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Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:29 pm UTC
by gbagcn2
Maybe a combination of scanning dead bodies, scanning the living relatives of that persons brain, and then uploading it into a simulation will make it possible. Also what happens if someone dies and then their exact brain state is created sometime in the future? Does there conciousness (sp?) transfer to that brain as soon as they die?

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:13 am UTC
by The Scyphozoa
According to the fictional Captain/Major/Lt. Colonel (whatever she was at the time) Samantha Carter... or maybe it could have been her robot double who actually said it, but I'm reasonably sure that they were both thinking it... Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle prevents you from actually reproducing someone's consciousness.

And that un-researched, un-supported comment is acceptable, considering who made this thread...

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:52 am UTC
by setzer777
gbagcn2 wrote:Also what happens if someone dies and then their exact brain state is created sometime in the future? Does there conciousness (sp?) transfer to that brain as soon as they die?


That's assuming that there is some sort of disembodied consciousness to be transferred. I think more likely each brain "generates" a consciousness, and that whether it is the "same" consciousness is a human definition based on how similar it is. While in principle a duplicate brain couldn't be identical, neither is your brain identical to how it was 10 minutes ago, and we still consider you to have the same consciousness.

EDIT: To clarify based on Izawwlgood's post below: what I'm asking is "what if there is no 'man behind the curtain'"? Most of us have a belief that there is some sort of substance that is "us" that exists beyond individual instances of certain brain patterns, but what if this belief is false? I'm suggesting that if you made even an imperfect copy of your brain, that person would be just as much "you" as your 10 year old past self is "you". We identify as the same being because of continuity of experience and similarities, but perhaps there is no substance that truly persists.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:20 am UTC
by Izawwlgood
I'm willing to accept the notion that super complicated amazing magic technology will allow for the complete reconstruction of the brain wave/spirit/psychic imprint of a person. That does NOT mean that when they, the people of this wonderful utopia, make another Izawwlgood so the future can better understand the world changing, enigmatic, brilliant man that [I'll tell you about it later], that *I* will awaken in the vat ready to bring them my wisdom afresh.
The man behind the curtain that is who I am dies with me, and a new one is given the same set of levers to pull, and will pull them the same way, but isn't me.

Also, dude, we're mortal. That's what makes us us. Don't take that away from us.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:21 am UTC
by GoodRudeFun
Izawwlgood wrote:I'm willing to accept the notion that super complicated amazing magic technology will allow for the complete reconstruction of the brain wave/spirit/psychic imprint of a person. That does NOT mean that when they, the people of this wonderful utopia, make another Izawwlgood so the future can better understand the world changing, enigmatic, brilliant man that [I'll tell you about it later], that *I* will awaken in the vat ready to bring them my wisdom afresh.
The man behind the curtain that is who I am dies with me, and a new one is given the same set of levers to pull, and will pull them the same way, but isn't me.

Also, dude, we're mortal. That's what makes us us. Don't take that away from us.

Why do we have to die? Who said that we HAVE to be mortal?
How does it really make us who we are?



I say that, yes, if there is only one copy at a time, that copy will be "you". It's processes and outcomes of those processes that make an individual an individual. It's not physical, and there is no evidence to assume it's spiritual. What makes us who we are is how we think and act through time. So it would be safe to assume that as long as the processes are close enough, it would be considered me.

However, if there is another copy existing at the same time, the two entities immediately start experiencing different existences, and so have different processes going, and would therefore not be the same individual.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:41 am UTC
by Izawwlgood
GoodRudeFun wrote:Why do we have to die? Who said that we HAVE to be mortal?
How does it really make us who we are?

Have you not read any fiction?
On a more serious note, I feel what makes our lives worth living and experiencing is the urgency of our forays here. I feel Gaiman had it right, depicting the 10,000 year old man who recalled the scent of mammoth exclaiming upon realizing his imminent doom "NOT YET!". I surely support allowing man to live longer, but I've no idea how long I feel that should go, only that immortality is not something that would serve humans well.
A key point here, I feel is, rendering one immortal renders one inhuman. If you can pull an eternal consciousness, then rad, but it wouldn't be human.
GoodRudeFun wrote:So it would be safe to assume that as long as the processes are close enough, it would be considered me.

