Would You Upload Your Consciousness To A Virtual Reality To Be Immortal?

in technology •  2 months ago

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Just the other day, I was watching an episode of one of my favourite TV shows, Black Mirror, which portrayed a concept that I have talked about before and something that I find really fascinating.

Basically, Black Mirror is a science fiction TV show that highlights how current and future technology affects or will affect the human society and the way we live, often showing some bone chilling consequences of misuse or overuse.

In the episode that I mention, they depicted a world where uploading the human consciousness to the cloud was a reality and people could choose to remain ‘alive’ forever by doing that.

Not only that, the consciousness existed in a simulated reality world that felt almost indistinguishable to the real world making the experience that much real. Also, people who were still alive could also experience this world as a form of entertainment. Let me walk you through some of the concepts that are involved here.

Virtual Reality

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I am sure must of you must have heard this term by now. As the name suggests, it’s a reality that is created by us humans that exists on computers, pretty much like video games. In fact, video games are one of the largest applications of virtual reality.

Today, a virtual reality headset is the gateway to this virtual world but since the technology is very new, the users “know” that the virtual world is obviously a fake one no matter how hard the developers have tried to make it look real.

In a not so distant future however, with the advancements in technology in this space, we will be able to make those virtual worlds look almost as real as the real world and the gateway to access those virtual worlds will become more intuitive than a clunky headset.

Such a reality is technically called a ‘simulated reality’ where the virtual world is made to look just like the one we live in. The possibilities are endless as to what we can do with such a reality. Becoming immortal, is one of them.

Uploading of Consciousness

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The idea that we can upload our entire consciousness into a computer is no a new one. It has been thoroughly explored in the fiction world and I think it stems from the human desire to keep living, or rather, the fear of death.

First of all, we still don’t understand fully the concept of consciousness and so uploading it to computers is way off into the future, if even it will be possible.

But let’s say we do indeed gain the ability to do it. There would instantly open up a plethora of ways for us to exist beyond what our biological bodies allow us to do. There would be robotic bodies where we could download our consciousness and keep changing bodies and live forever.

Or we could also take on a ‘non-physical’ existence while still enjoying all the physical aspects of life which is exactly what was shown in the Black Mirror episode.

Eternal Life In The Cloud

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So, here’s the concept in simple terms. In a very distant future, we could create a simulated world that exists on computers (or servers) that looked just like our real world. That would be step one.

Step two would be to transfer your consciousness, upon death or while still being alive, to that reality. Doing so would essentially make a video game character in a simulated world, only, in that world you would be in control of what you do, because your existence there would be in the form of your consciousness.

So, in a way, such a system would be, in essence, an eternal life in the cloud. Cloud here referring to the servers that would store all the simulated reality as well as the consciousness of different people in it.

Apart from immortality, a major advantage of such a system would be that you could do anything and live out your wildest fantasies there, since that world would not be real. But since you would be real, the ‘experiences’ would be real.

If we really achieved this someday, would you be willing to do it? Or would the ethical dilemmas of it all would make you want to pass away like a normal human being?

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But we are already immortal? :D

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That might be true in the sense that our consciousness is immortal and only our physical bodies are mortal.

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fantastic

Uploading my consciousness to a sever be it cloud or nanobots is a good idea for me, it reminds me of the movie :Transcendence. But it also comes with its own challenges too.

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Yeah, I really liked that movie. It showed what the pinnacle of technology could do.

Thank you for your post @sauravrungta! I like watching Black Mirror too. I just finished watching about this same concept on YouTube. There are many people, scientists, inventors, and investors that are currently working on making this a possibility. They are targeting 2045 as the year that it will make it possible. In that video as well, you'd see a Rhesus monkey controlling a robot with its mind, as well as a paraplegic, a person paralyzed from the neck down, control an exoskeleton robot and kick a soccer ball. So, I guess where heading for some crazy reality in the future.

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Yeah, a lot is going to happen in this century. We will see a lot of the things that are considered science fiction today come to reality.

oh hell yeah.
but I'd upload to a swarm of nano-bots...not the cloud.

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Why a swarm of nano-bots though? :D

If we really achieved this someday, would you be willing to do it?

There is nobody who ain't afraid of dying. I probably will.
By 2050 this seems a possibility. Here is an article that was recently in the news.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5408425/Human-beings-achieve-immortality-2050.html

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Yeah, I think I would probably do it too, just to experience it.

It is a good question.

Our life is limited by our physical body. Once the body deteriorates our life ends. It is not a bad option to live in the cloud since there we would be free of those limitations but we would not be immortal .

Living in a virtual server only means that we will live while that server can work.

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I think we would be immortal because the consciousness can then be transferred from old server to the new. Once it's in a form of software, it can transferred to any number of new places, thus making you immortal.

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But servers are not eternal. What if they stop working someday?

There are many causes. Lack of energy in the future, a big natural disaster, the Earth destroyed by a meteorite, the ends of life in Earth when our Sun began to enlarge... Even the universe will end someday.

Servers will stop working and we will be inside.

What if..........we are uploaded into a simulated environment, the first task of which is to remove any memories of a previous existence?

Death is merely just an individual upgrade to a new server, birth the beginning.

Going another step further, what of the reason we cry upon birth is due to the realisation that our memories are being wiped and we are aware for just that split second that we will never again see those we have cherished and loved.

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Yeah, a lot of smart people in the world think that we live in a simulated reality already. That would be something, eh?

