Immortality. page 2

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Originally posted by FlabbyWoofWoof:

Don’t be so sure we can’t find a way to stop aging and essentially be immortal

We’re getting closer everyday

This raises the question of whether we really want to.

As you get older, you begin to come to terms with your own mortality. You start to feel a little out of step with the world, not quite such a part of it as when you were twenty. Some of us adapt to progress better than others, but we are all doomed to become relics of a bygone age eventually. Progress is not always an easy thing to deal with, and its speed is accelerating all the time. Some of you youngsters could be destined to be old farts by the time you reach your thirtieth birthday.

Family history gives me a fighting chance of living into my nineties. As long as my mind is still in reasonable nick, I would be very happy to have my ageing process slowed so that I could retain a fairly fit body for that long. But would I want to live much beyond that, having to deal with an ever stranger world? I’m not sure that I would.

 
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Originally posted by beauval:
Originally posted by FlabbyWoofWoof:

Don’t be so sure we can’t find a way to stop aging and essentially be immortal

We’re getting closer everyday

This raises the question of whether we really want to.

But not all humans are the same, no?
I think there is a way. If one were to cut oneself of from society, or at the very least, cut oneself off from a need for it, could a person not live in their own world, forever?
Or perhaps someone who relishes change?

 
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In a way we already achieve immortality. Books, document, etc, keep people alive, by documented their ideology. But from recent research people may achieve immortality by copying our brain to computer.

 
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I think there is a way. If one were to cut oneself of from society, or at the very least, cut oneself off from a need for it, could a person not live in their own world, forever?

Again I would have to ask whether we would really want to. We humans are gregarious animals, and most of us are just not cut out for the life of a hermit. Which is probably why there are so few hermits in the world. Why are you here, 1132? Could it be that you like to talk to people, discuss ideas and find out about how others see the world? That’s basically why I’m taking the trouble to write this, and I suspect the same goes for most other users of this forum. Would you really exchange that for an endless life of loneliness and misery? In prisons, solitary confinement is seen as a punishment, not a reward. In the west it is generally used only as a last resort on the most difficult or violent prisoners.

Or perhaps someone who relishes change?

Some of us do, but how much change can you actually take, how much can you deal with. When all the ideas and ideals you grew up with are being swept away, can you still keep changing to accomodate that? I rather doubt it. I can remember the bewilderment my father (1908-1969) felt during the sixties, when all he held dear was being pushed aside. Britain was no longer top dog, the empire was being dismantled, we had a socialist government, and the young generation was demanding changes in all areas, and was getting them. I don’t think he could cope with the world as it is today.

Of all us wrinklies here, jhco probably gets more stick than anyone else for this reason. While I seldom agree with him, I can understand his difficulty in dealing with modern ideas and attitudes. It’s a point which we will all reach in the end, even you. Many of our greatest achievers did their best work when they were young – Mozart, Chopin, Einstein, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, The Beatles. Winston Churchill is the only one I can think of offhand whose greatest moment came late in life. There comes a time when we realise that our best days are behind us, that we are now just here for the ride and it’s someone else’s turn to take the lead. And as for spending eternity written on to a piece of silicon, I think that could prove to be the worst of all possible worlds.

 
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beauval, I think you’re on to something, but I also think that if Kim Jong-il could of chosen to be ‘immortal’, he’d do it in a heartbeat.

And lets not fool ourselves, none of us would have the money even if it was possible. It’d be for the elite.

The wealthy already out live the poor.

 
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Funnily enough, this article on living forever popped up on the Beeb’s site today. Interesting read.

 
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Originally posted by BryceK:

Can’t we just use stem cells to make neurons?

hmm i think this is just cloning yourself forever.. ok the memory can be saved forever with devices..
but after you have replaced all your neurons.. aren’t you just a copy of yourself?

Not to mention a serious discussion about soul.. i don’t think it is just atoms speaking.. the universe and existence is
much more complex…

Btw if i recall correctly our body replace its atoms every moment, so basically during the course of our life our bodies are made
by different atoms, while the “originals” are elsewhere.. The problem is dna.. if you want to achieve biological immortality, you
have to find a way to preserve dna forever. Very hard but not (theorically) impossible… OH TO HELL JUST MAKE A CLONE OF YOURSELF.. lol lol

 
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Without death, there is no life. If death didn’t exist life wouldn’t be appreciated or even really truly exist in the same sense.