I disagree. Scenario: I render you unconscious, and create a carbon copy of you (complete replica of your mind as well, hypothetical, just roll with it), leaving GoodRudeFun[TheOriginal] and GoodRudeFun[THEDOPPLEGANGER!!!]. If I incinerate GoodRudeFun[TheOriginal], and allow GoodRudeFun[THEDOPPLEGANGER!!!] to wake, YOU will not be the one waking, and YOU will be as dead as dead can be. Outsiders may very well consider it to be you, but to the person it matters most, it won't be.

Dude, didn't you watch the Prestige? Or Sixth Day?

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:59 am UTC
by tastelikecoke
You can say that GoodRudeFun's soul got transferred in the other entity. By soul I mean he has GRF's Braaaain. If you transferred GRF's consciousness into a teddy bear, would people who he matters most reject him or not?

Anyway, if we prevent ever for telomeres to reduce in size, I think it's possible to have an immortal, but he can be killed, can catch diseases and injured. I'm sure he'll be dead sooner or later anyway. But I know that's not a point, If you lock him in a sustainable room, he can live for infinity.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:43 am UTC
by Xeio
Izawwlgood wrote:On a more serious note, I feel what makes our lives worth living and experiencing is the urgency of our forays here. I feel Gaiman had it right, depicting the 10,000 year old man who recalled the scent of mammoth exclaiming upon realizing his imminent doom "NOT YET!". I surely support allowing man to live longer, but I've no idea how long I feel that should go, only that immortality is not something that would serve humans well.
Immortality + Make suicide not illegal anymore (then again, that only matters if you're unsuccessful). I'm not sure why you think immortality is so bad though...

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:58 am UTC
by Daojia
Off-topic: The concept of individual mortality is instinctive. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead discusses the topic more eloquently than I could hope to:

R: Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occured to you that you don't go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one's memory. And yet, I can't remember it. It never occured to me at all. We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it. Before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squawling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, theres only one direction. And time is its only measure.

On the flip-side, and slighty more on-topic, John C. Wright's The Golden Age offers some very good commentary on transhumanism and the uploading of consciousness. Heartily recommended.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:19 pm UTC
by Argency
Izawwlgood wrote:
GoodRudeFun wrote:So it would be safe to assume that as long as the processes are close enough, it would be considered me.

I disagree. Scenario: I render you unconscious, and create a carbon copy of you (complete replica of your mind as well, hypothetical, just roll with it), leaving GoodRudeFun[TheOriginal] and GoodRudeFun[THEDOPPLEGANGER!!!]. If I incinerate GoodRudeFun[TheOriginal], and allow GoodRudeFun[THEDOPPLEGANGER!!!] to wake, YOU will not be the one waking, and YOU will be as dead as dead can be. Outsiders may very well consider it to be you, but to the person it matters most, it won't be.

Dude, didn't you watch the Prestige? Or Sixth Day?

I disagree with your disagreement. I think what we thing of as GoodRudeFun is just the patterns of causation in GRF's brain, and that if you recreate those patterns you recreate him (her?). So in your scenario after you copied him (?) there'd be two of him. Two GoodRudeFun's, and then you'd kill one. So, sure, the body of the first GRF would have been killed, but that body was completely replaced every seven years anyway. There's specific to the atoms of GRF's body that make him him, except their arrangement, which can be replicated. The body is just a vessel for the pattern of causality which we call GRF. I think that interpretation of consciousness is perfectly compatible with the Prestige, too, and with Sixth Day.

