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Technology & Innovation

Computer-Based Immortality “Well-Before Century’s End”

If the pace of technological advance holds steady according to its historical rates, we will be able to upload a significant part of our identity into computers well-before century's end.

What’s the Latest Development?

John Smart, co-founder of the Brain Preservation Foundationan organization dedicated to the study of maintaining brain function after our biological deathargues that the “redundant, resilient and distributed” nature of long-term memory makes it possible to preserve significant portions of our identity after death. “Long term storage of whole brain connectomes, synaptomes and epigenomes at room temperature…may work today via additional chemical fixation steps like osmium tetroxide,a process that crosslinks fats and cell membranes…”

What’s the Big Idea?

Smart writes that well-before century’s end, “[i]f computational neuroscience, microscopy, scanning, and robotics technologies continue to improve at their historical rates, preserved memories and identity may be affordably reanimated by being ‘uploaded’into computer simulations.” Those simulations will confer positive benefits on any society that has them, argues Smart. He therefore believes that the distribution of brain preservation technology should not be limited to societies that have exclusive financial access to superior technology. 

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