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Thread: Modern Technology and Immortality/Reverse Aging

  1. #1

    Default Modern Technology and Immortality/Reverse Aging

    This is suppose to be a continuation of a discussion started on a different thread. Anyway, lets here all the input you have to say about how achieving immortality and fighting the adverse effects of aging is or can be possible by means of modern technology.

    The thread I'm referring to is http://www.adisc.org/forum/teenbaby/...tting-old.html . I liked where the discussion was starting to head, but it was off topic. I'm going to chime in once this thread has been up for a day or two.

  2. #2

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    On the other thread we were discussing how fast technology is advancing and some of the ways it might allow humans to achieve immortality. One of the points I made was about digital storage.

    Humanity has never had the ability to store something and copy it perfectly until we came up with digital systems. On old analog systems (carving into walls, writing on paper, even video tapes etc) if you make a copy of a copy of a copy you end up getting degradation and eventually total loss.

    However, with digital it's either a 1 or a 0 - there is no room for interpretation. It's basically a true/false system, which means with enough questions you could describe anything at all. Including - and this is important - the phase space of a human mind.

    (A phase space is effectively a list of every possible state something can be in. For example, the phase space of a simplified traffic signal is either red, amber or green. Time is shown by moving between phase states - from red to amber for example)

    Once you can do that you're halfway to immortality. We can already electrically scan a human brain and there's no reason why we couldn't store its current state digitally (storage is cheap).

    The trouble is we can't yet mimic how a human mind works, so, even though we have a perfect copy of a brain it wouldn't be able to move around it's phase space. If we come up with a way to do that - and AI is slowly getting there - then immortality is easy.

    Other possibilities exist, like cloning yourself and copying your mind into the clone so you stay forever young, but that would lead to different problems. If everyone lived forever in this way we'd run out of space in a few years...

    Reads his post, sighs, and goes back to baby mode - life is simpler when you can drink from a sippy cup

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by cgh View Post
    On the other thread we were discussing how fast technology is advancing and some of the ways it might allow humans to achieve immortality. One of the points I made was about digital storage.

    Humanity has never had the ability to store something and copy it perfectly until we came up with digital systems. On old analog systems (carving into walls, writing on paper, even video tapes etc) if you make a copy of a copy of a copy you end up getting degradation and eventually total loss.

    However, with digital it's either a 1 or a 0 - there is no room for interpretation. It's basically a true/false system, which means with enough questions you could describe anything at all. Including - and this is important - the phase space of a human mind.

    (A phase space is effectively a list of every possible state something can be in. For example, the phase space of a simplified traffic signal is either red, amber or green. Time is shown by moving between phase states - from red to amber for example)

    Once you can do that you're halfway to immortality. We can already electrically scan a human brain and there's no reason why we couldn't store its current state digitally (storage is cheap).

    The trouble is we can't yet mimic how a human mind works, so, even though we have a perfect copy of a brain it wouldn't be able to move around it's phase space. If we come up with a way to do that - and AI is slowly getting there - then immortality is easy.

    Other possibilities exist, like cloning yourself and copying your mind into the clone so you stay forever young, but that would lead to different problems. If everyone lived forever in this way we'd run out of space in a few years...

    Reads his post, sighs, and goes back to baby mode - life is simpler when you can drink from a sippy cup
    on your point about running out of space: by the time that we've successfully created a system for storing and recalling a human mind digitally, we're probably going to have gotten a lot further with colonizing space. (not just planets... talking about generation ships that can house tens of thousands, and millions of people over the course of that ship's lifetime)

    also, like you said: storage is cheap. what's to stop us from storing someone's consciousness in a flash drive for restoring once there is enough space? kind of the same concept as cryogenics, but digital.

  4. #4

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    I'm not sure if it has been brought up (in the other thread) yet, but if you want a slightly nutty opinion on this, look up the futurist/scientist Ray Kurzweil. His speculation is a little nuts and it's likely it won't happen as soon as he suggests it will, plus you sort of have to believe in the coming of the singularity.... He's actually pretty crazy. However there are some people that hold stock in what he says.