So, sure, if you kill one of the pair, that one dies, and experiences dying, and doesn't think or form memories anymore. The pattern is destroyed in that instantiation. But if you've made a copy, you can't say that GRF is dead, because his brain configuration is still instantiated. Really I think the problem is the terminology. Our concept of death wasn't formulated with cloning in mind, so talking about death makes a lot less sense when you can clone people. Which is why I wouldn't care about dying if the pain wasn't an issue and I knew my brain had recently been "backed up" somewhere safe for cloning.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:44 pm UTC
by tastelikecoke
If you're talking about death, Watch Blue's Clues the original. The thing about it is the original Steve is dead, Contrary to his lively and vibrant acting in the children's show. I somehow felt creepy about that.

You can show the vibrant Steve, doing anything, you won't think he passed away. Well what more for a clone? Your brain will feel creepy, but the clone is much as the real one. (Let's write some fiction about this :D)

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:04 pm UTC
by Xeio
Argency wrote:So, sure, if you kill one of the pair, that one dies, and experiences dying, and doesn't think or form memories anymore. The pattern is destroyed in that instantiation. But if you've made a copy, you can't say that GRF is dead, because his brain configuration is still instantiated. Really I think the problem is the terminology. Our concept of death wasn't formulated with cloning in mind, so talking about death makes a lot less sense when you can clone people. Which is why I wouldn't care about dying if the pain wasn't an issue and I knew my brain had recently been "backed up" somewhere safe for cloning.
Well, at that point you're walking into territory where you get free teleportation, because we can just vaporize and clone you at your new location...

I'd say I'm a bit squeamish at that thought though. Basically, you have your consciousness stop, and then a new different (exact copy, but different anyway) one is created. It seems simple, until you run into the situation where you could stop the destruction process, and now you have two copies of the same person one of which needs to be killed...

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:15 pm UTC
by Armadillo Al
Sure we'll be able to revive the dead. How else do you think the Zombie Apocalypse will begin?

(Apologies for not contributing to this thread in a meaningful way. It's way too early on a Monday to begin thinking that cerebrally.)

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:29 pm UTC
by SlyReaper
Well, the question asks "ever". As in, we have all of eternity to get this to work.

Eternity is a very very long time. And over timescales trillions of times longer than the lifespan of the universe, odd quantum-shaped things can happen. Particles can pop in and out of existence at random. Once in a very long while, a group of particles will appear simultaneuosly close to each other. After a mind-boggling amount of time has passed, particles will pop into existence in the exact configuration required to produce a squeaky dog toy (alas, it's still in a vaccum so nobody can hear it squeak). Eventually, an entire new solar system can pop into existence all at once and be identical in every minute detail to this one at this moment except we now call the colour purple "hoofleigh".

So in a sense, yes. The dead can be revived naturally given enough time, assuming my second-hand quantum bullshit is accurate. :mrgreen:

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:35 pm UTC
by You, sir, name?
The Scyphozoa wrote:According to the fictional Captain/Major/Lt. Colonel (whatever she was at the time) Samantha Carter... or maybe it could have been her robot double who actually said it, but I'm reasonably sure that they were both thinking it... Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle prevents you from actually reproducing someone's consciousness.


It's been said before, but the relevant part of quantum theory is the no-cloning theorem.

Anyway, I doubt this is an actual obstacle. The brain should exert observer-effects on itself all of the time, on count of not being completely static.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:12 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Argency wrote:The body is just a vessel for the pattern of causality which we call GRF. I think that interpretation of consciousness is perfectly compatible with the Prestige, too, and with Sixth Day.

I feel you didn't understand my explanation; in both the Prestige and Sixth Sense, the point is that while the copies are effectively perfect and the essence/spirit/mind of the person being copied is carried on, the process is slightly horrific, because one of the copies DIES. An outsider will notice no difference, and the copies may not even notice a difference (raising interesting, and highly hashed over philosophical points). But my point wasn't that for an outsider, or even for the memories, immortality is reached, but that YOU, when killed so that your clone may continue, are no longer alive. The little man that IS YOU, driving the clunky meatsack that holds the memories, is dead. The individual that is YOU, is dead.
Lets change the scenario; say I put Argency to sleep, and make a perfect clone. Argency[Original] and Argency[Clone] are woken up in a room, and each handed a gun. They have no way of knowing who is [Original] and who is [Clone], and obviously, upon waking, the memories/experience of the two begins to diverge.
Situation: [Original] shoots [Clone]. Argency, YOU are still alive.
Situation: [Clone] shoots [Original]. Argency, YOU are dead.
Notice in both scenarios, outsiders are under the impression nothing changed, and indeed, even the body that is Argency may be under the impression nothing changed.
Sorry, this is OT.
Anyone want their bodies or heads frozen when they die?

