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Coming: Immortality

india Updated: May 15, 2012 01:55 IST
PP Wangchuk
PP Wangchuk
Hindustan Times
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Who wants death even if it delivers one from the sorrows and worries of life on this planet? Given a chance, very few of the six billion plus people on this earth would like to die.

For those who never say die, there is hope of immortality coming their way. Philosopher Stephen Cave, who is hopeful of seeing ‘digital immortality’, says, in his book Immortality, that one can soon hope to “reincarnate” one’s self by opting for ‘silicon you’ when the real and the physical you dies. Cave asserts this kind of immortality can be achieved by scanning your brain, followed by the uploading of your entire essence into a digital form of bits and bytes.

Once this task is achieved, the whole brain emulation can be saved in a computer memory bank ready to come to life as an ‘avatar’ of your former self. This can be given a further fillip and shape by using the body of an intelligent robot, a sort of replica of what you were.

Of course, Cave does admit that it is not truly immortality as you physically is dead and only a ‘copy’ of yourself is there as the ‘new you’. But he assures you that this ‘new you’ can grow, marry and have even children!

The Independent last week gave a boost to this idea. A report, quoting Dr Stuart Armstrong, University of Oxford, says that “the rise of the idea of ‘digital immortality’ is due to the realisation that this time we actually have the key to immortality in our hands.

Randal A Koene, another scientist and founder of the Carbon Copies Project in California, says he is determined to take ‘digital immortality’ from the pages of books like Cave’s, to reality. The institute aims at creating a network of community of scientists to advance ‘digital immortality’ to give humanity a new hope. Sure, some of us may cry foul, but the mere hope of securing immortality will eclipse the morality issue of ‘digital immortality’.