I was going to write one post with short paragraphs of the ‘things’ I think about on a regular basis, but it was getting too involved for one post, so I’m breaking it out into a series of posts. The topics will be ranging, but I find myself returning to these thoughts frequently and am writing this for no other purpose than to share them.
Will I live long enough to see technological singularity / immortality.
This is a cliche topic but it crosses my mind a lot. The overly simplified premise is that at some point, humans and technology will ‘join’, and immortality becomes possible by either ‘uploading’ your mind / consciousness (to what?) or just having something that continually repairs your body.
Ray Kurzweil, known for his thoughts on this very topic, predicted decades ago that this would happen around 2045. At the time, most people said you’re crazy that’s way too soon. As time has gone on, people seem to be lowering their estimates closer and closer to Kurzweil’s 2045.
What fascinates me here is not HOW this would become possible, or what life would look like once this became possible, but more the logistics and lead up.
I’m at an age where this is theoretically possible to live to. There would certainly be a gap between the first person to do this and it becoming widely available, if available at all. But imagine I’m 60 years old, and the first person successfully does this, that pretty much changes everything. At that point, I’m doing everything I can to stay alive until this becomes an option for me, right? Maybe I stop leaving my house entirely, because if I make it just a few more years then I’ll reach immortality. Think of the blogs I’d be cranking out!
Then I think about my parents. What if my mom is 95 when this happens? Would you want to upload a 95 year old consciousness? Or what if she dies a year before this is an option? The generation who passes before this is available is just unlucky. And at the same time, the idea of being alive when this actually happens is so astronomically small. Every animal who has ever lived before us has died. And we happen to come along when that stops being the case?
There will be endless conversations about:
- Who gets this first? – The rich I assume?
- Is this ethical? – The first few decades where people WANT this but die before they can get it will be real bummers, but hey, time goes on.
- SHOULD humans live forever? The deadline of death inspires! – From a grand perspective I see this argument, but if I’m 60 years old and this is an option, I can’t see any scenario where I turn it down.
Plus millions of scientific details / nuances that we won’t understand.
This doesn’t even touch on the other aspects regarding what life would be like once this happens. The emergence of something like superintelligence seems plausible but also incomprehensible which is why I honestly don’t think about it much.
I know I’m making this overly simple, and if I had to guess, this will never play out while I’m alive, but I don’t think it’s as far-fetched as it sounds. I will be trying to make it there.