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:43 pm UTC
by SlyReaper
You, sir, name? wrote:
The Scyphozoa wrote:According to the fictional Captain/Major/Lt. Colonel (whatever she was at the time) Samantha Carter... or maybe it could have been her robot double who actually said it, but I'm reasonably sure that they were both thinking it... Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle prevents you from actually reproducing someone's consciousness.


It's been said before, but the relevant part of quantum theory is the no-cloning theorem.


...which is a consequence of the uncertainty principle.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:46 pm UTC
by PM 2Ring
We already have a clone thread started by gbagcn2; there's no need for this thread to turn into a clone of that one. :)

I guess it might be possible to revive frozen corpses with nanotechnology, and the revived person may even identify as being the same person as they were before death. Similarly, an uploaded personality might feel like they "cheated" death. However, I agree with Izawwlgood: the original is still dead, no matter what the copy thinks & feels. But as I mentioned in the other thread, without a theory of consciousness & the nature of subjective experience we really don't have a way to answer such questions scientifically; all we can do is make philosophical & religious speculations.

Sci-fi author John Varley has written several excellent novels & short stories exploring these themes, so have Greg Bear & Greg Egan.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:48 pm UTC
by The Scyphozoa
SlyReaper wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:
The Scyphozoa wrote:According to the fictional Captain/Major/Lt. Colonel (whatever she was at the time) Samantha Carter... or maybe it could have been her robot double who actually said it, but I'm reasonably sure that they were both thinking it... Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle prevents you from actually reproducing someone's consciousness.


It's been said before, but the relevant part of quantum theory is the no-cloning theorem.


...which is a consequence of the uncertainty principle.

Yeah, I think he was trying to get more specific.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:53 pm UTC
by saxmaniac1987
I can't NOT think of Clone High while reading this thread.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:09 pm UTC
by Belial
Izawwlgood wrote:On a more serious note, I feel what makes our lives worth living and experiencing is the urgency of our forays here. I feel Gaiman had it right, depicting the 10,000 year old man who recalled the scent of mammoth exclaiming upon realizing his imminent doom "NOT YET!". I surely support allowing man to live longer, but I've no idea how long I feel that should go, only that immortality is not something that would serve humans well.


You took a completely different message from that than I did. I took it to basically be a reaffirmation of what we'd already seen in Hob Gadling: that immortality was pretty neat, actually, and if you gave people the choice, many of them would choose to not ever, ever die because there's always more to see and experience. Mammoth guy didn't *want* to die. After 10,000 years, he was still clinging to life. Faced with death, he thought to himself "NO! I STILL HAVE SHIT TO DO!". His life was not a meaningless montage of ennui and existential angst, like many (frankly less interesting) authors depict for immortal characters. He was still enjoying it. He still wanted it.

That, to me, is like saying "guys, immortality is totally a worthwhile pursuit."

Not that Neil Gaiman writing it down in the early 90s makes it true one way or the other.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:21 pm UTC
by Oregonaut
Well, immortality would solve one portion of the dilemma we face in sending manned flights to far away planets. I mean, what's the big deal about a year long flight to Jupiter if you have forever? We'd still need to get around the quantifucktonne of radiation that would cause your cancer to get cancer, but hey, you know...

I wonder if we could remove the brain from a willing person, and attach it inside another person's skull to see what happened...

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:45 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Why attach it to another meatshell when you can wire it up to a suit of your choosing? Perhaps one with wheels and four manipulating arms with a strength far beyond what a meatshell is capable of and "eyes" capable of seeing more of the light spectrum that's unobservable by fleshorbs?

