Increasing longevity and electronic immortality. 3Bn people to live forever.

I have written and lectured many times on this topic, but it’s always worth doing an occasional update.  Anyone under 35 today will likely have access to electronic immortality and live forever.Well, not forever, but until the machines running their minds fail. How? Read on.

Scientists can already replicate the functions of small parts of the brain, and can essentially replace them in lab animals. Every year, this moves on a little, for all the best reasons. They aren’t mad scientists, they are trying to find solutions to enormous human problems such as  senility, strokes and general loss of brain function due to normal ageing. These destroy parts of the brain function, so if we can work out how to augment the remaining brain to replace lost function, then that should be a good thing. But although these things start in medical treatment, the military also has an interest in making super-soldiers, with faster reactions, better senses, superior intelligence and so on. And the rest of us present a large and attractive market for cosmetic use of brain augmentation.

Most of us would happily pay out for the cosmetic version of all of these things once they become available and safe. I want a higher IQ, perfect memory, better creativity, modifiable personality, enhanced senses and so on. You probably do too., though your list may not be exactly the same as mine. The wish list is long and many of the items on it will become available this century.

The timeline goes from today’s simple implants and sensory links all the way to a full direct link to most parts of the brain by 2045-2050. This will allow 2-way communication between your organic brain and electronic enhancement, which could physically be almost anywhere, though transmission time limits how far away some functions can be. What starts as a cosmetic enhancement to senses or memory will gradually be enhanced to add IQ, telepathic communication, shared minds and many other areas. Over time, more and more of your mind will actually be housed in the machine world. Some of it will still run in your organic brain, but a reducing proportion, so your brain will become less and less important to your mind’s ongoing existence . At some point your organic body will die, and you’ll lose that bit, but hey, it’s no big deal, most of the bits you actually use are elsewhere. But medical advances are fixing many of the things that might otherwise kill you, and pushing your date of death further into the future. That buys you more time to make the migration. How much time?

For young people, the rate of medical advancement expected over the next few decades is such that their expected death date is actually moving further away.

Let’s clarify that: for anyone under 35, each year, for quite a long period starting soonish, more than a year will be added to their expected lifespan, so they won’t be getting closer to dying, they will be getting further away. But only for a time. That rate of development can’t continue forever. It will eventually slow down. But realistically, for the developed world and for many in the developing world too, under 35s will live into their late 90s or 100s. If you’re 35 today, that means you  probably aren’t going to die until after 2075, and that is well after the electronic immortality option kicks in. If it appears on the market in the 2050s, as I believe it will for rich or important people, by 2080, it will be cheap and routine and pretty much anyone will have it as an option.

So, anyone under 35 has a very good chance of being able to carry on electronically after their body dies. They will buy some sort of android body, or maybe just rent one when they want to do something in the physical world and otherwise stay in the cloud. Space and resource limitations may dictate how much real world presence you are permitted.

How many people does this apply to. Median age in the world at the moment in almost exactly 30. 3.5Bn pople are under 30, but some will die too early to benefit. Another 500M in the 30-35 range will make up for the younger ones that die from accidents, wars, disease, or disasters. Then we need to discount for those that won’t be able to afford it. After much hand waving and guesstimating, a reasonable estimate of 3Bn results for those that will have reasonable access to electronic immortality, and will probably live to around 100 before that. Wow! We don’t just have the first person alive who will live electronically for hundreds of years after their body dies. We have the first 3Bn.

They won’t live forever. The Earth won’t last forever, nor will the rest of the universe. But they will be able to live until someone destroys the equipment or switches them off. Wars or terrorism could do that, or even a future society that turns against the idea. It is far from risk free. But, with a bit of luck maybe they could expect to live for a few hundred years after they ‘die’.

I know I’ve made the joke many times, but it’s still worth repeating. Soon, death will no longer be a career problem.

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14 responses to “Increasing longevity and electronic immortality. 3Bn people to live forever.

  1. That’s much interesting for the younger people as described under 35 I wish good luck to them but it seems quite away from us people like under 45. I am 43 bachelor. My father still going on who will get his 85 this year. Any other research may benifite us people under 45. I wish for that amazing discoveries. Cheers!