@sauravrungta It is a hell of a thought. Not sure I would won't to be uploaded into a cloud so to speak.
I would probably go for more of a reality based on the Altered Carbon type of tech... obviously not allowing the world to be so horrible, but being backed up essentially, allowing us to be placed into new cloned bodies or I guess a synthetic equivalent. Would be a hell of a technical leap to behold.
I wonder if a mind freed from its mortal body would still be constrained by mental limits or whether it could expand beyond, for lack of a better concept, it's 'programming'. Interesting thought right there, one mind with limitless potential could be beautiful or would it be a horror to behold, I guess it depends on the person, though once the gloves are off is it really still that person.

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That is a very interesting question. A consciousness free from the bounds of a physical body, in my opinion, would be devoid of all humanly desires and could, as you say, expand beyond the programming.

Thanks a lot for sharing your valuable post....
Carry on next
Best of luck..
I will still wait for your next post....

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Thank you :)

I loved your post. I think the question you posed is related to the mind-body problem. Is our consciousness inherently linked to our body, or can they be separated? Since I noticed you are familiar with the movie Transcendence, in that movie we can see what it may look like if our consciousness and body are inseparable when consciousness is uploaded, or attempted to be uploaded, to AI. Once uploaded, the main character could talk like he was the same as his human-self and could pull up all of his memories. However, he also became linked with AI and lacked empathy and overall emotions, though at times it seemed he could feign them.

Which, this makes sense. Consider the feeling of anxiety, it is not just in your head, you feel it in your body as well through increased heart rate, uneasiness in the stomach, etc. Or sadness is felt deeply in the chest.

Something else to consider, is what if before death you could live virtually and have a life significantly better-off than the one you lead in real life, that felt incredibly real? Would you choose to live in the VR or actual reality? Consider the movie The Matrix, this is identical to the red pill/blue pill debacle.

Thanks for promoting intriguing thoughts!

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That is really an interesting question and I must say, I don't have the faintest of clues. Both the answers will lead to even more intriguing questions like the ones you have raised here. I think we still don't understand a lot about our own selves and until we do that, this type of tech will be beyond our reach. That's why I think this could be possible, even if, only during the later part of this century, but who really knows, right? haha

Anyways, thanks for making me think even more about it :)

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I agree, we have a lot more to learn about consciousness before we could go about uploading it to a server. Although, I could see virtual reality becoming very advanced. The thought of that frankly frightens me, seeing how often people run away from their problems as it is. I think the movie Wall-E shows a fair prediction of a distant future for humanity if we don't solve some of the biggest problems plaguing us today.

Uploading our consciousness to virtual reality will not make us immortal, it will elongate our mortal experience. The whole system will become gibberish in some time. Our conscious is dictated by the sub-conscious and our subconscious is our immortal connection to the higher power. So, if we are immortal why bother uploading silly things? :)

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The belief that it will make us immortal comes from another belief that our consciousness forms the sum total of all that we are and by preserving that, we preserve the essence of the self which can then be replicated or transferred or stored.

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Yes, but we will inadvertently upload the ego as well. A companion of the conscious and enemy of the eternal. We will have virtual wars then... :)

We are big fans of "Black Mirror". Some of the stuff depicted in that show is super freaky and when you stop to think about it the things are all somewhat in the realm of possibilities. You don't have to let your imagination wander for to see these things happening. I remember the episode you speak about and I don't know where I would stand with the idea of eternal existence. I suppose if it keeps you with the people you love but at what point do you let go? And how much control would you really have?

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Yeah, you nailed it. The freaky part is that they are all possible some day. Like that episode where people rate each other. That is actually being planned in China albeit not in the same severe form, but it can certainly evolve to be someday.

About the consciousness uploading thing, I would personally like to try it if given the option. And since they mention that they can choose to erase the consciousness from the system, I would enjoy the virtual world for as long as I felt I was enjoying myself and then one day, maybe out of sheer boredom, I would essentially terminate myself! haha

Yes... but only so I can teabag mofo's till the end of time 😃😆😜😲

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LOL, that's something to be immortal for!!! lol

Shieee, FUTURE PHILOSOPHY maaaann.

into the great beyond.gif

As long as there is a kill-switch I'm down.
A few hundred extra years of my wildest fantasies sounds pretty lit, but hundreds-of-thousands of years.... NAH.

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woah! this is super trippy man!!!

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Right?? (Sci-fi sounds intensify)

Netflix has a short series that carries this idea one step further: Altered Carbon. In that series, Earth has gained alien technology that allows people to store their consciousness in pods and then install those pods in a body.

When a body dies, the consciousness is stored in the pod and can be transferred many times to a new body. The contents of the pod can be backed up, stored in a new pod and so on.

It's a pretty trippy story and I found it well worth the time to watch. I tried watching Black Mirror and found it rather nauseatingly negative. I might come back to it again someday, though.

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Yeah that is a pretty common, suggested way of becoming immortal once we are able to store our consciousness as digital data. The idea is that stay in a body (biological/mechanical) as long as that body can sustain you and after it no longer can, simply move on to other body. As simple as that!

I will certainly watch Altered Carbon now as I am really interested in this subject and I hope you complete the Black Mirror series as well because even though it can be very negative, it certainly presents ideas that are VERY possible in the future, so better stay informed and think about it.

Saludos, acá en VENEZUELA la frase por ahora es de nuestro eterno gigante HUGO CHAVEZ FRÍAS... que significa el trecho que falta por lograr las cosas....