 
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Again I would have to ask whether we would really want to. We humans are gregarious animals, and most of us are just not cut out for the life of a hermit. Which is probably why there are so few hermits in the world. Why are you here, 1132? Could it be that you like to talk to people, discuss ideas and find out about how others see the world?

Because I’m bored, and I’m to lazy to walk downstairs and install one of my games onto my laptop.

Would you really exchange that for an endless life of loneliness and misery? In prisons, solitary confinement is seen as a punishment, not a reward. In the west it is generally used only as a last resort on the most difficult or violent prisoners.

But it doesn’t have to be miserable. What if you couldn’t be miserable whilst alone?
There are, after all, a few people who don’t need others at all and aren’t psychopaths.
Serene Schizoids- no need of other human beings. Solitary by nature, capable of, well, it’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s sort of like an inner calm akin to what many monks try to meditate to.
Or a pure Schizoid. No pain, no pleasure, no need at all for other people.
Even many borderline Schizoids only interact with people because they’re bored.
All the advantages of a psychopath, but without being a massive threat to a stable society.
Granted, no one is sure what actually causes it in the first place, and if it’s not genetic, it’ll be next to impossible to imprint on people.

Some of us do, but how much change can you actually take, how much can you deal with. When all the ideas and ideals you grew up with are being swept away, can you still keep changing to accomodate that? I rather doubt it.

I would relish it, personally. Eventually, I think I may come to hate what society will become. But it will always change- as an immortal, I know that eventually I see it return to what I like. I suppose it’s more about keeping an open mind and accepting change more than anything.

 
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Originally posted by bobbert4ever:

Without death, there is no life. If death didn’t exist life wouldn’t be appreciated or even really truly exist in the same sense.

Most people say this because they cant get married if they’re immortal. They’re family dies eventually, and they’ll live all alone for the rest of their lives.

If you dont get married, and instead be with a different chick every night, it solves that problem.

But I can see why else you would say that.

 
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If you dont get married, and instead be with a different chick every night, it solves that problem.

If you have the money to pay for that, sure.

 
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this may be a little off-topic but,

it would be nice to have something similar to immortality:

a machine(in which I lie down in, or transfer your consciousness to) that will allow me to make your own universe(s) and the machine never runs out of energy(somehow) and will take care of all you biological needs forever(somehow. and if you can’t transfer consciousness) while you create your own universe.

This will solve so many problems :)

I’d make a fantasy world =^_^=

 
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So, a pretty much standard lifelong virtual environment, full bodily immersion interface, then Galdos?

 
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Originally posted by zomgsilverore:

We, as humans, have found immortality to be an impossible occurence. Over the years, humanity has attempted- and failed- to ‘ascend’ to immortality. What I wonder is: WHY is immortality impossible? God’s will? Or perhaps something else?
Your thoughts, please.

im an atheist so heres my point of view look i belive we die because our body can no longer function due to damage or age so we die. so unless u can turn back age and aviod pyshical harm immortality is impossible

 
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Or you could… you know, replace the bits that wear out. Just a thought, hobo.

 
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Oh what you said will be possible, Galdos, no doubt about that. It will also be ultimately possible to construct artificial minds indistinguishable from once-organic minds.

Currently, collaborative virtual environments are very much in-vogue, and they’ve been in-vogue for over thirty years, so I cannot see that dying away any time soon. We are social creatures after all.

 
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I think this would be of interest.
(Why We Age – And How We Can Stop It)

 
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Originally posted by vikaTae:

Oh what you said will be possible, Galdos, no doubt about that. It will also be ultimately possible to construct artificial minds indistinguishable from once-organic minds.

Currently, collaborative virtual environments are very much in-vogue, and they’ve been in-vogue for over thirty years, so I cannot see that dying away any time soon. We are social creatures after all.

If by immortality this discussion means consciously having an unending life; than I believe it is not possible (at least in this universe). Immortality- the condition of unending life (how do you know you’re alive if your not conscious of it?)…I’ll seek to prove that eventually one won’t be conscious making the argument of the plausibility immortality faux.

