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We Will Live Forever…or at Least our Virtual Twins Will

I’m ready for immortality. Much to my girlfriend’s chagrin, I’ve publicly let it be known I’m willing to be put in a robot body, turned into a vampire, you know, whatever it takes. Well, except healthy eating and exercise, but I’m not a masochist, ya know? But now, the future is almost here, the Singularity, as famous futurist Ray Kurzweil has put it (who, btw, is now the Engineering Director for Google).

The idea behind the Singularity, is that the rapid and exponential increase in technology will lead to a snowball rolling downhill effect where Artificial Intelligence becomes more powerful and more in control than human intelligence causing a radical change in civilization…or the end of it. Skynet, anyone? I think we better start hard-wiring Issac Asimov’s laws of robotics into all our home computers now just to be safe.

I hate to say it, but I might just be one of those who lead to the downfall of everything. As I said, I’d like to live forever and I realize that’s probably not going to happen in this meat sack I wear around. So what’s the solution for those of us who don’t necessarily think consciousness when separated from our grey matter means the loss of the hypothetical ‘soul’? Virtuosity baby. And it all begins…REEEEEAL soon. At least according to futurist John Smart.

“When you and I die, our kids aren’t going to go to our tombstones, they’re going to fire up our digital twins and talk to them,” says Smart. These ‘digital twins’ will exist during our own lifetimes as well, scheduling appointments, carry on conversations with others for us…pretty much the next stage in personal assistant apps like Siri or Google Now. Only when we die, they’ll be designed to have incorporated so much of our personality, quirks, and knowledge into them, that they can console our bereaved loved ones. Hell, a supercomputer has now finally beaten a human chess Grandmaster at a championship, and IBM’s Watson supercomputer won on Jeopardy…baby.

Imagine the algorithms that can do these things, taking all our writings on a computer, all our likes and dislikes on fb, all our emails, tweets, games we like to play, running all this stuff through a program designed to simulate consciousness, and really, ya know, kinda…becoming us. It’s not even vaguely far-fetched anymore, and in fact, predictive technology has become the major thrust of the majority of software development.

This is the first (big) step towards Kurzweil’s prediction that in just over 30 years, humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal. Like Johnny Depp in that movie “Transcendence” but hopefully more entertaining. Hmmm, 30 years huh? I might need to reexamine that whole healthy living thing to make that timeline.

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