Imagine a life where we would not lose our loved ones to death. Long deceased relatives, our grandparents in who’s hearths we grew up, our beloved pets and the friend who happened to be on the plane that crashed last month- we have them all with us.
What we need probably is a microchip that acts as both a memory card as well as a microprocessor. As soon as a baby is born, this near invisible microchip- made of neutral material- would be implanted in its brain. Rather I should say, by way of nanotechnology, this chip should be implanted into the zygote when it is still in its cellular stage and before meiosis sets in. As soon as the zygote becomes a separate life, this chip starts recording important data like the genetic traits, appearance, development of brain tissues etc.
Throughout the life cycle of this individual this chip keeps recording vital data and stores it. Likes and dislikes, suicidal tendencies, sexual life, habits, hobbies, characteristics, moods- this nanochip records everything.
When this person dies or is killed or commits suicide- in simple words- ceases to exist, the nanochip is extracted from the brain and is put into good use!
This nanochip comes with a pod. Imagine a CD and a CD player. Or simply- a memory card and a card reader. Only, this pod has a projection system built onto it. The information is mapped by the pod and a holographic projection of the deceased is created. By default, the pod will recreate the image of the individual resembling what he or she was 12 months prior to his or her death. This is a variable function however and can be altered, which I will come to later.
Since the nanochip has recorded all data of the deceased individual since birth, it recreates an exact holographic replica of the person- your grandpa, your best friend or even your pet. You can alter the settings of the holographic image- in the sense that you can set the age and the time as per your wishes. But this will be regulated- again a point that I’ll explain later.
And voila! Immortality!
This device needs heavy regulations and laws have to be passed to keep users from abusing its potentials. For instance- it is not a free-for-all device that any Jill and Johnny can buy from the store like one buys an iPod. Sale of this device would be regulated by a board. An applicant has to go through multiple rounds of psychological testing before he or she is declared fit to purchase the device- which we shall call- Immortality Pod or simply IP. Purchase would only be made to individuals expecting an offspring. That too, the IP is not an OTC gadget. It would only be administered by fertility doctors and perhaps laparoscopic surgeons who would carry out the implantation process in the zygote.
Use of the IP would only be allowed after the implanted individual is dead. Once implanted, the IP cannot be recovered. In any case if the device is not activated within 72 hours of death of the implanted individual, all memory would be erased and the IP would be rendered useless.
The IP pod or dock would only be passed onto the users after a death certificate is released by the Coroner’s office and produced to the regulatory board.
Once IP is activated and the holograph is created, users would be able to adjust the timeline of the holograph only twice- that is set the age and time of the projected entity only twice. The projected entity or ‘projection’ would be able to interact with its physical environment but not tangibly. Remote projection is allowed. The projection will not be able to walk through walls. It is not a ghost! If the projection tries to do that- it sure will as it has a mind of its own, it will be reprojected. This action if repeated more than thrice will result in a system shut down. The IP has to be rebooted. Since the projection can interact with its environment, it has to be ‘told’ not to act the ‘ghost’!
I see several hundreds, perhaps a thousand questions/problem areas:
If the deceased person is holographically brought to life, will he/she be counted as a legal person? I mean, will this projection be a citizen? Have a record in the national census? Be entitled to vote in the next elections?
What will be the lifespan of this projection? Would the projection continue to live long after its pod parents are dead?
Since the projection will not be able to tangibly interact with its environment, what will its daily activity be? I mean, if it has a mind of its own, won’t it get bored of simply doing nothing? And if it cannot tangible interact with the environment what will it do when it is hungry, feels sleepy, feels like listening to music on your iPod, or simply play your guitar thats lying in the corner of your room? Will it then not ‘stand on the ground on its feet’? Will it then hover three inches from the ground like an apparition?
What if you plan to use the IP for your beloved pet puppy that was run over by a car last month? How will it understand your command of ‘not running into walls more than twice’? Moreover, how will it eat its favourite dog food when its hungry?!
The answer to these and many other complex questions would be to implant an individual’s memories and thoughts into humanoid robots which can interact with their environments tangibly. Then also we have to be very selective about what memories and thought processes we implant and what we leave out.
The bottom line is immortality is impossible whether we bring it about artificially or hope for miracles to happen. The quest for immortality has moved thinkers, philosophers and alchemists alike- from the middle ages to the modern ages. If human beings were to live on- virtually, artificially or naturally, the world’s population will keep increasing and we would soon have to start looking for colonizing other worlds.