakers of Yiddish were elderly.  After they died, their Yiddish books were being thrown away – almost no one understood a need to preserve this literature.  Perhaps 5%-10% of the entire literature was literally disappearing each year.  Lansky took it upon himself, with the help of a small group of friends, to collect all of the Yiddish books in the world before they ended up in dumpsters.  After a decade his team had collected over a million volumes, had reignited interest in the language and had created a global Yiddish book exchange system.  However, because the books were so frail (Yiddish was mostly read by poor Jews, and thus printed on cheap early 20th century paper to keep prices down) they were disintegrating before they could be shared.  Consequently, Lansky then raised the money and signed contracts to digitize the entire collection.  Indeed, the first literature completely digitized was Yiddish.  Thereafter, those who wished any particular book simply selected the title from an online catalog and a print-to-order new copy was sent to them, on nice acid-free paper.

Did digitizing Yiddish literature save it from death by oblivion via dumpsters?  Absolutely.  Were the digitized texts the exact same as the handworn books?  No.  Did it matter?  Absolutely not.  The culture, what might be called the Yiddish soul, was exactly the same in the reprinted books of hundreds of authors, poets and playwrights.

Lingering objections to mindclones based upon inexactitude simply misunderstand the nature of identity.  Identity is a property of continuity.  This means that a person’s identity can exist to a greater or lesser extent depending upon the presence or absence of its constituents.  We believe that we have the same identity as we grow from teenagers to adults because to a great extent our mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values have been continually present over those years.  Of course we have changed, but the changes are on top of bedrock constancy.  For the same reason it is not necessary for our mindclone to share every memory with its biological original to have the same identity as that original.  Similarly, Yiddish literature is alive even if only 98% rather than 100% of Yiddish literature has been digitized.  To love your mother you need not remember all that she has done for you.  A continuity of strong positive and emotive orientations toward her, as well as the remembered highlights of your life with her, are plenty adequate. 

In summary, techno-immortality is the ability to live practically forever through the downloading of your identity to a mindclone.  Identity exists wherever its cognitive and emotional patterns exist, which can be in more than one place, in flesh as well as in software, and in varying degrees of completeness.  While humans have never before experienced out-of-body identity, that is about to change with mindcloning.  Along with this change will come something else new to humanity – techno-immortality.

Martine Rothblatt is an IEET Fellow and is author of several books on satellite communications technology, gender freedom, genomics, and xenotransplantation.



COMMENTS

Martine,

As a secular transhumanist I have thought about this problem a great deal, and I agree with you on many points, but I have come to many of the same conclusions you have for different reasons.

I am optimistic about the possibility of my generation being one of the first to live forever in digital form, or at least as long as one wants. We already spend most of our free time online, and many of us have been doing so since we were very young, hence the term digital natives. I therefore think it will be natural for people with this background to make the transition to digital life when the technology becomes available.

I do not however think that this will come about from “scanning” or otherwise directly copying ones mind. I think that the transition will be a slow one that is dependent on the rate at which the required technologies develop and make it to market, and the rate at which our brains can learn to interface with machines, and I think this distinction makes all the difference.

I think the path from here to digital life has already been largely determined, it is simply the development of technologies that allow us to interface with machines more effectively and naturally. The key technology though will be the ability to directly communicate in both directions with our thoughts. The first few generations of such technology will undoubtedly be very limited, I imagine the first breakthroughs will be for prosthetics. Motor function and the basic senses of heat, pressure, etc. Over time though we will be able to interact on higher levels, perhaps having calculations done for us, and then using the inherent logical rigidity of computers to “think”, in the most basic of ways, through simple problems.

Eventually though this will become natural, and we may choose to do more of our everyday thinking on our computers because of the advantages, perfect concentration and memory, and of course speed. If we choose to let our minds wander in that direction more and more, than that will be where our consciousness goes too. Our brains could be relegated to our biological tasks, and nothing more. At some point we may come back to our bodies after doing something online only to find that it has died, and yet our consciousness will remain.

