Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Digital Immortality

Credit: vitanovski/SSilver

Credit: vitanovski/SSilver

By Mahir Ozdemir

Is a Google executive’s vision of a digital afterlife feasible or a fantasy?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Living forever while staying healthy and vital has always been one of the oldest quests of mankind. Some wish it would happen, and some say they’ll make it happen.

The director of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil, is one of them. His unbounded self-confidence and unshakable faith in science and technology propelled him into the spotlight as a leading figure in the transhumanist movement, which is seeking to transcend our perishable, earthly bodies into immortal beings.

Kurzweil dreams of a future where we transfer our consciousness to robots, thus shedding the mortal coil of our biological bodies. He claims that the digital immortality is going to be a reality over three decades.

By 2045, to be precise.

Beyond any shadow of a doubt, Kurzweil is a very smart man. His inventions include the first flatbed scanner and a text-to-speech reading machine for the blind. But is his latest ambitious and controversial target raising the bar too high?

The idea in and of itself is not bad. Why deal with a body that gets all sorts of diseases, deteriorates and dies when it could be possible to live without any of these biological constraints?

To get a more accurate insight into some of his thought-provoking and entertaining ideas, let’s look at his public statements.

Kurzweil begins his each of his lectures by charting some of the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.