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:06 pm UTC
by Oregonaut
Mainly I was thinking that we could then have a wonderful discussion with the person about how it felt to be in a different fleshsuit. We could also determine if he felt something "missing", such as a "soul". Then we could burn him alive for being a witch.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:32 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Belial wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:On a more serious note, I feel what makes our lives worth living and experiencing is the urgency of our forays here. I feel Gaiman had it right, depicting the 10,000 year old man who recalled the scent of mammoth exclaiming upon realizing his imminent doom "NOT YET!". I surely support allowing man to live longer, but I've no idea how long I feel that should go, only that immortality is not something that would serve humans well.


You took a completely different message from that than I did. I took it to basically be a reaffirmation of what we'd already seen in Hob Gadling...Faced with death, he thought to himself "NO! I STILL HAVE SHIT TO DO!". His life was not a meaningless montage of ennui and existential angst, like many (frankly less interesting) authors depict for immortal characters. He was still enjoying it. He still wanted it.

That, to me, is like saying "guys, immortality is totally a worthwhile pursuit."

Not that Neil Gaiman writing it down in the early 90s makes it true one way or the other.

Nono, that's the exact message I took from it, that after 10,000 years he still wanted to keep on living. I think the desire to keep living and holding fast to existence is what makes us human. I made an incorrect logical leap and was in a Highlander/Lestat frame of mind while posing my thoughts on immortality here, thank you for pointing out that the 10,000 year old man is (funnily enough, my own missed point) a good literary indication that living forever is doable.
Perhaps living forever is different from immortality. Highlander and Lestat are bored because they have no sense of urgency about their existence; they cannot be killed in a freak accident, whereas the 10,000 year old man can be.

Anyone remember the Vonnegut story where people are living nearly forever, and an entire family of 80 year olds are waiting for their greatgreatgreat grandfather to die, so they can get his apartment in the suburbs of New York City (which is located somewhere in Pennsylvania, due to the size of the expanding city)? I thought that was pretty funny.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:49 pm UTC
by Belial
Highlander and Lestat are bored because they have no sense of urgency about their existence; they cannot be killed in a freak accident


I figured it was because their authors were profoundly unimaginative. The bored, dreary immortal is an overused trope, and that's all it is: a trope. Specifically, it's a storytelling trope designed to make the reader feel better about their own mortality. There's no reason to believe that it actually represents the reality of what it would be like to live forever outside of a story. Life is a many-splendored thing, and there's no reason that tacking an arbitrary cut-off onto it (or removing it) should change that one way or the other. I don't enjoy a gorgeous landscape because I might die before I see another one. Nor do I savor an amazing piece of blackberry crumble just because I could choke to death before my next bite. I enjoy them because they're gorgeous or delicious, respectively. Immortality doesn't change that.

We just wish it would, so we could convince ourselves we don't want it. Because, for now, we can't have it. Telling ourselves that it would be dreary and awful is a way of taking an edge off that.

To wit: most people don't confront the reality of their own mortality on any kind of real level until it is very, very close at hand. Until that time they are, psychologically at least, immortal: the fact that they are going to die is not a real thing in their minds. It doesn't affect their lives because, until they're forced to confront it, it doesn't exist for them as anything other than an airy, intellectual notion. Based on your position, then, are the terminally ill or the very, very old the only people who really enjoy their lives?

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:16 pm UTC
by The Scyphozoa
SecondTalon wrote:Why attach it to another meatshell when you can wire it up to a suit of your choosing? Perhaps one with wheels and four manipulating arms with a strength far beyond what a meatshell is capable of and "eyes" capable of seeing more of the light spectrum that's unobservable by fleshorbs?

This.

FUCKING. THIS.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:05 am UTC
by Izawwlgood
Belial wrote:I figured it was because their authors were profoundly unimaginative.

