From ancient times to the present, whether it is the emperor of the East, the alchemist of the West, or the modern scientist, people have been pursuing the immortality of life. In order to make themselves younger and live longer, some billionaires have invested a lot of money in human and genetic experiments. At the same time, they take various medicines, receive hormone therapy, and even inject young people’s blood into blood vessels.
However, as time goes by, our cells will eventually stop dividing, genetic variation, organ failure, and everything will go to the end. How to delay the end point and delay the end point in what way has become the direction many scientists are thinking and studying today.
Body and consciousness
What is eternal life?
A vegetative person who has been living on a medical machine, his body is not spoiled, but he loses consciousness. I believe no one will think that this is true eternal life. Then when a person loses his body, but his consciousness has been alive?
In an article in the American magazine The New Yorker, columnist Ted Flander divided the “undead” into two factions: the Meat Puppets and the RoboCops.
The ivory people believe that through a variety of modern and future scientific methods, we can extend the use of the human body, even for immortality.
Pursuing the longevity of the flesh is long-standing. In the history of our country, Emperor Qin Shihuang and other emperors have taken the “Xian Dan Miao” because they are obsessed with immortality. As a result, Qin Shihuang died of mercury poisoning in the drug. Of course, the Western world is not idle. According to legend, in the 17th century, the Countess of Bartoli in Hungary will arrest the girl in the basement, use a knife and a needle to buff the girl, then bathe with the blood, or simply drink it. Pursue immortality.
In the 20th century, human civilization entered the era of science, and “extended life” began to slowly change from metaphysics to real science. For example, scientists have discovered through professional experiments that limiting calories can prolong human life, insulin is It has a good effect in relieving aging.
Nowadays, people have mastered various genetic technologies and are able to use them to transform their lives. Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School is the leader in the pursuit of immortality. He is a pioneer in the field of genetic engineering. Professor Church has said that in theory, in 10 to 20 years, human beings can achieve immortality. Since scientists can develop organisms that resist any virus by modifying the genetic code, it is entirely possible to achieve people’s reverse growth. The goal of Professor Church’s current research is to find the key genetic combinations that allow people to grow up. Basically, the meat pie is an effort to extend the life of the human body, such as eternal youth, delaying aging, and restoring youth.
On the other hand, the mechanical school believes that human beings can realize eternal life, that is, eternal life in consciousness, by transplanting consciousness into the machine.
In 2011, Russian media tycoon Dmitry Izko launched the “2045 Plan”, he believes that human consciousness can become a digital version, stored on an artificial intelligence computer. To this end, he invested a lot of money and convened a group of scientists to conduct research in this direction. Izko predicted that the digitization of human consciousness could be completed in 2045, so the research project was named “2045”.
There are many difficulties that need to be solved to achieve this plan. The first step in trying to realize human digitization is to decipher the structure of human brain and the structure of neural connections. The human brain contains more than 80 billion neurons, and there are hundreds of millions of connected structures between neurons. To convert to a computer program, we must plot these neuron connections. Then create a virtual artificial brain (computer) that translates the electrical signals between the neurons into code and uploads them into the artificial brain to achieve eternal life in consciousness.
The pursuit of immortality and the placement of consciousness in computers are faced with potentially insurmountable challenges. The former needs to fight against the forces of natural decay, while the latter is trapped by the complexity of consciousness. Is there only two ways? Is there any way to bypass the drawbacks of the meat pie and the mechanical pie? The answer is yes, the third method is called time hacking.
Similar to the mechanical school, it is also a possible solution to the eternal consciousness. Time hackers want to invade your brain, but their goal is not to shift ideology elsewhere, but to manipulate people’s perceptions of time, to deceive the “souls” in people’s minds, and to make you feel like you are alive forever. In other words, let the consciousness experience more time and experience more without changing the body.
Time hackers are inspired by the episode settings commonly used in science fiction. For science fiction writers, rewriting time rules is like having a regular meal. According to different plots, time can flow in different spaces and at different speeds. For example, in the American animated film “Spider-Man: Parallel Universe” released at the end of 2018, countless parallel universes exist together. In a universe, the familiar Peter Parker (Spider-Man himself) has entered the Jubilee, and In another universe, he is still only a high school student. In fact, it is consciously perceived that the speed of passage of time and the speed of time flow in reality can be different.
The American sci-fi TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was broadcast in 1987. In the 24th century, the Federal Starship Enterprise explored the universe, and the crew of the spacecraft experienced stories of strange events such as time travel and space disasters. In the 125th episode of this classic TV series, Captain Picard was hit by a mysterious energy beam from an alien space probe. When he woke up, he found himself no longer the captain of the enterprise. It is an ordinary person named Kamen on Katan Star. No one has ever heard of the enterprise number, and there is not even any experience of contact with the outside world.
After many years of adaptation, Picard finally accepted his fate, integrated into the society, raising a child with his wife, and practicing Piccolo. A few decades later, Cumming’s wife had already passed away, and he himself had long been dying, and there was not much time left. In the final scene of the series, Captain Picard woke up at the bridge, surrounded by his crew. In fact, the time has only passed 20 minutes, but he has lived a lifetime in another life.
