CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Healthy Life After Death, Digitally

In Digitial Life After Death, Scientific writes of the possibility of surviving death by downloading ourselves into a sophisticated computer program.

"A few journals have written about "computer self awareness" or "sentient computing," but typically the context involves some form of computing that knows where you are or what you want--it's sentient about you, but perhaps not about itself. Science fiction has pondered people who live on in computerized form, with or without a physical host, and whether such an entity could be considered conscious. But is there any real computer science progress here? Who's making it? Is digital life after death, as a conscious entity, possible? And would such an entity be considered alive?"

To which I might comment:

But of course digital consciousness is possible -- Why should the universe necessarily prefer carbon as opposed to silicon-based life? Analogies between the human mind and computer programming abound, and researchers are currently making efforts to create computerized neural nets as sophisticated as the human brain. Raymond Kurzweil writes of mapping the human brain and creating a 2.0 version of yourself that can then be downloaded into electronic hardware. The faster technology progresses, the more quickly science fiction becomes accepted reality. The real questions are philosophical: once I am downloaded into the 2.0 and my body passes, do I still exist? Who and what, ultimately, am I? These questions may seem more the province of religion than science, though we are rapidly entering what I call the "borderland of medicine at religion" (see, the region where we must synthesize and integrate these paradoxical disciplines to arrive at satisfying answers for our time

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Michael H. Cohen, Esq.; 468 North Camden Dr. | Beverly Hills, California 90210 | 310-844-3173