I doubt you write off an entire genre simply because the protagonists wear cravats and man skirts. Mary Shelly wasn't writing about the horror of creating life because the social mores of the time were aimed at convincing people to avoid toying with corpses. I agree that the notion of immortals being angsty and whiny is a fairly over done rendition, but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand. In fact, I would argue that that wasn't the message at all; as bored and as angsty as these vampires and other mopey immortals are, none of them, to my knowledge, go without a fight. In some regards, they're as attached to life as our 10,000 year old man.
Belial wrote:Life is a many-splendored thing, and there's no reason that tacking an arbitrary cut-off onto it (or removing it) should change that one way or the other.

Our perception of the flow of time, the things that we find boring, the length of time we are able to indulge. These things are all tied to the length of a human lifespan, a lifespan modern society has effectively doubled since the human behavior was shaped in the caves and plains. I'm not convinced that remaining an adult for thousands upon thousands of years is something humanity at large is ready for, and I'm not talking about the logistical concerns of finding materials and space for the overflow. I seriously wonder if the human mind is capable of, or meant for, living forever.
Belial wrote:I enjoy them because they're gorgeous or delicious, respectively. Immortality doesn't change that.

I agree with your first sentiment, but not your second. Immortality means that the new isn't, and it isn't unreasonable to address ennui as a possibility. Driving past a cemetery plot, it is equally sad to see it full of headstones, as it is to see if empty and awaiting headstones, but that sorrow is part of being human. The accomplishments of a bodies life, the things they enjoy, grow to enjoy less, and finally, have had their fill of, are comparable because of our mortality. Part of what makes the human condition is the passing of the torch and the lessons learned from the lives of those who preceded us.
I don't know what the arbitrary cut off is, and I won't try and guess. I could theorize various purposes for those who have passed a randomly selected age as an Utopia's solution for the building elderly (or aged, rather), but that's not really relevant. I'm all for extending the lifespan of humanity, and I'm especially all for extending MY life, but I feel this is only really a possibility if with the privilege of being on this planet for longer than 'biology intended' (to use a loose definition that makes me cringe), if we are also willing to eventually choose to cease our existence.

This is the point I'm in conflict over; if asked 'Would you choose to live forever' I cannot imagine myself ever saying anything but a resounding and immediate 'Fuck yes'. However, the framework of the lives of man is not an open ended structure; we are defined by our beginning and our end. I want to be here (and plan on, fuck you all very much) for a very long time, but recognize that there comes a point in the flow of things where it won't do me any good to continue, where the next step is the last step. B, you're likely as stoutly individualist as I if I've gathered anything from your responses over the years, I imagine you can both relate to and abhor some of this.

What makes our accomplishments great is the comparison we can make against others, those who have past and those who are rising. What makes humanity itself an evolving beast is the way it replaces itself so rapidly.

I apologize for this sentimental drivel.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:52 am UTC
by Sockmonkey
Belial wrote:We just wish it would, so we could convince ourselves we don't want it. Because, for now, we can't have it. Telling ourselves that it would be dreary and awful is a way of taking an edge off that.

Yep.
Part of it is also because we see old people being weary all the time and assume that it's a general rule instead of being a symptom of the fact that we have to watch and feel our bodies fall apart as we get old. That tends to put a damper on the spirit of all but the most resilliant. You see it happen to young people with terminal illnesses as well.
Another big part of it is that nobody is ever taught the mental tools one would need to cope with immortality. Most of us aren't even taught how to be 80.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:14 am UTC
by Argency
Izawwlgood wrote:
Argency wrote:The body is just a vessel for the pattern of causality which we call GRF. I think that interpretation of consciousness is perfectly compatible with the Prestige, too, and with Sixth Day.