I do not think it will be even possible to simply “copy” your mind, only the data you have stored. While it will be wise to keep yourself decentralized, protected from hardware failures, your various parts would need to remain in communication or risk splintering.

In conclusion, I think that thought experiments reveal that while copies of ourselves will share our identity, they will not share our consciousness unless a high degree of communication is maintained.

The problem I believe will be side stepped altogether though by the gradual nature of digitizing ones self. We will have to learn how to interface with machines, gradually becoming more machine oriented rather than simply “creating mindclones”, and so continuity will be maintained.

Hi Taylor,
I totally hear you on digital native and gradual transition.  You express the naturalness of the migration as well as anyone I’ve read, including Kurzweil.

Your tightly-written comment also reminds me of a lecture given by Marshall Brain at one of the Terasem Workshops.  He pulled out from a gym bag a plastic half gallon jug into which he had somehow squeezed a rubber model of a brain, and had it floating in some water.  After making us laugh at the hassle he had getting it through airport security (pre-liquids-ban), he explained his vision of brains/minds in safe vaults and minds/lives, connected to same, everywhere via the web.

I don’t think it is an either/or situation.  I think we overestimate the difficulty of creating convincingly human consciousness in software.  Consequently, we overestimate the difficulty of mapping our own consciousness onto software—based on simply enough ‘raw data’ (i.e, mindfiles) to scan and good enough algorithmically connected databases (‘mindware’) from which to create a conscious operating system.  We can do this, and I think well before the advent of neuronanobot and many other BCI technologies.

Your point about connectivity is spot on.  But I think ubiquitous connectivity will be as much a birthright of everyone as is language.  Hence, of course our mindclones will be interfaced to us 24/7/365.  We will be one mind, many places.

Your reference to thought experiments is trenchant.  I’ve been lapping up the literature in this area, and find fascinating the debate between traditionalists (closed individualism or our minds are both borders and boundaries and hence not replicable), relativists (empty individualism or our minds are bordered but not boundaried and hence we can have many instantiations for one mind) and transcendentalists (open individualism, or our minds are neither bordered nor boundaried and hence the separateness we think we have is just an illusion).

I am comfortable with a fuzzy notion of personal identity and hence I see not much problem in a mindclone version of me provided it is at least as faithful to my current mind as my current mind is to itself as of say a decade ago.  That gives a lot of room for variation!

Regarding your Yiddish example of techno-immortality:
While I have great admiration and appreciation of Aaron Lansky’s efforts and accomplishments regarding Yiddish—it is indeed an amazing story—nevertheless, it should be noted that the description of the state of Yiddish in those paragraphs is something of a discredited caricature. 

Has Lansky accomplished something extraordinary and praiseworthy? Yes! But did he do so alone and in a vacuum, rescuing Yiddish seemingly “singlehandedly” as described here? Some other immortal names of people and institutions both in academia and elsewhere seem to have been left out of the story, up to and including those who still actively take the trouble to use the language and keep it alive.

Hi Leopold,
You are 100% correct, and I will revamp the description in that Question.  There were his original team of supporters, the hundreds of volunteers, the original creators of content, and most important—as you observe—those who actually speak, live and breathe Yiddish.  Thanks for bringing me to that truth!

My error would be like crediting the creators of future mindware for the ultimate mindclones that will result—and forgetting that the real credit, overwhelmingly, goes to the people today who are laboriously creating mindfiles at places like lifenaut.com and cyberev.org.

A language, like a life, is a beautiful organism.  Thank you for keeping one of the most magical languages ever robust!

Martine,

Upon re-examining both your article and my original comment, I think we are in total agreement. My confusion came from your paragraph which starts “Techno-immortality is possible…”. I was under the false impression that the mind clones you were referring to were not in constant communication with each other.

I apologize for the tone of my conclusion, in my haste to finish I did not do the debate justice.

