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. To make themselves younger and longer, some billionaires have invested a lot of money in human and genetic experiments. At the same time, they are taking various medicines, receiving hormone therapy, and even injecting young people’s blood into blood vessels.
However, with the passage of time, our cells will eventually stop dividing, genetic mutation, organ failure, and everything will come to an end. How to postpone the end point and how to postpone the end point has become the direction of thinking and research of many scientists today.
Body and consciousness
of what is eternal life?
A vegetative who has been living on medical machines, his body is not corrupt, but he has lost consciousness, and I believe no one will think that this is true eternal life. So when a person loses his body, but his consciousness is still alive?
In an article in the American magazine The New Yorker, columnist Ted Flander divided “undeadists” into two factions: the Meat Puppets and RoboCops.
Soul puppets believe that through various modern and future scientific methods, we can extend the use of the human body and even immortal.
The pursuit of immortality on the body has a long history. In the history of our country, emperor Qin Shihuang and other emperors have taken “immortal magic drugs” because of obsession with immortality, but Qin Shihuang died of mercury poisoning in the medicine. Of course, the Western world is not idle. According to legend, in the 17th century, the Countess Bartoli of Hungary would catch the girl and imprison her in the basement, bleed the girl with a knife and needle, and then bathe with this blood, or simply drink it. Pursue immortality.
In the 20th century, human civilization entered the scientific era, and “extending life” began to slowly change from metaphysics to real science. For example, scientists have gradually discovered through professional experiments that limiting calories can extend human life. It has a good effect in alleviating aging.
Now, people have mastered various genetic technologies and can use them to transform 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 Qiu once said that in theory, humans can achieve immortality in 10 to 20 years. Since by modifying the genetic code, scientists can study organisms that resist any virus, it is entirely possible to achieve people’s reverse growth. The goal of Professor Qiu’s current research is to find the key gene combinations that allow people to reverse growth. Basically, the puppet pie is making efforts to extend the life of the human body, such as eternal youth, delaying aging, and restoring youth.
On the other hand, the mechanistic school believes that human beings can realize eternal life by transplanting consciousness to machines, that is, conscious eternal life.
In 2011, Russian media tycoon Dmitry Izko launched the “Project 2045”, and he believed that human consciousness could be turned into a digital version and 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. Itzko predicted that the digitization of human consciousness could be completed by 2045, so the research project was named “2045”.
To achieve this plan, there are many difficulties to be resolved. The first step in trying to achieve human digitalization is to decipher the structure of the human brain and neural connections. The human brain contains more than 80 billion neurons, and there are trillions of connection structures between neurons. To be converted into a computer program, we must draw these neuron connections. Then create a virtual artificial brain (computer), translate the electrical signals between neurons into code, and upload to this artificial brain to achieve conscious eternal life.
pursuit of immortality and the consciousness into the computer are facing potential challenges can not be overcome, the former need to fight the forces of nature corrupt, while the latter were conscious of the complexity of the trapped. Is there only two ways? Is there any way to bypass the disadvantages of the puppet school and the mechanical school? The answer is yes, the third method is called time hacking.
Similar to the Mechanists, it is also a possible solution to the persistence of consciousness. Time hackers want to invade your brain, but their goal is not to transfer their consciousness elsewhere, but to manipulate people’s perception of time, to deceive the “soul” in people’s heads, and make you feel like you are alive forever. In other words, let the consciousness experience more time and experience more without changing the body.
The time hack was inspired by the plot settings commonly used in science fiction. For science fiction writers, rewriting the rules of time is just like a routine, according to the needs of 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 coexist. In one universe, Peter Parker (Spider-Man himself), who we are familiar with, has entered his twilight years, and in In another universe, he is just a high school student. In fact, the speed of time consciously feeling and the speed of time in reality can also be different.
The American science fiction TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was broadcast in 1987. It tells the story of the 24th century when the Federal Starship Enterprise explored the universe and the crew of the spacecraft experienced strange events such as time travel and space disasters. In episode 125 of this classic TV show, Captain Picard was hit by a mysterious beam of energy from the alien space probe. When he woke up, he found that he was no longer the captain of the Enterprise, and It is an ordinary person named Kaming on Catan Star. No one here has heard of Enterprise, and has not even had any contact with the outside world.
After years of adaptation, Picard finally accepted his destiny, integrated into the society, raised children with his wife, and continued to practice Piccolo. Decades later, Cumming’s wife had already died, and he himself had long since died, leaving little time left. In the final scene of the episode, Captain Picard wakes up at the bridge, surrounded by his crew. In fact, only 20 minutes had passed, but he had already spent his entire life in another life.