I feel you didn't understand my explanation; in both the Prestige and Sixth Sense, the point is that while the copies are effectively perfect and the essence/spirit/mind of the person being copied is carried on, the process is slightly horrific, because one of the copies DIES. An outsider will notice no difference, and the copies may not even notice a difference (raising interesting, and highly hashed over philosophical points). But my point wasn't that for an outsider, or even for the memories, immortality is reached, but that YOU, when killed so that your clone may continue, are no longer alive. The little man that IS YOU, driving the clunky meatsack that holds the memories, is dead. The individual that is YOU, is dead.
Lets change the scenario; say I put Argency to sleep, and make a perfect clone. Argency[Original] and Argency[Clone] are woken up in a room, and each handed a gun. They have no way of knowing who is [Original] and who is [Clone], and obviously, upon waking, the memories/experience of the two begins to diverge.
Situation: [Original] shoots [Clone]. Argency, YOU are still alive.
Situation: [Clone] shoots [Original]. Argency, YOU are dead.
Notice in both scenarios, outsiders are under the impression nothing changed, and indeed, even the body that is Argency may be under the impression nothing changed.
Sorry, this is OT.
Anyone want their bodies or heads frozen when they die?


Hey, no, that is what I thought your objection was, I just didn't empathise enough to see the right way to explain my objection. Now that you've explained some more, though, I think I can see how I should word it. I should start by saying that of course I agree. In the situation you described, I would be dead in the sense that you mean. It's just that death in that sense doesn't seem important to me, so I tend to skate over it.

Lets say that when I was 11 and had my appendix out (the only time I've ever had a general anaesthetic) they did just what you have said - cloned me and killed the original with fire. What difference does it make to me? Well, I was out coid, so I didn't experience dying, and once I'm dead I don't experience anything. The clone and everyone else thinks it's the original, so no trouble there either. But you're right, it's a different body.

But hang on, my body gets gradually swapped out every 7 years anyway - after 7 years I have a whole new set of molecules. To make the issue there more apparent, lets speed it up. Lets say that when they put me under to have my appendix out, instead of cloning me they ran me through a machine that sped the molecule swapping process up. In 5 minutes I had a new body. I'm clearly not dead - because this is just what happens to everyone every 7 years. If I'm dead now, then noone lives longer than 7 years. But my original body is gone. In fact, this situation is identical to the one in the last paragraph. They've taken the molecules from my original body and dispersed them, and put new molecules together in an identical configuration. My memories are the same as if I'd been cloned, my body is the same, everything's the same. I mean, this machine could even take the swapped-out molecules and put them BACK into their original configuration - they'd have effectively cloned me, But which one is the new clone now? One body's history is continuous, but the other contains my original molecules. I'm talking about Ulysses' Boat paradox, obviously.

The point is - when you think about it like that it clearly doesn't matter what happens to your body as long as your memories are intact. So if they cloned me while I was awake, and gave each of me a gun and said "sort it out for yourselves", I wouldn't care who took the bullet, as long as both of us didn't. In that scenario, I'd lose the memories which the martyred version had made since cloning, but that loss would be nothing compared to the amount of stuff I forget already on a daily basis, so who cares?

Of course, if that actually happened to me, I'd prefer not to do any killing. It'd be SO useful to have a clone. I mean, at the very least, if I did have to cap one of me, there would at least be some seriously icky sexual experimentation first.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:09 am UTC
by Sockmonkey
The slow molecule swap isn't comparable since it doesn't cause a conciousness discontinuity.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:03 am UTC
by Argency
Sockmonkey wrote:The slow molecule swap isn't comparable since it doesn't cause a conciousness discontinuity.


Unlike, say, a dose of general anaesthetic. Or a sharp blow to the head. Or even just taking a nap. Surely discontinuity itself isn't a problem.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:32 pm UTC
by setzer777
RE: Immortality

Something I've always wondered: wouldn't the experience of being immortal be strongly affected by how strong your long-term memory is? I don't think becoming immortal would give us infinite brain capacity, so even if you've done everything you ever wanted to after ten thousand years, you'll probably have forgotten what a lot of it was like.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:40 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Not to mention that just because you've done something doesn't mean you don't want to do it again. Sex, eating, flinging yourself out of perfectly good airplanes, reading, flinging yourself out of a perfectly good airplane while having sex and eating....and then writing a book about it...

