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When I was much younger, I told my father I believed I would live forever. He asked how that would happen and gently reminded me that we all die sooner or later. I explained that I believed we would figure it out in my lifetime. He laughed, as a father might, when his child says something funny and irrational. I understood his disbelief, but I held fast to my position. Something inside me knew I was right.

Over the years, this idea had faded somewhat. Such ideas dull as the everyday grind of life wears you down with reality. But that's also one of the great things about ideas: their dormant seeds remain, ready to sprout roots with the slightest hint of encouragement by light or water.

I've recently discovered Second Life, a 3D virtual world. One of Kurzweil's predictions involves using nanobots to download our brains and personalities into a virtual world intact (i.e., senses and all). This got me thinking: maybe immortality doesn't have to be living forever in the real world. In the future, maybe immortality will mean living forever in a virtual world. After all, in the real world, we are limited by our ability to manipulate matter while, in a virtual world, we are not. Intriguing idea, don't you think? He discusses this in his recent documentary Transcendent Man: The Life and Ideas of Ray Kurzweil.

What if you could download yourself into a virtual world, such as Second Life, and be stored there with the ability to feel and maybe even survive the death of your biological body? Would you do this? What are some of the potential dangers or repercussions of such a choice? Do you view this as a good thing for humanity or is it its end?

Please message me to discuss - I'm fascinated by these ideas.


Original posting by ToranNightfire on May 23, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=563

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Introduction to discussion on May 25, 2011:

First conceptualized by Descartes (the man who brought you "I think, therefore I am"), the Turing Test is used to test a computer's ability to imitate human thinking. It works like this: two humans and one computer are separated. One of the humans - the judge - engages in a conversation with the other human and with the computer (typing only). If the judge can't tell which is the computer and which is the human, the computer passes the test. One computer has managed to fool judges 25% of the time.

How far we have come in such a short time.

"Why not develop music in ways unknown? This only makes sense. I cannot understand the difference between my notes on paper and other notes on paper. If beauty is present, it is present. I hope I can continue to create notes and that these notes will have beauty for some others. I am not sad. I am not happy. I am Emily. You are Dave. Life and un-life exist. We coexist. I do not see problems."

Emily Howell, the "daughter" of the music computer program Emmy (Experiments in Musical Intelligence - sometimes spelled EMI)... yes, a computer wrote and played that

Consider that humans have the capacity we do because of the way our brains work. Transhumanists believe that humanity should not be limited by such biology. Computers already perform some of the same functions as the human brain so it's theoretically possible that, in the future, technology could be constructed to replicate human intelligence. Even if a computer couldn't model the human brain exactly, it's plausible to consider a computer being able to closely simulate the entire human body, including the brain. This is one of the primary goals of artificial intelligence research (aka artificial general intelligence or AGI).

Braincraver ToranNightfire has written her thoughts about how Ray Kurzweil is bringing her dreams to life. Do you share her dreams?

Do you think that advanced computer technologies could replicate human intelligence? If so, would computers then be considered conscious, self-aware, and having free will? Do you think there's anything inherent in humanity that couldn't be replicated in a computer? Can you imagine a world where our interactions with computers are so commonplace and integrated that we lose sight of the dividing line between humanity and technology? What are your religious or philosophical objections to integrating humans and technology?

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