Interesting idea raised by Jimmy in another thread - if an advanced race fully understood their DNA they could recreate themselves as they saw fit.  Topic for discussion: What would be the ultimate modifications?

I'm imagining almost all brain, living in an almost indestructible metal shell connected to robotic limbs that could be changed out as necessary.  What do YOU think?

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@Strega:

I shudder with you.

"There can only be one" (snicker)

What is "life" about a copy of my brain? A copy is a copy. Take identical twins, for example. They may look alike, they may be genetically identical, and yet they are different people.

@Unseen....Exactly.....a copy of yourself, is only a copy at the instant of transfer. The copy then takes on new experiences, making it unlike the original. 

Twins aren't copies, they have different experiences, different memories. 

The me which exists right now has different memories and experiences than the me which existed twenty weeks ago, and both of those iterations of me are substantially different from the me twenty years ago. I cannot even claim that the me now is merely an add on to former versions. there are many things I cannot remember, feel or understand now which I could then. Because there is a continuity to our existence, it is all considered the same person. Especially with the twenty year gap, I am not even sure how much of the physical matter is the same. If you managed to bring us all forward in time, and stood us side by side, we would be much more different than monozygotic twins having split during their embryonic phase (well, genetically, I am not certain).

Point being, it's that sense of continuity which seems to be the crux issue.

You made it very clearly.  If the sense of continuity is so critical to us, perhaps that's why "life after death" feels so comfortable to the religious.  I wonder how many religions there would be today if none contained the postulation of life after death.

Lack of continuity is the only part of death which bothers me. My thoughts go forward into the future. Even thinking about the past or present, there is still a sense of time moving forward. If I have to have one last sober thought fitting that trend, it seems so misguided, though hopefully I won't be lucid at the moment my death is evident and definite.

 hopefully I won't be lucid at the moment my death is evident and definite.

I know, right!? I'd probably have a heart attack, premature to an "expected" time of death.

@Kris.....Whatever continuity that has been forgotten, would be forgotten in the copy also. So yes, continuity is in the equation, but basically irrelevant pursuant to a copy. I very much know what you mean.

That's where I am not so sure. At any given moment, am I the matter which comprises me, or am I the specific configuration of matter. If all of my thoughts, feelings and memories were produced by material means, hypotheticlly they could be reproduced by material means. Maybe it is grossly impractical to do so, but let us say a perfect copy was made, including my exact neurological makeup. Every appreciable aspect is identically reporoduced.

If the process was instantaneous, at the moment of creation there would be two versions of me. There is no aspect of identity which we would not share. If a single second passes, we will diverge again, but as proposed somewhere up above, we can look at a scenario where one version dies as the other is born. If we look just at the physical bodies, one individual dies and one is born. If we look at the configuration or matter and neurology, the same pattern is playing in continuation, possibly seemlessly. I think that there is continuity int he copy (even if the original does not die, in which case it's just a splitting path rather than a single line).

You're missing my point. The copy has its own consciousness. I'm not persisting, a copy of me is persisting. I am dead. A consciousness belongs to a body. A specific body.

No, it doesn't have it's own consciousness at the point of creation. It has your consciousness from the point you were recorded for duplication, otherwise it isn't a pure copy. From every moment forward, it has its own, but the starting point is yours. If your consciousness had ended at that point, this would be a new starting point. If your consciousness did not end, it would be a divergent you. From either your perspective or the copy's you would want your own current consciousness to persist while maintaining the identity of you, but going backwards trough your histories, there is a point where it really is the same history and the same person.

You yourself largely are a copy from previous iterations. Cells replicate and cells die. You aren't even a perfect copy, but as I said earlier, there is a sense of continuity to the whole thing. Your physical vessel itself is somewhat transient passing along data in replications rather than preserving the exact atoms in your array as they are. Making an artificial copy all in one go is not that much different apart from the fact that it would hypothetically happen all at once if we are talking some sort of sci-fi replication.

@Former Member:

Here's a quote from that article about Hawking:

"I think the brain is like a programme in the mind, which is like a computer, so it's theoretically possible to copy the brain onto a computer and so provide a form of life after death.

"However, this is way beyond out present capabilities. I think the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark."

It appears that either Hawking was misquoted or he misspoke (mistyped?)  It makes more sense to compare brain to hardware (computer) and mind to software (program).

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Side-trip:

Link, programme or program, which is correct?

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