Hello again Martine

I have to say, you may be my least favourite regular blogger on this site, due to your views about personhood. Continuity of consciousness is crucial to identity. I, by definition, cannot be anyone else, I can only be me. I can’t be two people at once, even if we’re identical. The fact that my mindclone and me would be identical in every empircally measurable way is completely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter at all that we’re identical. I can only see the world through my eyes, not through my mindclone’s. When I die, I will cease to perceive anything, and I cannot share my mindclone’s perception, ergo we are two seperate beings. Why is that so hard for you to understand? Identical twins may be the closest thing in the real world to mindclones. Granted their mindfiles are not 100% indentical, but they are often very similar due to their identical genomes and usually near identical environments in early childhood. But their similarity doesn’t make them any less individuals than other people. Each twin is a seperate being, and the fact that they have similar mindfiles is irrelevant.  I am not saying my mindclone wouldn’t be a person, but it wouldn’t be me because our consciousness, though identical, are separate, and perceive our existence independently of one another. Imagine you have two cans of coke, identical as far as you can tell. If they’re identical, than why aren’t they the same? Count them! You have two cans, and what effects one can does not effect the other, ergo they are different cans. It doesn’t matter that they’re identical. IT DOESN’T MATTER! I don’t care if my mindclone would be functionally the same person as me. I can’t experience existence through him, nor he through me, so if I died I would still be dead.

Mindclones are not a form of immortality.

Yiddish, the language, is actually growing—in some chassidic circles. But Yiddish /literature/ is not an attraction to these people, because for the large part, the old Yiddish writers were leaning /away/ from traditional Jewish thought and practice.

@ Martine

Whilst I praise your high ideals regarding techno-immortality, and maybe even envisage that one day the conscious mind, the Self may be transmigrated into a machine or even a non-volatile form of holograph or crystalline substrate that may exist timelessly : I feel you underestimate what “life”, what the “life-force” actually is?

By your descriptions it would imply that it would be just as easy to create a life with artificial mindfiles and techno-memory engrams as it would be to download a mind. In fact it may actually be easier to create one?

We are most certainly the Self-created, and the fuzzy non-locality of Self has validity, which leads to speculations that indeed the subjective mind may exist outside of the body, (which I wholly believe). However, the main questions concerning the understanding of consciousness are still paramount here. Is the mind the prime mover of life, or is it consciousness?

I am guessing your answer would be that of the scientific view that consciousness is an attribute of the mind? Yet is the mind really the prime mover or is the mind the fuzzy non-local phenomenon that is merely a collection of thoughts, ideas and memories and neurons and neural pathways that arises from sensory input and consciousness itself?

This all leads back to Descartes square one, and the duality of mind and matter. Buddhism would say that all is mind, Hinduism, (advaita) posits that pure consciousness is the prime mover. And if you eliminate either mind or consciousness as the prime mover of life, you are thus left with only biological forms and matter? Is this all you are? Obviously not because your consciousness is real, your mind is real, (or as real as it can be). “I am, I exist”.

If one day the techno reality of mindclones is realised, then this would need to encompass the understanding that we are more than merely the sum of our individual parts, of mindfiles, of neurons, (100 Billion?) and of memories. And recognise that there is something else missing from the picture here?

If it were possible to clone a mind into a techno-reality why would we even contemplate existence here as an individual in preference of a collective mind? Because we cling to “Self” and reconcile the Self in all that we are, the feelings are strong to exist perpetually beyond the body, and thus evolve into perhaps individual mindclones. Yet would it not be more beneficial to evolve beyond this individual existence, and into a shared collective mind, (consciousness?), that encompasses all thoughts, ideas, memories and feelings?

One thing is certain, for this to be a reality man must evolve spiritually to contemplate the understanding of existing timelessly, and evolve to understand fully the consequences of thoughts and actions, and of past memories and emotions. Else we would find ourselves, our Self’s, our psyche stunted and subservient to these immense advancements.