The American science fiction cartoon “Rick and Morty” has a similar plot setting. The main line of the anime story is that scientist Rick (Morty’s grandfather) and the protagonist Morty explore time together. In one of the episodes, the main character Morty brings a VR headset and plays a virtual game. Although real-life time has only passed a few minutes, Morty has lived in the game for 55 years.
The brain is where everything happens
British neurologist Anil Seth describes the feelings of their own surgery to wake up in a speech, he said that when their own recovery from anesthesia, can not tell time, he might have been I was lethargic for 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 years, or even 50 years without time awareness. The concepts of time were completely useless.
According to Seth, our experience of the world is from the inside out. What we think of as reality is actually the illusion produced by the brain. The brain is where everything happens, and the brain is inherently capable of distorting the passage of time.
This kind of ability is involved in the film “Theft of Dreams” directed by the famous American director Christopher Nolan. The actor Dom Cobb has the ability to enter and manipulate the dreams of others. He is a stealing recidivist and often leads two Assistants go into 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, what Arthur said is true, and sometimes the time we feel is indeed more than the actual time. Long, we call this situation conscious time bloat.
First of all, we may have experienced time bloat when we dreamed: early morning dreams seemed to spread in our minds for a long time, but in reality, the actual time may only pass a few minutes. Some researchers have pointed out that feeling longer in dreams may be related to the lack of muscle feedback or slower neural processing when we are asleep. The phenomenon of time expansion in dreams indicates the plasticity of subjective time. In the future, people may be able to experience life in their dreams, but real time passes slowly.
Another kind of psychotropic drugs that can make you feel the time swell is marijuana, LSD (ergot diacetamide), psilocybin (psychedelic mushroom), etc. These hallucinogens can make people perceive the time prolonged dramatically. . Some users of psychedelics have shown that their time has slowed down. Of course, some patients with neurological diseases such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease have their own time perception confusion.
Neuroscientists say that the perception of time is related to neurophysiological processes, and we may be able to create a virtual world by manipulating the activities of brain nerves, just like dreaming. But to manipulate time, we must first find the key “neural buttons”, then stimulate the brain with appropriate electrical or chemical signals, cooperate with some virtual reality equipment, and create a long-term conscious world.
And the above ideas may be easier to operate than to transfer consciousness to a computer. Neurologists need only find the key to controlling time perception through a large number of experiments.
Towards future practice
In 2016, Elon Musk founded the company “Neural Connections” to develop implantable brain-computer interfaces. Brain-computer interface refers to external devices such as a chip implanted in the brain. A two-way brain-computer interface allows the brain and external devices to exchange information in both directions. For example, a person can control the machine through brain waves, and can send text messages without hands ; External devices can control the consciousness of the brain 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 interfaces, hoping to create a “mind-reading machine.” Brian Johnson, the founder of Braintree, an American e-commerce payment system, also invested $ 100 million to establish Conel 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. Electrodes stimulate hundreds of neurons to control human motor functions and strengthen the formation of memory. Important device. People can use the brain-computer interface to stimulate the nerves of the brain and extend 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 the virtual reality at will, for example, you were sunbathing on the beach in Hawaii one minute ago, and returned to your workplace one minute later To earn living expenses.
Is eternal life really good?
The nature of all living things, including humans, is to pursue the continuation of life. This desire for survival will drive the future development of neurotechnology. On a good level, implementing time hacking allows people to have more time to live and experience more things. Something that sounds weird now may be bland. For example, a student can spend 30 hours learning math problems in a virtual world, but only 1 hour has passed in the real world. If you can get more time for yourself, why not?
But on the other hand, if eternal life can really be obtained, life has been in a state of continuity and duplication, and it will eventually become boring and meaningless. In the Christmas special of the British TV series “Black Mirror” in 2014, people live in a dual world of real and virtual. Joe is one of the protagonists of the story. Because of the murder, Joe ’s consciousness was trapped by the police at the crime scene. The police set the time and speed of Joe ’s conscious world. Joe was on the verge of collapse in infinite time. The extreme disconnect between objective time and time perception can undoubtedly be disturbing, especially when our senses can be completely manipulated by others.
Tick-tick-tick … If the time hack is really realized, it will be a virtual paradise, or a hell composed of empty images and blurred time, what do you think of it?