There is also a similar plot setting in the American sci-fi cartoon “Rick and Moti.” The main line of the cartoon story is the adventure of scientist Rick (Mody’s grandfather) and the protagonist Motti. In one of the episodes, the protagonist Moti took the VR helmet and played a virtual game. Although the real life time was only a few minutes, Moti lived in the game for 55 years.
The brain is where everything happens
In a speech, British neurologist Anil Seth described his feelings when he woke up. He said that when he wakes up from anesthesia, he can’t tell the time. He may have been sleeping for 5 minutes, 5 Hours, 5 years, or even 50 years, without time awareness, the concept of these times is completely useless.
According to Seth, our experience of the world is from the inside out. What we think is the illusion of the brain. The brain is where everything happens. The brain is born with the ability to distort the passage of time.
This ability is involved in the film “The Pirates of the Dream” directed by the famous American director Christopher Nolan. The male lead Dom Cobb has the ability to enter and manipulate the dreams of others. He is a recidivist and often leads two The assistants enter the subconscious of others to steal trade secrets. In the movie, Cobb’s assistant Arthur said: “Five minutes in the real world may be more than an hour in a dream.” In fact, the words that Arthur said are facts. Sometimes the time we feel is indeed more than the actual time. Long, we call this situation the expansion of time in consciousness.
First of all, we may have experienced the expansion of time when we dreamed: the dream of the morning seems to have spread in our mind for a long time, but in reality the actual time may only last a few minutes. Some researchers have pointed out that feeling longer in a dream may be related to the lack of muscle feedback or slow nerve treatment when we are asleep. The phenomenon of time expansion in dreams points to the plasticity of subjective time. In the future, people may experience life in their sleep, and the actual time goes by.
Another type of psychotropic substance that allows subjective perception of time bloating includes marijuana, LSD (ergo diacetamide), and porcine mushroom (magic mushroom). These hallucinogens can make people perceive a sharp increase in time. . Some users of LSD show that their time has slowed down. Of course, there are also some cases of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease.
Neuroscientists say that perception of time is related to neurophysiological processes, and we may be able to create a virtual world by manipulating the activity of the brain, just like dreaming. But to manipulate time, we must first find the key “nerve button”, then stimulate the brain with appropriate electrical or chemical signals, and cooperate with some virtual reality devices to create a long-lasting world of consciousness.
And the above ideas may be easier to operate than transferring awareness to a computer. Neurologists only need to find the key to controlling time perception through a lot of experiments.
Practice towards the future
In 2016, Elon Musk founded the “Neuro Connection” company to develop an implantable brain-computer interface. The brain-computer interface refers to external devices such as chips implanted in the brain. The two-way brain-computer interface allows the brain and external devices to exchange information in two directions. For example, people can control the machine through brain waves, and can send text messages without using their hands. External devices can control the brain’s conscious activity by transmitting electrical signals to the brain. At the same time, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the famous American social networking site “Facebook”, is also funding research on brain-computer interface, hoping to create a “reading machine”. Braintree founder Brian Johnson, the US e-commerce payment system, also invested $100 million to create Cornell Inc. to study brain-computer interfaces to improve and expand human cognition.
At present, the research on brain-computer interface is still in the early stage. It can only be applied to medical treatment in the short term. It uses electrodes to stimulate hundreds of neurons to control the body’s motor function and strengthen memory formation, but it is a future brain activity control. Important device. People can use the brain-computer interface to stimulate the brain and prolong the perception of time while transmitting virtual reality to the brain, which can create a longer life experience in consciousness. And the virtual reality device is controllable, that is, we can change the scene in virtual reality at will. For example, in the last minute, you are sunbathing on the beach in Hawaii; after a minute, you return to your workplace. To earn living expenses.
Is eternal life really good?
The nature of all living things, including humans, is the continuation of life, and the desire to survive will drive the future of neural technology. On a good level, implementing time hackers gives people more time to live and experience more things. Some things that sound very strange now may become unremarkable. For example, a student can spend 30 hours studying math problems in a virtual world, and the real world has only passed an hour. If you can get more time for yourself to learn, why not?
But on the other hand, if you can really get eternal life, life will continue to repeat, and eventually it will become boring and meaningless. In the Christmas special of the 2014 British TV series “Black Mirror”, people live in a double world of reality and virtuality. Joe is one of the protagonists of the story. Because of the murder case, Joe’s consciousness was trapped at the crime scene by the police. The police set the speed of Joe’s consciousness in the world. The virtual world has passed the past 1000 years, and the real life has only passed 1 minute. Joe was on the verge of collapse in an infinite amount of time. The extreme disconnect between objective time and time perception is undoubtedly disturbing, especially when our senses can be completely manipulated by others.
Ticking and ticking… If the time hacker is really realized, it will be a virtual paradise, or a hell composed of empty images and blurred time. How do you think about it?