Hi Armand,
I appreciate you sharing your views on my blog.  I *especially* appreciate because I am a disfavored blogger to you—you could easily just ignore me.  Thanks for not doing so.

I believe the nub of our disagreement has to do with us having different meanings to the word “I”.  You believe (and in philosophy this is often called ‘closed individualism’) that “I” refers to a singular physical instantiation of a source of consciousness.  This is why it grates on you to read me saying that, for me, “I” consists of both me and my downloaded mindclone.  But there is no a priori reason why “I” must be limited to a single physical instantiation.

If you mindclone were a mindclone, i.e., a true replica of you, then when you “see the world through my eyes” you are seeing the world through *both* your eyes and your mindclone’s eyes.  By the very act of creating a mindclone, you have redefined “who is I.”

When your body physically died, you would *not* “cease to perceive anything” but instead would continue to perceive everything through your mindclone’s eyes.

I don’t think identical twins are like mindclones.  However, as Doug Hoftstadtler points out, the people we love very much, like a partner/spouse, have a lot of us in them, and vice versa.  Thus he can write that while he misses his deceased wife sorely, he feels her seeing the world through his perception of it (because so much of her is engrained in his mind), and he really believes she is continuing to perceive—that aspect of her that has become encoded into Doug through years of love and laughter.  I agree with him.

This dual (or multiple) instantiation of identity is called, in philosophy, ‘open individualism’, and is often associated with Parfit, Nozick and others.  It was never really expressed before the 1980s, but it is now recognized as more logically coherent than closed individualism.

As to the Coke cans, the question is, is a Coke can a singular can or a commodity can?  If you think it is a singular can, then you are following closed individualism and will disagree with my thesis.  But if you think a Coke can is a commodity can, that it has pretty much the same experience whether it is the first or second can in a six-pack, then you are following ‘open individualism.’

Of course we can always think of examples of difference—this can is smashed, this one is not.  The problem with that perspective is that then you have to accept that not even you, as a single instantiation of a person, are a single person—the reason is that you are changing all the time, and the you of age 12 is totally different from the you of now.  One is smashed and one is not.  But I’m sure you feel you are the same person.

The bottom line is to think of “I” and personal identity as a fuzzy characteristic, not something absolute black and white.  We are like a cloud of personal characteristics, and that cloud (but not the particulars of it) is what constitutes our identity.  Kurzweil calls this our “pattern.”  Thus, differences within a person, and between a person and their mindclone, do not make them separate “I’s”.  They are the same Cloud of I.

Armand,
I am assuming you went to sleep last night, to wake up this morning. Then according to your conviction “continuity of consciousness is crucial to identity”, you are not the same person anymore. But you feel alive and not dead, don’t you?
I prefer to keep things simple and to define them operationally. I am willing to accept tomorrow’s me as me, and on the basis of past experience I believe he will think and feel he the continuation of me into another day. Then, I am him and he is me.
Same for mindclones, provided enough info is preserved.

Yes, Continuity of Consciousness is crucial to my concept of identity. Yes, I did go to sleep last night, but I also dreamed. I could also have been easily awakened. My brain and mind still exist when I’m sleeping, so there is continuity of consciousness between one night and the next. Sleep is an altered state of consciousness, not the loss of consciousness.  Since I define myself in terms of this continuity, there can by definition be only one of me. I am my mind, and not other people’s memories of me. Since I define myself as my consciousness I don’t consider other people’s memories of me a form of immortality. I reiterate, a mindclone and me would be two separate entities, each with an independent conciousness and perception of our own lives. I am my mind, and minds cannot be shared. I can’t be another person, and I can’t be two people at once. My mind and my doppleganger’s minds are separate, what effects one cannot effect the other, and that makes us separate entities. Since I can’t share my mindclone’s consciousness, he’s not me and it’s not a form of immortality.

@Giulio: “Then, I am him and he is me.”

We are all together.
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.
I’m crying.

Hi Armand,
Thanks for continuing the discussion. 

