When I watched the film “Transcendence”, I thought, it will be wonderful to upload my mind.

Life is too short to learn and experience everything I want and need. The curse of mortality is that by the time the mind ripens and consciousness approaches heightening, the physical body is already fast deteriorating.

Barring dementia, Alzheimers and other degenerative diseases that plague humans in their senior years, one can achieve peak intellectual powers in their seventies, after one has accumulated enough knowledge that could be translated to wisdom.

In the fourth decade of life, one only begins to grasp the potentials of the mind. That’s when you learn about less and less. You become aware of the vast body of knowledge, thoughts, ideas, artwork and the like, amassed by humanity for thousands of years and how you have accessed not even a pinch of it, despite all the years you put in college, graduate school, post-graduate, work experience, street knowledge, etc.

And now, futurists think that uploading the human mind, including one’s personality, memories and emotions, into a computer is possible.

The catch is, it won’t be like Johnny Depp’s character in “Transcendence” at all. We can never transfer our biological consciousness. In that sense, we can’t really attain immortality.

Even if scientists can surmount every technical obstacle and replicate the totality of the human mind, emotions, memories, personality and intellect into a machine, it would simply be a redundant copy, which can be cloned endlessly on other PCs. In other words, the replication won’t be a sentient being sans physical body.

“Once we understand the brain well enough to reproduce all neural connections electronically, all we will be able to do is run a faithful simulation of our brain on a computer. Even if that simulation happens to have a consciousness of its own, it will never be our own biological consciousness.”

Once the technology is developed, we don’t have to die to upload our mind to PCs. “Doing so won’t deprive us of our biological consciousness. It will just be like having a mental clone of ourselves, but we will never feel like we are inside the computer, without it affecting who we are,” according to futurist Maciamo Hay.

“Since mind uploading won’t preserve our self-awareness, the feeling that we are ourselves and not someone else, it won’t lead to immortality. We’ll still be bound to our bodies, but life expectancy for transhumanists and cybernetic humans will be considerably extended.”

“Immortality is a confusing term since it implies living forever, which is impossible since nothing is eternal in our universe. At best it can mean greatly extended longevity, living for several hundreds or thousands years, assuming that nothing kills us before. Science will slow down, stop and even reverse the aging process, enabling us to live healthily for a very long time by today’s standards. This is known as negligible senescence. However that has nothing to do with actual immortality. Cybernetic humans with robotic limbs and respirocytes will still die in accidents or wars.”

If you ask me, writers don’t really need PCs to upload their minds, anyway.

The likes of Plato, Socrates, Euripides and even Shakespeare never did.

What we write can live long after our mortal flesh have been devoured by worms.

So, we should be careful about the words we put down on paper and online.

Not to mention the writings we may put down unfinished.

We can only grieve about what we’ll leave undone.


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