Cybernetics and AI May Mean Immortality

It’s a common theme in today’s world of quickly changing technology that human beings will never progress culturally as fast as technology will.  And so when we start introducing machines into our lives more and more, and progress on both AI and cybernetics increases extensively, what are the chances we could one day be looking at an AI singularity where human beings not only exist alongside the machines, but actually integrate them into their own bodies?

The AI singularity is one of those things that technologists have been waiting for alongside zero point energy, nanotechnology, and faster than light travel to rocket us into a new age.  But just as faster than light technology and nanites will have their own difficulties, AI seems to have a few limitations as well.  And so more than a few have adopted the theory that this singularity could in a very real way be using humans as much as computers as they finally fuse into one meta-being.  And with the level of networking available to such a machine, continuity of consciousness may become an obsession as much as longevity is to us today.

So what would this world ultimately look like; or rather what might it look like?  For one thing, the outlook of the world would depend largely on whether information passing from the mind to a computer was a one way process or if complex communication and data transfer could take place.  If we could systematically make copies of our brains and download those copies into manufactured organic brains, then we could see several copies of any given individual walking around in either a robotic body or in a specially cloned organic form.  At the end of the day these clones could network their minds to allow for a fusion of all memories.  But then what about other people?  We could in this scenario see a world where empathy and honesty took on a whole new meaning as we found ourselves able to take the memories and consciousness from one person and transfer it directly into the brain of another person.  Without context, this might be confusing – resulting in some memories appearing to have come from an almost dream-like state.  Nonetheless, as the fusion of minds continued, humanity could gradually network itself into a more compassionate sort of “Noosphere” where all life was considered sacred.  Of course this would be problematic in many ways too, however.  Loss of individuality could result from transferring your memories to others and vice versa.

And so we have to ask ourselves an extremely difficult question.  Which is more sacred in this world and the next?  If we were to transfer our consciousness from one person to another, would individuality be more important?  Or continuity of consciousness?  As we take the next few steps toward this final frontier, we may be looking at a world where humanity is the sum of its experiences and knowledge rather than the sum of its individuals.  And while immortality may be achieved, individuality may be lost.