    At any rate, he really really reeaaallllyy wants immortality. He takes like 50 supplements a day and set up a university for people to study these things. If you want to look up modern technology and immortality, he's the one to look at as a starting point, and he's talking about the same sorts of things that have been brought up here. I don't put much stock in his beliefs, but it's entirely possible for the things he's predicting to happen eventually- and he does have several degrees in different fields. He's an intelligent guy, if somewhat a bit... overly optimistic/nuts.

  5. #5

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    We're a lot closer to being able to digitally clone someone than we are colonising space on a large scale. However, using the first method to 'back up' people until we can clone them without running out of space is a very interesting concept.

    I'd imagine the most likely scenario is something like the Matrix. Our minds all exist as files on a storage drive somewhere and we all live in a virtual world. Perhaps we could have the option to visit the real world as and when needed though on a sort of one-in-one-out basis. It's more feasible than it might sound...

  6. #6

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    I suggest you check out Aubrey de Grey's ideas.
    e.g. Nanotechnology can provide us some interesting opportunities.

  7. #7

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    I guess there are many different possibilities. No one can know for sure what will happen. Maybe different people will even find/choose different paths/methods of living longer or forever.



    Quote Originally Posted by cgh View Post
    I'd imagine the most likely scenario is something like the Matrix. Our minds all exist as files on a storage drive somewhere and we all live in a virtual world. Perhaps we could have the option to visit the real world as and when needed though on a sort of one-in-one-out basis. It's more feasible than it might sound...
    I like that idea. Except people would know they are in a virtual universe. Hmm.... maybe it could be kinda like a huge virtual universe where we each get to control our own section/house... or planet? You could even let yourself become a different species, gender, or age! There could be neutral public places & buildings too.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by cgh View Post
    Other possibilities exist, like cloning yourself and copying your mind into the clone so you stay forever young, but that would lead to different problems. If everyone lived forever in this way we'd run out of space in a few years...
    Unless you make a high sterility rate.

    We are developing the technology to construct nanobots to repair DNA mutations, effectively stopping genetic aging. There are other causes of aging as well, but genetic aging is the main cause. The only problem is that the nanobots must be able to replicate or several, probably incredibly painful, injections, would have to be administered at birth and every several months afterwords. Still, you could potentially live for centuries.

  9. #9

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    Holy crap guys. This is great stuff. "I just nerded all over my keyboard"-Tobuscus

    Anyway, I was going to quote pretty much all of you and follow it by what I wanted to say so you could see how what I was talking about specifically relates to what, but I feel that by just expressing my original thoughts the connections and similarities will become quite clear. Also, I'm sure we're all aware of this, but this is a focus on the ideas, not the implementation. So of course everything we're saying is hypothetical and in theory and has problems, but right now we're not worried about the problems.

    Anyway, on topic of using Nano technology- this is the basis for most of theory about obtaining immortality and improving our quality of life. Okay, here we go...

    First off, I feel to effectively do this, we absolutely NEED an AI.

    I really like the idea of nanobots since we're already investing heavily into them and if they can alter and repair DNA, then that's just a small taste of what they can do (although it's probably one of the most important functions). They could manage and maintain homeostatic balances in nearly EVERY biological process. This means that, just because there's no damage, they could keep our bodies running at or beyond 100% efficiency. For instance, lets say you start getting dehydrated and you have no water available to you, well the nanobots can start extracting H2O from the urine in our bladder effectively hydrating you. Or, let's say you ingest poison by accident, the nanobots could quickly identify the pathogen and either break it down or remove it.

    Originally I was hung up on the idea of nanobots (and I still am), but I think I may be on to something as good or better. Imagine artificial atoms. And by that, I mean atoms that WE (people) can control the properties of, so we could have these atoms replicate any atom we wanted. This is something I've been thinking about for awhile and figured the main thing preventing this from happening is the extremely small scale we would have to work with and complications by trying to create a functioning system on a sub or near sub atomic scale. But with the progression of nanotechnology, these are becoming less and less of a problem. So think about it, to replicate an atom in our universe. To put things extremely simply, all we need to replicate an atom in our universe is charges. If we can find a way to isolate a positive charge, and surround it by negative charges and the charges are strong enough to do work, then theoretically we should have an atom. Now if we can control the strength, positioning, and "number" of charges, then bam! we can control every property of that atom. And I honestly don't think this sounds that impossible.