You can replace whatever part of the body you want, one can even make an artificial body and mind, while the physical property of the container that contains consciousness will exist. The energy needed to power it will eventually become so spread out that energy will be unable to be collected efficiently to keep one conscious. I come to this conclusion via the Second Law of Thermodynamics; which implies that systems will be come more disordered (entropy).

While it is held that energy in the universe is constant it becomes increasingly spread-out through time. This means that one will use more energy obtaining energy from a source than what is actually received by the source . How can one be conscious if the energy used to keep the artificial brain/body running is unobtainable? If you believe consciousness is unnecessary than you still won’t have energy to do anything (using the same concept).

Granted this event will not happen for astronomically long time, but if the purpose of immortality is unending life, then even an astronomically long time falls short of unending (because it will end).

 
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Originally posted by Cmurda:
Originally posted by vikaTae:

Oh what you said will be possible, Galdos, no doubt about that. It will also be ultimately possible to construct artificial minds indistinguishable from once-organic minds.

Currently, collaborative virtual environments are very much in-vogue, and they’ve been in-vogue for over thirty years, so I cannot see that dying away any time soon. We are social creatures after all.

If by immortality this discussion means consciously having an unending life; than I believe it is not possible (at least in this universe). Immortality- the condition of unending life (how do you know you’re alive if your not conscious of it?)…I’ll seek to prove that eventually one won’t be conscious making the argument of the plausibility immortality faux.

Oh it’s possible all right. You sidestep the issue of a longer and longer life requiring more and more storage space for memories, by placing the consciousness in a loop. We already know the actual conscious element of our brains is a secondary function – an emergent after-effect of the way our brains function, so this is not as far-fetched as it sounds. You are still conscious, but the data your consciousness feeds off of, loops. your long-term memory still exists, but the circuit storing short-term memory into long-term is broken. Short term storage fades out, and never adds into the gestalt.

The net effect is a conscious mind that whilst conscious, is incapable of growth, or deviation from expected parameters – whilst being blissfully ignorant of this fact. As such it can be maintained in this state pretty much indefinitely.

You can replace whatever part of the body you want, one can even make an artificial body and mind, while the physical property of the container that contains consciousness will exist. The energy needed to power it will eventually become so spread out that energy will be unable to be collected efficiently to keep one conscious. I come to this conclusion via the Second Law of Thermodynamics; which implies that systems will be come more disordered (entropy).

In the end, yea, but that’s so far in the distant future, that it’s for all practical purposes, the same as a true immortality.

You also have the admittedly remote possibility of punching a hole in the fabric of space-time, and dropping your looping mind-simulation out of the bubble of our reality into whatever lays outside. Assuming the mechine survived, it would be outside of our physics, and all bets would be off.

 
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Oh it’s possible all right. You sidestep the issue of a longer and longer life requiring more and more storage space for memories, by placing the consciousness in a loop. We already know the actual conscious element of our brains is a secondary function – an emergent after-effect of the way our brains function, so this is not as far-fetched as it sounds. You are still conscious, but the data your consciousness feeds off of, loops. your long-term memory still exists, but the circuit storing short-term memory into long-term is broken. Short term storage fades out, and never adds intothe gestalt.
The net effect is a conscious mind that whilst conscious, is incapable of growth, or deviation from expected parameters – whilst being blissfully ignorant of this fact. As such it can be maintained in this state pretty much indefinitely.
Originally posted by vikaTae:
Originally posted by Cmurda:
Originally posted by vikaTae:

Oh what you said will be possible, Galdos, no doubt about that. It will also be ultimately possible to construct artificial minds indistinguishable from once-organic minds.

Currently, collaborative virtual environments are very much in-vogue, and they’ve been in-vogue for over thirty years, so I cannot see that dying away any time soon. We are social creatures after all.

If by immortality this discussion means consciously having an unending life; than I believe it is not possible (at least in this universe). Immortality- the condition of unending life (how do you know you’re alive if your not conscious of it?)…I’ll seek to prove that eventually one won’t be conscious making the argument of the plausibility immortality faux.