You get the idea.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:08 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
setzer777 wrote:RE: Immortality

Something I've always wondered: wouldn't the experience of being immortal be strongly affected by how strong your long-term memory is? I don't think becoming immortal would give us infinite brain capacity, so even if you've done everything you ever wanted to after ten thousand years, you'll probably have forgotten what a lot of it was like.

Have you ever had a dream that you were being chased by [horror]? Do you remember what [horror] looks like? Did it have nine eyes? A dick for a nose? What color was it's fur? What was it that tangled your legs as you fled? Do you remember your first kiss? What were you wearing? What were they wearing? What day was it?
The brain fills in the details, but the imprint/vibe/sensation is recalled. I'm sure countless things would be forgotten in an immortals life experience, but I doubt one would say, every, I dunno, 100 years, "Oh shit, the experience of sky diving has completely slipped my mind! Man life is awesome, lets do that again!"
That's of course not to say things won't find new luster as the memory fades ("Yuck, yup, I still hate salmon"), or that new experiences can't be made from doing things you enjoy. I just think it's a bit more complex than first pass, and the idea of immortals sitting around still chuckling at LOLCats 10,000 years from now seems unlikely. But who knows, maybe some people really just like LOLCats.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:20 pm UTC
by SlyReaper
Well I think it's fairly well established (although I can't cite anything because every google result for "memory capacity human brain" is blocked at work :evil: ) that the human brain has far more than 100 years worth of memory capacity. But in an immortal's timespan, you're still going to use it up pretty quickly, at which point it's going to have to start throwing things out to make room for the new. This will start with the unimportant and unimpressive things like what you had for dinner on the 23rd of March 2003 (chances are, that's already gone), but eventually stuff like what skydiving feels like will fade as well unless you do it regularly. It will almost certainly forget what a lolcat is after a couple of hundred years.

That's not to say you're going to turn into a blubbering moron though - you'll still have an entire brain's worth of memories and experiences. It's just the brain will do some prioritising on what it needs to keep and what it needs to throw out. Much like it does already.

On the other hand, by the time we have the technology to make a person immortal, there's a good chance there will be the technology to record memories and store them on a computer (indeed, this could very well be the mechanism for realising said immortality), so you'll be able to plug the memories back into your brain if you need to. Then the only problem you need to solve is how to remember what you needed those memories for in the first place.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:44 pm UTC
by Sockmonkey
Argency wrote:
Sockmonkey wrote:The slow molecule swap isn't comparable since it doesn't cause a conciousness discontinuity.


Unlike, say, a dose of general anaesthetic. Or a sharp blow to the head. Or even just taking a nap. Surely discontinuity itself isn't a problem.

Anesthetic and naps don't stop your brain from functioning, they just decrease your awareness of what's happening inside and outside of your head. A blow to the head creates some discontinuity, but not total and is a far cry from dying while a copy lives on.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:14 pm UTC
by Argency
Fair point. Alright, then - we're talking about reviving the dead: what if we defrosted Walt Disney successfully? His brain function has been completely stopped for years, but surely you'd agree he was alive again if he was walking around making cartoons? I mean, noone objects to Han Solo being frozen in carbonite and then rescued, even though his brain function was presumably stopped while he was in there. It's not like anyone expects him to no longer be himself, despite the discontinuity.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:19 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Because we're not talking about pausing brain function, a la Han Solo, we're talking about destroying it. I'd wager that if you resurrected Walt Disney it'd be very akin to Robot Chickens "Are the Jews still here? Yes? Put me back in the box.", i.e., he'd be for all intents and purposes the asshole dreamer that is Walt Disney, with the same memories and lovable antisemetism, but the consciousness driving that particular rendition wouldn't be the same one from before.
He may not realize anythings changed, and may still think of himself as the original, but I don't feel the original would. Because the original is dead.
And no, I don't know what constitutes 'pausing' or 'stopping'.

Re: Do you think reviving the dead will ever be possible?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:30 pm UTC
by Oregonaut
What about Ghost in the Shell style transfers? Do you think that if you transfer the brain to a cybernetic body that you will transfer the whole person? Will they be "dead" or will they continue on with just the time between being gone?