Artificial You

The human quest to live forever is enduring. Thinkers, scientists and innovators have attacked this problem from different directions with the same ultimate goal – to break out of the shackles imposed by the fragility of our human body which degenerates with time. One solution of course is to renew the body but innovators have been working on a novel solution altogether. In this version of immortality you live on just not in your human body but in digital form.

What would it take for scientists to create a digital you? For starters, they would need to map and store every thought, emotion, feeling. They would also need to map and store all the information you have gathered in your lifetime including the interactions with other humans, the likes and dislikes, your preferences which have accumulated because of your experiences. A mind map. Next they would need to map your physical appearance, your gestures and traits, even your gait. The final leg of this exercise would be to make all this information intelligent so that instead of being just data, the stored information can actually respond to stimuli – your mother telling you to clean your room for example. How would this digital being react if told to clean her room?

If all this seems impossible, perish the thought. Not only will it be possible, it seems almost inevitable. In the future if you want to interact with President Mandela and ask him what he would do if he were to be confronted with a problem you are facing or if you want to understand why the Picasso of your day painted the way he did you can because his opinion would be digitized for posterity. People may balk at this thought but as with much of science the benefits of progress often out weigh the nay sayers. You digital self may miss the ability to walk in the park but in a world that is being simulated, the scientists will no doubt find a way to simulate that too. A world much like the Matrix describes may be closer than you think.