General, Research, Technology

According to some physicists, digital immortality is possible

Today, the term "digital immortality" sounds allmore often, but what is it? If you watched the series "Black Mirror", then perhaps you remember the episode in which the widow first created a digital copy of her husband who died in the accident, and later ordered an android - an exact copy of her husband, uploading the already collected digital image into it. Agree, it all looks a little creepy. But is something like this possible in the future? And even if we do not take into account the version about the creation of humanoid robots, then it is possible to create an exact digital copy of a person today and it is unlikely that anyone will be surprised: social networks, banking and mobile transactions, mobile applications - we ourselves voluntarily provide information about yourself, friends, relatives, colleagues, your travels, taste preferences and purchases. Put all this information together and voila, the digital image is ready. By the way, this is exactly what the author of 4 best-selling New York Times, theoretical physicist and popularizer of science Michio Kaku says, considering digital immortality possible and - the most probable.

"I'll Be Back Soon" is the first episode of the second season of the British sci-fi anthology television series Black Mirror.

Search for the fountain of youth

The topic of human life extension is oldthe goal of many scientists and dreamers. Historically, kings, queens, and emperors have tried to find the source of youth, but they have all failed. Instead of the Fountain of Youth, Juan Ponce de Leon founded the first European settlement in Puerto Rico - Florida. And the Chinese emperor Qin 2000 years ago was looking for an elixir of immortality throughout the country. But he did not find, instead of which, apparently, he founded Japan, and then Korea.

Moreover, the Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldestsurviving literary works in the world, tells about the mission of the demigod Gilgamesh, which consisted in the search for the secret of immortality. So, throughout its history humanity unsuccessfully searches for the source of eternal youth. But has anything changed with the advent of the digital age?

Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physicsat the City College of New York (CUNY), where he has taught for over 25 years, believes humanity will achieve digital immortality. This means that our whole life can be digitized. In the video for Big Think, Kaku states that one day, when you go to the library, you won't need a book about Winston Churchill, for example, since you can interact with his hologram, which contains all the manners, speech and perhaps even memories. Winston Churchill himself. The theoretical physicist suggests that in the same way, one day your descendants may go to the library and talk to you. Provided, of course, that you want to be digitized.

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In the photo, a theoretical physicist, author of numerous popular science books and television programs Michio Kaku

Just imagine how many credit transactionsmaps you have committed in recent years. If this information falls into the wrong hands, it will easily tell you, if not everything, then a lot - where do you like to relax, what drinks do you prefer, what do you do in your free time. With the totality of your digital data, which is, in fact, digital fingerprints, writing your digital resume for a skilled person will not be there. But somewhere here the question arises - will your digital copy be you?

Dr. Kaku, answering this question, speaks ofthat everything from what you define as "yourself" - if this is a biological entity with your memories, then, of course, it is not you. But if you define your being as entropy and information, that is, if you say that your soul is information that develops over time according to the laws of entropy, then you can be digitized and, to some extent, immortal.

See also: Is digital immortality possible and is it necessary

Biological immortality

Of course, speaking of immortality is impossible notconsider biological and genetic immortality. “We have artificial intelligence systems that can scan huge amounts of data and analyze it, so in the future we will take the genomes of millions of older people and the genomes of millions of young people and run them through the artificial intelligence system and figure out where the error is concentrated,” says Kaku.

We know that aging is the accumulation of errors - cellular errors, biological errors, genetic errors. Entropy is what aging is. See the Greenland shark - just amongof these animals, one of the world records for vertebrates was recorded - the age of some individuals reaches 400 years and more. But if some vertebrates can live that long, how can they?

One of the most important clues, according to Professor Kaku, are telomeres: protective ends of chromosomes, functionwhich is to maintain DNA integrity and protect genes. We also know that telomerase, for example, can stop the "biological clock" built into the cells of all living organisms on earth. Read more about what a biological clock is in our material.

There are 23 pairs of chromosomes inside the cell nuclei. Telomeres are located at the ends of each chromosome. They protect our DNA from damage in the same way that plastic tips protect the edges of laces.

For example, researchers from the California cityMenlo Park took ordinary human skin cells and applied telomerase to them, as a result of which the biological clock in these cells was stopped, which means that the cells can reproduce forever. But what's the catch? The problem, according to the physicist, lies in cancer cells, or rather, in the fact that they also use telomerase on the path to immortality. You see, cancer cells are immortal; that's why they kill. Ironically, isn't it? That which grants us destruction contains the secrets of immortality. But if we know that telomerase can be successfully used by cancer cells, perhaps in the future, we can use it to prolong life.

So, I want to say a very simple thing: we have no source of youth. However, I think that it is only a matter of time before, perhaps, our grandchildren will be able to reach the age of 30 and ... stop. Perhaps we can stop the biological clock. This cannot be ruled out.

Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.

And yet, the scientist believes that we must achievedigital immortality and then, perhaps, we can stop the aging process. Do you agree with Dr. Kaku or do you think that immortality is the lot of dreamers and science fiction writers? We will wait for the answer here, as well as in the comments to this article.