Monday, 20 November 2017

WOULD YOU DIE TO LIVE...?


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Here's a question for all you cavortin' Criv-ites to consider.  Imagine that Science one day masters the technique of transferring your brain patterns into a synthetic body - much like NOMAN from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS.  That means a new, younger body, with all your thoughts, tastes, memories and morals would live on, perhaps forever.

There's one little problem though.  Unlike Noman, it wouldn't be your actual consciousness that would be transferred, only a simulation of it.  And the process of transference would effectively cause your original body and brain to enter a vegetative state, with death following soon after.  So, although in one sense 'you' would live on, it would be a copy of you, not you yourself.

Ponder this scenario for a moment.  You're in your 80s and approaching the end of your life, with perhaps only a few years to go if you're lucky.  Would you sacrifice those years for the chance of perpetuating the 'essence' of yourself for many more years to come, thereby preserving all your memories of your life up to that point?

Or would you prefer to take whatever comes, and to hell with the promise of pseudo-immortality?  Do tell.

10 comments:

-3- said...

On your second paragraph, you get to the catch that most don't grasp when they talk about uploading their memories into a system. You're not moving yourself, your replicating yourself. You still die, and even if they "put you down" while you upload, it's still just a copy that remembers you. The you that is "You" won't be there.

I'm always amazed at how that point seems to elude so many when they talk about the subject.
So, for me - I'll just be backing up my memories every night so that the system can go live after the actual me is gone. (Wouldn't want to deprive the world, y'know)

Kid said...

I think if they could actually put the real me into a new, young body, I'd go for it, but just to put a copy of me into that body is not quite so appealing. I've always assumed that what was done to Noman was the former process I've just described, but having just this moment looked again at his origin, it's actually a bit ambiguous.

Dave S said...

I wouldn't bother. As 3 says, I wouldn't be able to keep experiencing life, only the copy of me would, and I'm not that egotistical to think that the world can't get along without me.

If it was my consciousness being transferred into a new body, I might give it a go. Another option I'd quite like when I die is for my consciousness to simply be sent back to the start of my life again to relive the whole thing but retaining my current memories so as to avoid pitfalls and appreciate good times more than I might have done at the time.

Kid said...

The thing is though, DS, in his mind, your copy would feel like you - that he was you continuing to experience life. If that's as close as you could come to 'immortality', maybe it's worth grabbing?

On your second point, if you got to relive your life from the start with your current memories, it would probably be a bittersweet affair, as you'd know how short-lived your good experiences were in advance.

Warren JB said...

I've thought the same as you and 3, Kid. It's less continuation of one life, more a strange kind of procreation. One being - or at least it's mind - begets another. You end up with two beings, the latter inheriting something from the former, but existing as a separate, independent consciousness. The former is still stuck in it's own body, for however long, facing the same universal predicament.

It's like... uploading Wonder Man's brain patterns to the Vision. The Vision wasn't Wonder Man in a body coloured like a Christmas Tree, and it didn't preclude Wonder Man's real body returning to consciousness.

It's like the Star Trek transporter, too - each time, this machine locks onto your body and disintegrates it, just as surely as a klingon disrupter. Then it uses a scan of your body to shuffle a lot of molecules around and create a body just like yours, just before the point of disintegration, including your memory engrams. And then that copy is killed and a copy made of it, next time the transporter is used, and that second copy is killed, and that copy of the second copy, and the copy of that copy... what a body count! Well, there would be, if the bodies weren't zapped into so much carbon dust.

I'll cite several episodes of post-TOS Trek where they talk about pattern buffers and such, especially the episodes where they 'cured' Doctor Pulaski of an aging disease by feeding her uncontaminated genetic code into the transporter computer, and the time the transporter had a hiccup and we ended up with two Will Rikers - both of them the 'real' Riker. (Also the fact that the food replicators were based on the same technology, but didn't 'beam' cups of Earl Grey into Picard's quarters from somewhere else, rather than create them from scratch from a stock of suitable molecular matter) I put it to you that they merely cloned a new Doctor Pulaski after zapping the decrepit one, and that neither Will Riker was the real one - he having willingly stepped into a disintegration chamber years before...

I may have spent some time thinking about this.

Kid said...

But isn't it ever-so fascinating to think about such things? Before your comment came in, I'd been considering the fact that our bodies 'renew' themselves anyway. Our skin grows 'new' skin (but still looks the age it was when it 'regenerated'), our minds may well do the same. If so, that means that our memories are 'echoes' of our original memories, reconstituted when our brains 'renew' themselves. Not quite the same thing you were talking about in regards to Star Trek perhaps, but similar.

TC said...

My impression was that Dr. Dunn's mind was actually transferred to Noman's body, but maybe I misunderstood. Or maybe the later revivals by Deluxe, JC, and DC retconned the origin, and made the android just a replicant.

With Star Trek-TOS, I assumed that the transporter reassembled the original person at the destination, but the later spin-offs did sometimes imply that the original was destroyed and then duplicated. The question was also raised in James Blish's novel Spock Must Die in the late 1960s.

I might be willing to have my actual consciousness transferred to a younger, healthier body. But to create a duplicate or replica of myself? Nah.

Kid said...

That was my first impression with Noman, TC, but looking at the story now, it could be interpreted in a different way if one were of a mind to. Same again with Star Trek. I don't think I'd use a transporter if I was going to be destroyed at one end, and a new me re-created at the other.

I still find the prospect of another 'me' continuing on after my death rather appealing, but not if the cost of achieving that is me having to die in order to make it happen.

Phil S said...

If I was a crime fighting artificial body like Noman perhaps. In real life no. Once all your friends and family go it’s time to pack it in. Or you could go crazy and become some sort of super villain like Vandal Savage.

Kid said...

H'mm, now why do I find that strangely appealing, PS? Super-villain. H'mm.

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