You write above:  “Since I define myself in terms of this continuity, there can by definition be only one of me.”  But your mindclone *will* be a continuity of you, so yes there is but one of you, although in more than one instantiation.

You write above:  “My mind and my doppleganger’s minds are separate, what effects one cannot effect the other, and that makes us separate entities.”  But surely the two will be linked by hyperbroadband wireless links, constantly in synch.  So separateness of substrate does *not* imply separateness of consciousness, thought, cognition, emotion, and bemes.

You write above:  “Since I can’t share my mindclone’s consciousness, he’s not me and it’s not a form of immortality.”  Think about things this way.  Suppose, in arguendo, that your mindclone is *not* your precise consciousness, but is say 75% of it as of a given moment.  Your mindclone has 75% of your bio original’s memories.  Your mindclone feels 75% of the intensity of your bio original’s feelings.  There are differences.  It is kind of like a super, really good best friend, highly common interests, likes and loves.  Then you are given a choice.  Option A:  Bio original dies and mindclone is smashed.  Option B:  Bio original dies, and mindclone continues living.  I (and I think most people) would choose Option B, and all the more so to the extent 75% began to approach 100% through better mindware. 

Option B would not perceive the world *precisely* as did the bio original, but also you could not deny there was HUGE continuity between the Bio Original and Option B.  Ergo, I believe Option B *would* “be a form of immortality.”

Maybe this thought will be too simplistic, but, it seems to me that both of you make valid points. This technology will work best through the use of “simulcast synching” similar to my blackberry sending my “Contacts & apts” up into the cloud for safe keeping or “synching w/ my PC @ home through bluetooth as soon as I walk w/ in range of it.

Neither is either, both are distinct, but if my PC crashes or (worse) my bb is destroyed or lost, my “Contacts List” in either sleeve will “live on”.

Now will someone just hurry-up & perfect the technology - who’s w/ me?

“But surely the two will be linked by hyperbroadband wireless links, constantly in synch.”

No, we wouldn’t. I think this may be partially the source of our confusion. I will never hook my brain directly to the internet. I recently posted an article on my own blog entitled “Beware the Superman” which discusses the risks of such cybernetic ehnancment. I also address continuity of consciousness in a post called “The Transporter Paradox”. I invite anyone reading this to visit my blog at http://sanctumofvespertine.blogspot.com/. You have to put it directly into the address bar, since it doesn’t show up with search engines.

Martine, if you read “The Transporter Paradox” on my blog, perhaps you will better understand why there is no continuity of consciousness between you and your mindclone. Your hypothetical scenario completely ignores what I have said over and over again. It doesn’t matter how much my mindclone is like me. I wouldn’t care if he was 100% like me, when I die I cannot continue to perceive myself and my world through my mindclone, so it wouldn’t matter to me if I had one or not.

By blogging my ideas and daily memories, or simply by having an updated web presence, haven’t I already started the process of “living forever”? What I mean to say is, if I should depart tomorrow, there are a million loose ends of half-written blogs and even links to posts that will “live on” in cyberspace until some thoughtful family member or administrator has the time to “kill me.”

I’m often troubled by this and try to clean things up. An occasional “vanity search” on Google helps, for those who care. In a way, this keeps my “personality” up to date.

I realize this is not what the author means exactly by mindcloning, but I do think it’s a step in the direction of human immortality—at least the continuation of our achievements (or embarrassments!)

I suppose this has also already been done with any recording medium; John Lennon’s voice/spirit—or a poet writing their feelings in a journal, either of which can be converted to digital form—for download to other consciousnesses, or willing “clones.”

Thanks for this wonderful web site.

Best wishes,

Armand,

I read over your last few blog entries, and do not find your speculative science fiction convincing. You are missing the crucial element that will ensure the widespread use of connecting minds to the internet, which is the powerful utility of the technology. You characterize those who adopt the technology as sex crazed, video game consumed, virtual addicts. This seems to be an extrapolation of the worst features of the current internet, however you have completely ignored the benefits which have changed the world for the better in the past few decades. Clearly the net effect of the internet is positive.