Oh it’s possible all right. You sidestep the issue of a longer and longer life requiring more and more storage space for memories, by placing the consciousness in a loop. We already know the actual conscious element of our brains is a secondary function – an emergent after-effect of the way our brains function, so this is not as far-fetched as it sounds. You are still conscious, but the data your consciousness feeds off of, loops. your long-term memory still exists, but the circuit storing short-term memory into long-term is broken. Short term storage fades out, and never adds intothe gestalt.

The net effect is a conscious mind that whilst conscious, is incapable of growth, or deviation from expected parameters – whilst being blissfully ignorant of this fact. As such it can be maintained in this state pretty much indefinitely.

You can replace whatever part of the body you want, one can even make an artificial body and mind, while the physical property of the container that contains consciousness will exist. The energy needed to power it will eventually become so spread out that energy will be unable to be collected efficiently to keep one conscious. I come to this conclusion via the Second Law of Thermodynamics; which implies that systems will be come more disordered (entropy).

In the end, yea, but that’s so far in the distant future, that it’s for all practical purposes, the same as a true immortality.

You also have the admittedly remote possibility of punching a hole in the fabric of space-time, and dropping your looping mind-simulation out of the bubble of our reality into whatever lays outside. Assuming the mechine survived, it would be outside of our physics, and all bets would be off.

I am not sidestepping any issues; you can talk all you want about characteristics of consciousness and how we are able to replicate it, but without energy it simply won’t exist which you go on to admit that it will end. You’re ignorant of what I’m typing which is in regard to energy need to procure consciousness not the aspects of consciousness.

For all practical purposes it’s the same as true immortality? Simply no, it is not the same as true immortality. Having an extremely long life may share similar characteristics but it is not the same (in your mind it very well may be). The only way it can be the same as true immortality is to be true immortality. What is true immortality anyways and how does it differ from immortality? And don’t respond that extremely long life is immortality and true immortality is unending since by definition immortality is unending; so what is the difference?

Since you assume a machine survived continuous jumps, I’ll assume that the human race will be wiped out before we develop that technology.

 
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You’re ignorant of what I’m typing which is in regard to energy need to procure consciousness not the aspects of consciousness.

It’s not my fault you can’t explain yourself worth shit. I addressed every point that actually made any sense.

For all practical purposes it’s the same as true immortality? Simply no, it is not the same as true immortality.

For all practical purposes it is. What does it matter if you only repeat the exact same series of actions a hundred billion times, instead of an infinite number of times? You have no memory of how many times you have repeated the action, and you’re creating nothing new in each loop.

Since you assume a machine survived continuous jumps, I’ll assume that the human race will be wiped out before we develop that technology.

Yes, if I take the machine, assuming it is small enough to fit into my hand, and toss it down a flight of stairs, it will go ::boing::, ::boing::, ::boing::, and if it survives each jump, when it comes to rest the human race will be spontaneously wiped out.

That makes about as much sense as what you’re trying to say, with the continuous jumps you’ve pulled from god knows where.


EDIT: Oh, I forgot this one:

I am not sidestepping any issues;

Good for you. It’s too bad for you that I was talking about how you would need to sidestep the main problem inherent in any attempt of some form of immortality, isn’t it?

Specifically the problem of an exponentially incrasing amount of data that requires storage, in the form of memories, skills, personality quirks. The brain only has a finite amount of storage. To avoid running up against hard limits no matter how great a storage capability you give it, you need to sidestep the issue; by preventing the formation of new memories, new skills, and new quirks of personality – preventing the formation of a new ANYTHING, whilst at the same time ensuring the mind is oblivious to this block.

That way it can exist indefinitely, without running into hard limits. To do this you distill the consciousness down to its core components, and simulate the elements you cannot do away with completely, to remove their capability for growth, whilst maintaining their part in the loop. You have to, to avoid growth and maintain the status quo. It’s the only way to guarantee your system will keep working with an indefinite execution time most likely measuring in the billions of years.

If you keep your cognition loop as smll as possible inside of that, you can greatly increase the number of repeats the mind goes through in the timeframe available. Already by running it on an electrical system, rather than an organic neuron system, you’re boosing it’s thought speed by about 14,400%. So you can cram even more identical ‘experiences’ into the same timeframe it would take to think about things normally.

(Neurons are pathetic when it comes to data transfer speeds. The signal maxes out at around 200m/s.)