    Now back to the AI.
    The AI comes into play since biological processes are extremely subjective. While, yes, biological processes are the same (we all breathe, digest food, and pump blood essentially the same way) our body chemistry is never identical. So this is where the AI helps. Without an AI, humans would need to manually adjust the programming and parameters for the nanobots and artificial atoms for them to function ideally for each individual (if you wanted them to improve biological processes and not just repair damage). For example, let's say you got artificial atoms or nanobots in your body and they're programmed to respond to and improve every every biological in YOUR body. Well, if they responded the same way in someone else it would probably kill them. So if we have an AI monitoring the feedback loop between how an individual's body reacts to things, the AI would know how to make the nanobots and atoms respond accordingly. I hope this makes sense and will continue to elaborate is this thread continues to grow (which I really hope it does).

    I love our generation. I have a feeling if we tried talking to our parents or an older person they would probably just laugh and think we're putting too much faith into science fiction, but the fact that we can even consider this shows awesome progress. Another thing I want to note, is that if we can integrate an AI into our biology enough, then we would start evolving soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much faster. That's one of things that would be so awesome if we created an AI, once we created a basic one, it will start improving itself by leaps and bounds. If computer processing power doubles every 18 months, then we would be able to double our (human) processing power 18 months as well. Clearly, I'm having some trouble stopping myself from talking, so hopefully more people will post here so I don't have to. I don't want to spend 12 hours writing a thesis on an ADISC forum which I'd probably do if it weren't locked, lol.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatshisface View Post
    Originally I was hung up on the idea of nanobots (and I still am), but I think I may be on to something as good or better. Imagine artificial atoms. And by that, I mean atoms that WE (people) can control the properties of, so we could have these atoms replicate any atom we wanted. This is something I've been thinking about for awhile and figured the main thing preventing this from happening is the extremely small scale we would have to work with and complications by trying to create a functioning system on a sub or near sub atomic scale. But with the progression of nanotechnology, these are becoming less and less of a problem. So think about it, to replicate an atom in our universe. To put things extremely simply, all we need to replicate an atom in our universe is charges. If we can find a way to isolate a positive charge, and surround it by negative charges and the charges are strong enough to do work, then theoretically we should have an atom. Now if we can control the strength, positioning, and "number" of charges, then bam! we can control every property of that atom. And I honestly don't think this sounds that impossible.
    There are a lot of serious problems with what you propose.

    There's an extremely small number of sub-atomic particles. Essentially, we're talking about electrons, protons, and neutrons*. Life, including humans, is primarily made of the elements carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen. Phosphorous and calcium are a close fifth and sixth. There's only one determining factor for what element an atom is- the number of protons in the atom. If an atom has six protons, it's carbon. If it doesn't, it isn't. As for isolating charges and moving them where you want, this is going to cause problems you didn't anticipate and would be impossible in application.

    First, the size of a proton is just as important in the behavior of an atom as is its charge. The size results in proper distribution of charges in the atom's nucleus. If this doesn't seem important, consider this: the difference between a proton and a neutron is charge- a neutron is literally a proton which has lost its charge. In some cases, an extra or missing neutron simply causes an atom to bond differently. In other cases, it rips an atom to shreds. Bottom line is, you need the structure of the proton in addition to its charge to have a stable atom. Considering we have natural structures that already do this means that somehow making an artificial structure that does it would be like an eskimo a few hundred years back lamenting the lack of a machine that makes ice cubes.

    Second, "isolating" a charge is more difficult than you think. Strong force- the force that keeps the things inside a proton stuck together- is a quirky and poorly understood force. The main thing that has scientists throwing themselves out of windows is that for an extremely powerful force, two connected quarks in an atom seem to move with almost no regard for each other. The popular hypothesis is that strong force increases with distance- kind of like stretching a rubber band. If this is true, and it appears to be so, then moving two connected quarks one meter apart would require more energy than is present in the universe. For all intents and purposes, all you can really do is make more arrangements of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

    *Yes, there are additional non-baryonic types of matter. Unfortunately, these are of little consequence as they don't play well with baryonic matter.

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