You speculate that hackers will remain one step ahead of the users of the technology, however this is also absurd. The economy will be the driving force here, in much the same way that it is with current security. Although there way always be risks, security systems will be developed, and sold, much like they are today, and there will be far more money to be made in developing legitimate security than hacking because of the demand generated by the utility of these new technologies.

Regarding your entry on the transporter paradox, I agree that continuity must be maintained. The “mind clones” discussed here maintain continuity over a high speed connection. Therefore the problem with transporters is irrelevant. It does not matter that you hold the position that such connection to the internet connection is a bad idea, such a connection is assumed.

Brain-Computer Interfacing: such Prof.Ted Berger has been researching for a decade & a half will require the internet. Today some paraplegics can sign-on for their therapies & Air Force pilots can fly drones w/o ever leaving their offices. These technologies (among others, i.e. Mind-Clones etc.) by way of the internet will begin the “singularity” at the very least (it’s my opinion) that that is its birth place.

Taylor

First of all, I’m glad some one has finally read my blog, but I wish you’d have left a comment there instead of here. One of my main arguments against transhumanism in “Beware the Superman” is that being a cyborg would be extremely expensive and risky, especially when compared to using technology that’s not integrated with your body. You can get an iphone for a few hundred dollars, but having a webchip installed in your brain would surely cost tens of thousands of dollars at the very least. Repairing or replacing an iphone would also be a hell of a lot cheaper, easier and less painful than replacing or repairing a webchip. The risks of having a chip in your brain are inordinately greater than having an iphone. Most terrifying of all (to me any way) is that someone could hack your brain with a webchip. AS far as I can see it, a webchip is far more expensive and far more dangerous, while being only slightly more convenient. It seems to me that most people would chose an iphone over a webchip. The Utility of a webchip fails to outweigh it’s expense and risk when there is a much cheaper and safer alternative that offers nearly the same utility.  Also, in the society I created, the crimes of the cybernetic “transmogs” turned people off to cybernetic implants of any kind, as they were viewed as inherently corrupting. 

And in the transporter paradox, I was using star trek transporters as a metaphor.

Martine,

I have worked for Motorola / General Dynamics for 10 years. For many of those years I worked for a wonderful man called Pat Armstrong. He was a big admirer of your work and vision and spoke a lot about you.  I believe you two were friends. Pat died in October after a 5 month battle with brain cancer.  We will have a celebration of life for him in December. He did not want a funeral. He will be missed greatly. I simply wanted to let you know. This was the only way I was able to get in touch with you. I am sorry to have used a public forum.

Kind regards,

Pascale

Dear Pascale,
Thanks so much for sharing with me, even though the news is horrible. 

Yes, I surely was a good friend of Pat’s.  He was a cool guy and a top-flight high-tech project manager.  He had a great, warm smile that regularly graced his handsome face.  I worked closely with Pat during the 1980s on the trailblazing Geostar Satellite System (Radio Determination Satellite Service) handheld transceivers which paved the way for Iridium and other satellite phone systems.  Indeed, he led the effort that resulted in the world’s first handheld satellite radio transceiver.  It worked flawlessly and the government customer was very pleased. 

People should know that every time they listen to satellite radio, Sirius XM, they are listening to a part of Pat’s soul.  It was Pat’s success in leading the team that developed inexpensive, mobile antennas (and associated low-noise electronics) capable of receiving signals from geostationary satellites that encouraged me to later create Sirius XM.  Many people told me it was impossible to receive satellite signals from a tenth the way to the moon on an antenna with only 3 dbi gain.  But Pat and his team showed us it was possible, and hence I felt confident we could do it, and millions of people live a more enjoyable life today because of that.

I will always be saddened knowing that Pat has passed, but I will also always keep him alive, smiling, eyes sparkling, in my mind.

Please feel free to share the content of this posting in whichever way is appropriate at the celebration of his life.

Martine Rothblatt

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