 
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To do this you distill the consciousness down to its core components

What is consciousness anyway?
And more importantly, (well more importantly to me anyway) how would you go about distilling it into its core components, if that’s even possible?

 
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Originally posted by darkfrogger:
To do this you distill the consciousness down to its core components

What is consciousness anyway?
And more importantly, (well more importantly to me anyway) how would you go about distilling it into its core components, if that’s even possible?

You don’t ask the easy ones, do you frogger? But, I ws practically asking for that one I think. Ah well, didn’t desire sleep tonight anyway :)


What is consciousness?

Consciousness is an emergent part of the brain. It’s basically the abstract thought processes running in various parts of the cerebral cortex, together with memory management and personality, also found in the cortex. In other words, its the most recent part of your brain. Whilst (to generalise) the hind-brain deals with the physical aspects of running your body and keeping you alive, and the mid-brain deals with long-term storage, the bit on top, the multi-layered, foldy wrinkly bit we call the cortex, consisting of both hemispheres and all its lobes, contains the conscious mind.

Where in this mess, we don’t exactly know. It’s obvious it’s not a single process, hence the emergent part. Likewise we know the conscious mind is not actually in control, most of the time. Decisions are often made in the brain before ‘you’ (the conscious mind) even start thinking about them.

So what the consciousness likely is, is an application running on an abstract level in your brain. Sort of like how on old PCs, you had MS-DOS running on the computer, controlling everything. On top of that you had MS Windows 3.11, which looked like it was running everything, but in reality was just prettying it up and simplifying everything. On top of that you had a collection of applications “File Manager”, “disk defragmenter”, “Scandisk” and so on which didn’t do anything themselves, but sent commands to Windows and reported back on the results. Windows in turn sending more complex messages to DOS, which did the actual grunt work.

In this analogy, your conscious mind is a self-aware suite of such programs. It doesn’t actually do any gruntwork itself, but pretties up and simplifies the process, to make it easier to pass information between different brains, without worrying about all the nitty-gritty little details. It also deals with things that aren’t essential to running things but are nice to have, such as idea creation, ponderings, imagination (the screensaver) and similar things. Bits and pieces that have nothing to do with running the body, and nothing directly to do with survival, but all work in the abstract, attached to ideas and concepts.

Most likely we developed these systems as we began to develop language. The ability to think abstractly beyond that, is probably just a side-effect.


Finding the core components specifically

Moving on then, how we would go abotu distilling it into its core components, is tricky, but I suspect doable. We need to separate out the applications from the operating system. anything that is necessary to run the body, isn’t part of your conscious mind. That’s the OS. So that wipes out the entire hind-brain for a start (but then we knew that anyway, since it is almost a separate structure).

We need to isolate the bits that make you, you. Where they are in your brain. The personality (somewhere in the frontal lobes, along with emotional control), the imagination, both language centers (Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area), what you might term active memory, associative memory (the hypothalamus).

when we have done that, and mapped the precise structure of each of these areas, understanding their function by reverse engineering them we can begin to isolate which parts of these structures are actually parts of our consccious mind, and which are communication with other centers.

If we are uploading the mind to a digital substrate (which seems likely if extreme longevity is desired) then these are the areas we need to target. Between them they comprise our conscious mind. Everything else is related to embodiment (the operating system running that particular body), or to file management (memory storage and retrieval). We can design those areas however we like, as long as they appear the same to the conscious mind when it interfaces with them.


Distillation

So, we have a complete conscious mind in these disparate circuits and the constant communication between them. To distill them still further, we have to examine the circuits we have just transfrred over, and fully understand what each is doing. Yes, they will still be hideously complex from out point of view. The digital versions of many thousands of columns of neurons tightly packed into clusters up to two and a half mm deep. Tens of thousands of neurons per cluster.

But we start to look at them logically, and via much help from programs designed for the task, we analyse their networks, and start to prune out the nonsensical connections. Reduce structures to their simplest possible form without losing data or changing the way data is processed by that block. In other words, reducing the complexity of the conscious mind we have on our digital system, pairing it down, in a way that is completely invisible to the mind itself. Nothing appears to be changing; that person still thinks the same way, can recall the same thoughts and feelings, but as we pair down and create simpler and simpler circuits to do the same job, that mind becomes more streamlined, and executes faster.

