Would Digital Immortality be Good for Society?

Would Digital Immortality be Good for Society?

june 16, 2023 12:55PM

Digital Immortality

Can humans exist digitally through computer-mediated life? Could a deceased person's digital avatar continue learning independently, uploading memories, feelings, and experiences into an encrypted digital entity?

What defines and limits human mental capacity? Can it be replicated with artificial intelligence (AI), biotech, and robotics advances? Could we ever encounter better, brighter versions of ourselves cloned from their DNA and immortalised?

Digital immortality has long been a point of contention between humans and scientists.

Science has given us the ability to be immortal. Researchers and entrepreneurs have begun considering ways artificial intelligence could create digital versions of deceased individuals who could influence society after death.

Technological advancements have made digital immortality possible. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, knowledge management, and data mining, people can continue their active presence even after death. Digital immortality extends far beyond memorial pages or updates from deceased relatives and friends; it has altered grief rituals and created new legacy forms, which present unique problems for funeral businesses.

Imagined realities show humanity's transformation towards a post-biological age, where intelligence will exist without bodies and identities will transcend physical death, disease, and unmet desires. Scientists on the cutting edge of technology demonstrate that this future is not so distant.

So let's find out...

What is Digital Immortality?

Digital immortality refers to the existence of a digital presence after death, whether active or passive. The likelihood of digital immortality is increasing with people creating online identities and repositories, especially given their increasing use as virtual assistants.

Digital immortality (or virtual immortality) is an abstract idea that refers to transferring or storing someone's personality on lasting media such as computers with the capability of communicating with them in the future. The idea involves using an individual's digital archive to train an avatar or chatbot to behave as that individual did; these archives include voice data, images, social media posts, and text messages from that individual's digital history.

Technology such as this allows for both 2D and 3D representations and voice capabilities; however, research in this area remains limited and scattered.

How digital immortality works?

Digital Immortality

Five technologies will lead to profound life extensions this century, one of which directly contributes to digital immortality: biotechnology (advanced biotechnology), nanotechnology (advanced robotics), genetics, and mind uploading/whole brain emulation.

Implanting neuro-nanorobots into your brain could bring digital immortality. You could project them from your computer as holograms or use three-dimensional robots instead.

Assuming you upload your memories onto a non-biological brain is indeed one path towards digital immortality; within 30–50 years, we should be able to replicate whole brain emulation using artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and whole brain simulation technologies.

"Whole-brain simulation occurs when an uploaded version of the brain is uploaded onto a digital medium and gradually replaced by non-biological elements until they can model its biological components with such accuracy that any loss would not impact functionality in any significant way. Once available, multiple copies of brains could be continually backed up onto cloud storage, giving digital immortality its place."

As long as you're alive, you can grant access to Facebook, Twitter, and your email account; upload photos, geolocation history, and Google Glass recordings that show what happened during your day; all this data will then be filtered, analysed, and used to create an AI avatar that attempts to mimic your personality and looks; it learns as more interactions take place, so it will eventually reflect you more accurately over time.

Are digital immortality benefits socially beneficial?

AI's digital immortality will lead to many social and ethical concerns, including data privacy, misuse of data control systems, and misuse of personal information. Issues surrounding discrimination or bias within data have resulted in laws being put in place in response.

Digital immortality could pose many social problems in the long run. If the process were expensive initially, it could create an economic disparity among classes, or some countries may have access to this technology while others don't. Unrest could ensue from wealthy individuals seeking refuge in countries offering digital immortality, which could cause worldwide disruptions.

Religions often include some concept of immortality—that despite physical death, part of you lives forever—in their belief system. How would digital immortality fit in with global religions? Some feature an afterlife or spiritual realm to which believers must go when they die; what would this mean if technology could make people immortal through its use? Would digital immortals deserve social identities like humans do and be treated accordingly when their time comes? Have you considered who will inherit your data after your death?

Population control poses challenges as some individuals live for many decades before succumbing to death, yet others still exist today. Can you imagine living when your children were physically the same age as or older than their parents, or even more so than them? Parents could live with their children for several decades after physically becoming one again.

Will creativity perish if we stagnate as a population after we create digital avatars for ourselves? How can we stay engaged and interested? And, more importantly, when will boredom or dissatisfaction set in?

Humans' digital immortality may lead them to depend too heavily on AI and ignore developing their human potential. This act poses a severe threat to intelligence development in civilised societies.

Every human must ultimately die; technology has allowed humans to extend their lifespan for millennia. No matter how much longer people can extend their lives with technological innovations, doing so would mean altering nature's course, an act that cannot be considered part of human rights.

Companies Committed to Crafting Digitally Immortal Personalities

PerfectionGeeks, a digital transformation company, seeks to preserve people's "most meaningful memories, thoughts, and stories" using an artificially intelligent system capable of conversing with its creator after death—users of Eterni. I can create lists allowing specific individuals to access your account or be contacted after your passing; this allows your descendants fast access to Instagram photos of latte taken during lunch or your Facebook poke history!

Legacy Locker, Entrustment, and other services allow users to appoint an "executor," who will carry out their digital wishes after they die, such as passing account information along to designated heirs or sending personalised messages directly from Artificial Intelligence Services.

AI is another company developing similar technology and utilising conversational AI to offer its clients "digital immortality," reinventing remembrance.

The Replika bot could continue to respond like you and share your stories even after death, similar to Eterni. Me avatars. Over 100,000 people reserved a Replika name, while 17,000 requested early access; only 1,200 users were granted beta access.

Neuralink, established by Elon Musk to study brain-machine interaction, is currently working on mind uploading. Reports indicate that wealthy individuals, such as tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, have arranged for their bodies to be preserved after death until such technology exists.

Conclusion

Digital immortality has only just begun. It presents many challenges and opportunities. Institutions invest millions into research; only time will enable us to fully exploit its potential.

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