reply to post by theresult
We dont need our body the only thing we do need is our Brain..
I question whether or not we even need that. As BCI's continue to improve, it will eventually only be a matter of time before we are able to upload
or download our consciousness either via emulation or a working understanding of the complex emergent properties that go into forming and maintaining
a consciousness. However, this will come at a consequence and humanity will have to answer some very tough questions. Namely, can a person maintain
their individuality when the physical body is rendered meaningless? What of physical barriers to this defined by the limits of our brain operation
were to be broken down? Further, can one consciousness in such a state maintain it's individuality after merging with a group consciousnesses over a
network if a physical body reinforcement is no longer present or necessary?
Consider the Ship of Theseus paradox, in which - if a ship is restored piece by piece as it ages and decays as to one day eventually no longer
constitute any of the original pieces of the ship. Is it still the same ship?
I do think humanity is quickly (over the next century or so) and rather blindly entering a time in which the most important questions for us to answer
are some of the most basic philosophical questions that have plagued humanity. Namely, when the physical body is rendered meaningless, then just what
is the importance of being human? Should we fear the answer to this?
I sometimes really wonder why religious folks haven't pondered on this - because it's obvious their concept of a soul seems to imply a physical form
- yet the very nature of such a concept is far, far, beyond the physical. Whether your consciousness be floating free in a network or in the aether of
the afterlife - what essentially is the difference?
To touch on the alien subject once again, I recall listening to a book on tape of Whitley Strieber's book "Transformation" - or something like
that. He described his Grey visitors as something rather similar. Having physical bodies that are "recycled". That their natural state was not the
physical space, but something else that he alluded to as the supernatural realms. This is why they do not fear death as we do.
Not to say that I believe what he has to say for a moment, but the concept does sound very familiar to territory we are currently headed towards.
But I could see us as a collective much like the borg using our own minds as "chips" to further the collective "goal"..
I really don't see this happening, or at least sustaining, as conformity is abhorred in nature. Life thrives and propagates via diversity and
redundancy so as to overcome the inherent dangers of an unchanging system. Were humanity to become one mind with one directive, I see it becoming a
quick death for our species. All it would take is one deleterious error, virus, or environmental condition to eradicate nearly the entire system that
would share that weakness.
Think of how the internet works.. millions of people all giving there view and shaping it The internet has no shape as we can see, but it is evolving
just by our very own imput Into it kinda thing..
We can point to any number of technologies or theories which have evolved via competition, even well beyond their intended use, and guided by no real
intelligent purpose from the outset. The internet is a good example of an emergent technology that really was designed and shaped by no-one, but
merely congealed out of multiple competing and differentiating technologies. It may have had a solid backbone that was intentionally designed, however
the net in it's current form is very much self-arranged from the bottom up. Or rather a plethora of top down systems working on their own little bit
of the system creating a massive whole that is far greater than the sum of it's parts from the bottom up.
However, I'm interested in what would happen should consciousnesses merge and propagate over a network. Would the many individual consciousnesses
form a new consciousness? Would we recognize it if it were to form? Just as one neuron in the brain does not form a consciousness, many of them firing
in tandem do. Would the formation of our consciousness be apparent on the synaptic level?
One would assume that neurons must be in the proper configuration and fire in a specific order for the brain to function properly. This is true, but
defining the moment in which each individual synapse will fire and how often is nearly impossible despite observing the whole functioning at increased
or lowered activity depending on the stimuli. For a comparison, it's thus far hopelessly impossible to predict what a single air molecule in a room
will do. However, we can predict the properties of a volume of gas very accurately.
On a very primitive and base level, humanity is already taking this first leap, representative by the very message board we're on now. No physical
bodies... just thought and consciousness relaying information back and forth across a network. This communication has always been with humanity, but
the rate at which information was propagated across a network of human individuals was extremely slow. The first leap in speed came with the
development of language, then literature, then the printing press. Now, information can be disseminated across the entire globe nearly
And again... this is all part of a naturally occurring emergent system. Who's to say that we are the top layer who has broken free of the bonds by
virtue of free will? I prefer to think of us as a natural component of a natural system - and thank god that I am sentient enough to even attempt to
recognize it for what it is.
[edit on 16-1-2009 by Lasheic]