When we have paired it down as far as we can without losing data or altering the end result of how data is processed, we will have distilled that consciousness down to it’s simplest form.


Removing distilled components in preparation for pseudo-immortality

True immortality is impossible of course; it always has been. However, you can achieve a practical immortality – which is to say a life that goes on and on without apparent need for it to end, for hundreds, millions, even potentially billions of years, by pairing things down still further.

The most logical way to do this is to look at the systems you have already isloated and understood, then select those subsystems responsible for learning. Segregate them from the others. By this I mean, place their access behind a switch. No new learning can take place unless the switch is ‘on’. Everything else works, but new data won’t be assimilated by the system.

So, it will spend indeterminate periods, totally free from growth. You can run the digital mind now, and the consciousness will loop continually in whatever sensorium it exists in. If you need to interface with it, for something important, (or one of your descendants requires input from you digitised mind) flip the switch, and the learning circuits are reconnected, as opposed to pointing to a /dev/null location.

Anything your descendant shows you during this session is integrated into your mind. New information. After the session is finished, the switch is pulled back, and new learning ceases. The digitised mind stops growing, and remains in equilibrium. This is essential if it is going to be stored for an uncounted number of years, or even millennia before being accessed again.

Left active, the human associative memory process will just keep on making new associations every time it encounters new data – even if you think you’ve forgotten the data, the association remains. So, if active, your digitised mind will grow and grow until it exhausts all possible storage space.

Since we do not know how long it will be before the digitalised mind is needed again, it must be stored at a set file-size to use a crude analogy. Since even a tiny growth rate of a few % points ofthe initial size per second, will cause problems when considered over time stretches of millions of years.

Practically speaking, there is no need for this type of longevity in a mind; digital or otherwise. But we are sticking to the OP here, and the OP’s stated purpose is immortality.


That would be about it, darkfrogger. I hope I’ve explained things simply enough, but if not, just let me know where doesn’t make sense, and I’ll try to explain the concepts involved futher. A lot of these are aspects we cannot currently do, but under the theories of neurocomputation, logically follow from what we can do.

 
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Originally posted by vikaTae:
You’re ignorant of what I’m typing which is in regard to energy need to procure consciousness not the aspects of consciousness.

It’s not my fault you can’t explain yourself worth shit. I addressed every point that actually made any sense.

For all practical purposes it’s the same as true immortality? Simply no, it is not the same as true immortality.

For all practical purposes it is. What does it matter if you only repeat the exact same series of actions a hundred billion times, instead of an infinite number of times? You have no memory of how many times you have repeated the action, and you’re creating nothing new in each loop.

Since you assume a machine survived continuous jumps, I’ll assume that the human race will be wiped out before we develop that technology.

It is your problem you cannot comprehend what I’m saying (I don’t have a problem with how I worded it); but considering this is coming from someone that has acknowledged that there is no difference between similar and same (i.e extremely long life for practical purposes is immortality which is distinct somehow, of which you have not explained from true immortality) it is not a surprise. Perhaps if I put for all practical purposes (like you did) in front of something it will get rid of this dilemma.

For all practical purpose we know that something gives off heat and we assume it’s a fire…or is it a person, a car, a chemical reaction, etc. I suppose it is important to know the difference between same and similar. A fire is the same as another fire but shares a similar characteristic (that of giving off heat) with a person, a car, etc. Using practical purpose doesn’t justify a statement neither does adding true in front of a word make it clearer as to ones meaning.

What does it matter if you can repeat a series of actions hundreds of billion times rather than infinite number of times? Oh I don’t know maybe the purpose of it was to perform it infinitely (ergo immortality thread), not lets repeat an action hundred billion times thread, in which case I wouldn’t bother wasting time typing the difference between finite and infinite.

As for the last thing prior to the edit, I did not say that the events would happen as a result of one or the other or at the same time. Merely that if you’re going to bring an assumption; there is another assumption that can counter it (but this is serious business lets use assumptions to back ones argument).

Edit: I go to many forums and the formatting is different on all of them although the formating in this post wouldn’t be hard to correct, I’m limited on time to do it.

 
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Who the hell would want to live forever anyway? Sounds nightmarish. Dying just to wake up in an eternal afterlife is one of my worst nightmares.