T Nation

Singularity Approaches



Previous discussion here about Kurzweil's book that died pretty quickly:


My thoughts:

  • The idea of downloading your brain into a computer to become immortal seems impossible to me. You could be perceived immortal to the world if there was a carbon copy of you walking around after the "original you" had died, but your brain, and therefore, your consciousness, would still be dead. That's not immortality, it's just advanced cloning.

  • Immortality has drastic implications for this planet. "Immortality for everyone" would be unsustainable due to the finite resources of this planet if we continued to reproduce at all. It would be the end of the human species.

  • Becoming a cyborg would be badass as long as your brain could be sustained indefinitely and you could still get pleasure from the same things that gave you physical pleasure as a human (i.e. sex, food, lifting, etc).

This is a fun topic to think about.


There's a book (which I can't seem to remember the name of. I'll get back to you) in which human beings find a way to enter the higher dimensions (idk if you are familiar with string theory) and live without bodies, but more like ghosts. Their bodies are basically in cryogenic suspended animation, and their minds are put into the fifth dimension.

My explanation probably sounds like a fairytale, but when the author explained it, it sounded quite plausible.



The planet's resources aren't finite. They are scarce but elastic. In fact, the more labor resources you have the more elastic they become.
So more people in free exchange = more resources available.

On the main topic of singularity:
What need would there be to imprint or transfer the mind onto/into a new medium when you could just regenerate the organic body in perpetuity? You would still need to maintain the wear and tear of an inorganic machine so the cost difference is minimal and maybe even non-existent.


Who's to say that if you were able to imitate all of the synapse in your nervous system and transfer all of the electrical activity instantaneously to analogous, artificial neurons in a fashion that resembled normal nerve conduction that it wouldn't actually BE you?

Nerves pass signals all the time, what if the "hand-off" were to a machine? It's hard to imagine it ever working since everyone's outlook is colorized by their physical vessel, but I don't think it's entirely unrealistic.

Say it were possible, it brings up other ethical considerations: does one's soul (if you believe in it) transfer with electrical activity? Are we really any more than the sum of our electrochemical brain activity? Would humans, psychologically, ever be able to deal with a lack of a body or one that wasn't really theirs?

Cool link, Steel.

Edit: Another interesting point on the last page of the article.

Would anyone here choose to die if lifespans were extended indefinitely? Essentially would anyone decide to simply let nature take it's course or give mother nature the bird and plan on living forever?

I fall into the second category.


Even elasticity has a limit. Hence, finite.


If aging wasn't a problem and all injuries could heal perfectly then I would like to live for a few hundred years or so, until/unless civilization starts to fall apart. I would like it even more if I were the only one to be able to do this.


Yeah the elasticity of the Earth's resources does have a limit. The limit is the output of the Sun and further the resources of the entire rest of the Universe. So technically you'd be right because the Universe is finite and unbounded. However the physical Earth will be engulfed by the Sun before the Sun runs out of energy, so Earth's resources are only limited by that event.


I'm kind of torn on this subject, from a psychological viewpoint more than anything.

At nearly 40 I can definitely say that life seems to be flashing by more quickly as I get older. Of course I know this is an illusion, probably heightened by the fact that as I get older I become more aware of how much closer I'm getting to the "big day." Not that I dwell on it mind you - it's just there; unavoidable, inescapable and as certain as the sunrise.

But take that awareness away and wonder what would life really be like if there was no end? Not to sound like a cliche or anything, but isn't the threat of death one of the things that gives life so much more meaning?

I'm not saying I wouldn't take an extension on this fleshy mortgage lol, but immortality? I can't say for certain I'd buy in to that. At some point I'd grow tired and would have seen it all and would let nature do it's thing.

Unless of course we're exploring space then that's an entirely different kettle of fish and I'd be all like ....




I have no idea what you're talking about.


I think as you get older, 'time goes by' faster b/c each year is a smaller percentage of your life.
When you're 25 years old, each year accounts for 4%, but when you're 50 each year is 2%, and this number constantly gets smaller, so each year goes by faster.
I know we can argue that you don't remember childhood or this and that, but I hope you still get the point.


I read that also. Imagine if you lived to be 1000. Every year would be like a month now.