'Living' Past a Lifetime

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What do you value the most about your life? Does your human corporeal form matter to you? Is the consciousness of being a human important to you? Is it important to you that you are alive or is it important that you feel alive? Is it important for you to feel the warmth on a sunny day or the cold breeze on a snowy day?

I know these might seem like bizarre questions, but with the future approaching so fast, you need to ask yourselves what it means to be human, literally.

Human race is moving at an impetus that can power a tsunami. Recently, a lot of research topics revolving around extending human life have come into limelight. Aging is being treated as a malady requiring a cure, not as a steady progression of a healthy life.

We eat healthy, exercise, get medical care – we do everything in our power to avoid dying for as long as possible. But what if we die? Is that the end?

Well, maybe not…

A lot of people do not want something as life altering as death to be the end of their journey on planet Earth. This faction relies on the science of cryogenics to keep their bodies alive by delaying degeneration after death, in the hope that someday technology will be developed for them to live again, be it in a corporeal human form or as a consciousness in some sort of artificial matter.

Well, their wait might soon be over. A 2045 Initiative headed by Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov might be the answer. He calls it the path to “neo-humanity.”

Humans have always been chasing the idea of human looking machines (humanoid robots) for a long time now. Computer scientists have been working on developing artificial intelligence to simulate a brain, mimic “humanness.” Instead of teaching robots to be human-like, what if we could enhance human capabilities to be like robots?

The 2045 Initiative envisions the development of technologies in a systematic fashion leading to the end goal of human consciousness in a robot.

The human brain has capabilities that exceed by far any other thing in the cosmos. It is the command center that sends out signals so that we can be aware of things, experience nature around us, form memories and relive them. Everything from a touch to recalling a childhood memory is a brain process. Human consciousness imparted by the brain has been perfectly summed up by Rene Descartes renowned statement: “Cogito ergo sum” or “I think, therefore, I am.”

Based on a 2012 paper by Kandel et al, brain cells that are storage houses for long-term memories do not require brain activity to survive, meaning even if the brain stops functioning, certain memories can be retrieved if brain activity is recovered.

By 2045, the project hopes to reach a stage where humans can live through their consciousness, which will be achieved by transplanting human brains into a robotic creature.

But maybe, you want to live as a human and not as a lifeless robot.

Well, research is being done to keep humans alive longer in the “human” form as well. Google recently established Calico, a company equipped with brilliant scientific minds, to research the phenomenon of aging.

In my humble opinion, Google’s project is not an aspirational pipeline dream but an attainable practical goal. Research has shown that there are genes associated with the aging process. So it’s just a matter of investigating those genes and coming up with answers.

Scientists will tell you that after-life does not exist but maybe there is hope for a life beyond a lifetime.

No matter which project is the first to reach the promised utopia, humans will live their long pursued dream of surviving forever, all we have to do is reach the future. So start thinking of things to do if you could live forever.

In a few years, look for a headline that reads: “Live forever. A cure for aging discovered.”

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