Dilbert Writer Scott Adams Plans For Immortality

Wish you could live forever? Well, Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic empire is doing more than just wish:

As part of my long-term strategy to achieve immortality, Iím building a permanent digital record of my life online. Someday there will be enough video, audio, biographical, and linguistic information about me to recreate me in software form. Maybe that future software will take into account my DNA too. Eventually there will be enough of a record of my life for future software programmers to recreate my voice, my preferences, my priorities, my thought processes, and even the way I move.

You might think I am not serious. But I totally am. The odds that I will someday be resurrected in software are probably close to 100% because the technology will no doubt exist and Iíll have the most complete digital record available for the researchers to experiment with. Or one of the most.


(Wally's plan for immortality)

Science fiction writers have been hard at work on the idea of digital immortality.

Frederick Pohl's Gateway/Hechee Saga made extensive use of "digital immortality", for both humans, and the Hechee who had their own version of the technology.

I'd also mention the construct from Neuromancer, William Gibson's all-award-winning 1984 novel.

David Brin's 2002 novel Kiln People allows people to imprint their personalities on android copies that last only a day - ditto blanks:

The sensible thing, as always, would be to send a copy. But my place is too far from the Teller building. My little home kiln couldn't thaw and imprint quickly enough to make Blaine's rendezvous.
(Learn more about imprinting.)

An example of being able to make a backup copy of your mind can be found in Richard Morgan's 2003 novel Altered Carbon.

"You can't kill me just by wiping out my cortical stack."

"You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?"

Bancroft smiled. "Every 48 hours." He tapped the back of his neck. "Direct needlecast from here into a shielded stack over at the PsychaSec installation at Alcatraz." (Read more about the cortical stack.)

You can also download your mind into a synthetic sleeve, an android body.

However, leave it to Arthur C. Clarke to fully flesh out this idea. Here's the essential bit from Arthur C. Clarke's 1956 novel The City and the Stars :

In the end our ancestors learned how to analyze and store the information which would define any specific human being - and to use that information to recreate the original, as you have just recreated that couch.

"I know that such things interest you, Alvin, but I cannot tell you exactly how it was done. The way in which information is stored is of no importance; all that matters is the information itself. It may be in the form of written words on paper, of varying magnetic fields, or patterns of electric charge. Men have used all these methods of storage, and many others. Suffice it to say that long ago they were able to store themselves - or, to be more precise, the disembodied patters from which they could be called back into existence.

"So much you already know. This is the way our ancestors gave us virtual immortality, yet avoided the problems raised by the abolition of death. A thousand years in one body is long enough for any man; at the end of that time, his mind is clogged with memories, and he only asks for rest - or a new beginning.

"In a little while, Alvin, I shall prepare to leave this life. I shall go back through my memories, editing them and canceling those I do not wish to keep. Then I shall walk into the Hall of Creation, but through a door you have never seen. This old body will cease to exist, and so will consciousness itself. Nothing will be left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.

"I shall sleep, Alvin, and without dreams. Then one day, perhaps a hundred thousand years from now, I shall find myself in a new body, meeting those who have been chosen to be my guardians. They will look after me as Eriston and Etania have guided you, for at first I will know nothing of Diaspar and will have no memories of what I was before. Those memories will slowly return, at the end of my infancy, and I will build upon them as I move forward into my new cycle of existence.

"That is the pattern of our lives. We have all been here many, many times before... this present population will never repeat itself again...

...At any moment, Alvin, only a hundredth of the citizens of Diaspar live and walk in its streets. The vast majority sleep in the memory banks...
(Read about virtual immortality)

Via Dilbert blog.

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