  2. Do the concerned people think that people under 45 have also chances to avail such future achievements?

    • The under-35 is just a rough guide. Of course, some people live longer than others and I am sure some 45 year olds will survive long enough to benefit. Check out the 2045 Project on google too. If those guys succeed in that time frame, it means you only need to live another 33 years from now to be in with a chance. Averages are useful maths tools, but the 35 was never intended to be read as a sharp cut-off. Good luck!

  3. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    That’s much interesting for the younger people as described under 35 I wish good luck to them but it seems quite away from us Hi!
    People like me under 45. As I am 43 Years old bachelor. My father still going on perfectly with his 85.
    Any other research may benifite us like me, the people near 45. I wish for availing such amazing discoveries.
    Do u the concerned people think that people under 45 have also chances to avail such future achievements?
    Cheers!

    Cheers!

  4. Pingback: What will your next body be like? | The more accurate guide to the future

  5. I do not understand how using a substrate other than your brain makes you immortal. Your consciousness resides in your physical brain. When your physical brain dies, so does your consciousness.

    If you made an exact replica of my brain in some other substrate, that would be a clone of me. But I would not be conscious inside that clone. When you “turned on” that clone I would not be conscious of anything that was going on with that clone. The only way for me to gain conscious awareness in that clone is if you fed that clone’s information to my physical brain.

    So I understand how you could feed information from some outside sources into my brain and I would consciously experience that information. I understand how I could consciously see things other than what my eyes see or access memories stored outside my brain. But once my brain dies, my conscious ability to experience anything ends.

    So I am not immortal. My consciousness is still tied to the longevity of my brain. What am I not understanding?

    • That the external bit isn’t a clone, but an extension to your brain, and is where almost all your thoughts and sense and memories and your consciousness eventually really reside. So when your body and brain die, you only lose a bit. Your mind would mostly carry on, not a clone of it, but the one you’ve been using for many years.

  6. You say that I only lose a bit. But that bit is where my consciousness resides. So when I lose that bit, I lose my consciousness. I die!

    For example, let’s say you made a perfect replica of my brain while I was alive. And you turned that brain on. Obviously, I would not experience anything that brain was doing by just turning it on.

    In order for me to experience what that clone was doing, you would have to make a connection to my brain that fed the clone’s data to my brain. Once this connection was made, I would then experience what was happening in that clone.

    But once you turned off that connection, I would no longer experience what was happening with that clone. So my consciousness hasn’t been transferred to the clone. It still resides in my brain.

    If we connected my brain back up to the clone, I would again begin experiencing the clone. And if I again disconnected my brain from the clone, my ability to experience what the clone was doing would come to an end again.

    And let’s say that this time the way that I disconnect from the clone was by destroying my brain, then I would permanently lose the ability to experience what the clone was doing. I would die.

    So I understand how I can experience things that are fed into my brain. But you have yet to explain how my consciousness can be transferred from my brain to another source.

    • My blog did explain it actually, but I’ll try to explain it further. Two areas of problem I think. Firstly, I think that you think that I am proposing using an external brain that depends on your original one for overall control and consciousness, but I am not. What I am suggesting is that electronic capability is gradually added to your brain and your mind inhabits that additional territory in just the same way as your original brain, so much of your consciousness is based there too. Think of it as just like getting a sophisticated operation to make your brain huge, adding capability to every part of it. The original parts of your brain wouldn’t be a prison for your consciousness. It would exist in the extension in just the same way. Then one day, if the extension is turned off, you would remain alive and conscious, but with greatly reduced processing, emotional and sensory capability, and lose a lot of your recent memories. Similarly, if the old bit of your brain is switched off due to death, you would also remain alive, but lose a smaller proportion of your processing, sensory and memory. Secondly, it is entirely possible to biomimetically replicate the ways that your brain works, and then almost certainly to improve on them. If so, then I can’t see any reason that your consciousness would remain imprisoned in your original brain and that is a key assumption in my piece. And as it grows to inhabit the other extended areas, that are externally hosted, your mind would eventually reside mostly outside of your head, but it is still all ‘you’. Turning off any significant bit of it would cause some loss, but you’d still carry on if sufficient is left.

  7. We need other body’s to stay a llife not brain it’s work like space it can live for ever. It’s the other body’s that dies like heart example?

  8. If you want to refer to my posts, please just use a pingback, you may not use my copyright material as your own. Please remove my articles from your blog.

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