I speak with a lot of quite terrified post humanists at the moment: terrified that they will miss the technological singularity and immortal life.

But I can't help but think that they immortality is impossible:

  1. the multiverse is finite... then no matter or physical being will eventually collapse and take with it any life forms.

  2. the multiverse is infinite... then eventually everything will happen, including freak deaths. All the posthumans are going to die through some unlikely chain of events, the futurist version of some unlucky accident, or suicide or something.

The only hope of infinite life if resurrection, and I've never believed that you can wake up from death, that life is tied to ones immediate physical makeup.

closed as off-topic by virmaior, iphigenie, James Kingsbery, Hunan Rostomyan, Dennis Oct 15 '14 at 19:40

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  • And there was I thinking post-humanism was simply post enlightenment humanist ethics. – Mozibur Ullah Oct 3 '14 at 10:59
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    Which immortality are you talking about? 99.999999 percent of humans can not make decent outcome out of their boring and useless lifes here. Most of your friends will go crazy after 100 years into immortal life. Maybe they are already crazy? No? Let us think about that. – Asphir Dom Oct 3 '14 at 12:37
  • According to quantum mechanics (in the Everett interpretation) there are multiple instances of each potentially immortal agent. The instances of the agent start out the same but become different over time because every possible outcome of any given measurement occurs in some universe. There will be some versions of each agent that die in some unlikely way but other versions will continue to exist. So immortality may be possible even if there are extremely unlikely accidents. – alanf Oct 3 '14 at 14:27
  • If one believes that technology can bring about immortality then they might as well believe that it can prevent collapses of the universe and/or freak accidents. So technically we can't be sure it's impossible. This being said, I am not holding my breath. – Conifold Oct 3 '14 at 21:58
  • @Conifold These folks are not just being fanciful. If standard predictive statistics can be applied to technological advancement, then by some accounts the first person with the option to live 150 years is likely to be born only 10 years before the first person with the option to live to 1000. The limit would not become asymptotic, it curves the wrong way. I don't think people will actually want to take advantage of this... It would be stealing the world from your own descendants for reasons I think most folks would grow out of given time. But the theory is not just bizarre. – user9166 Oct 5 '14 at 22:55

I would not rule out 'waking up from death', in two senses.

First -- once there are few enough quasi-immortal beings, they would likely duplicate themselves. So, even though many copies might die, one continuous memory going back arbitrarily far may be available as far as one wishes into the future.

Second -- I think bidirectional time (a la the Feynman universe where every current proton is the same one at a different age...) is a more likely quantum-mechanical model than Copenhagen or Many-Worlds. In such a model, it would be possible to preserve information by 'threading' causality through a unique event which forces certain initial conditions on an earlier period. If there is still matter in motion and the only way for time to continue were for certain particles to have been in a certain configuration at some point far earlier, then that will have to have happened.

The last few intelligent beings in existence might consider continued experience more valuable than continued existence, and would be willing to take that risk. So it would, with immense effort, be possible for copies of that memory to be instantiated much earlier in the universe's history and imparted to multiple bodies as soon as that is possible. This would allow streams of consciousness to exist in an infinite loop, continually recopying the wisdom of the version near the end of time to an earlier body.

These people would then be subjectively immortal.


Why would you worry about immortality?

The average adult person will live maybe up to their 80th year. There's a chance that technological progress might expand that live span. If you are young enough, there's a chance that you might benefit from this.

There is a tiny chance that your life span is extended so much that during that lengthened life span there is more technological progress, which lengthens your life span further and during that further lengthened life span there is more progress again and so on. In total, your life span may be very, very long.

There are a few consequences.

The chance that you die by accident or as a crime victim grows. Every year about 4,000 people die in traffic accidents in the UK. That means your chances of living 100,000 years without dying in a traffic accident first are very, very slim. Unless you change your life to systematically avoid any situation that has the tiniest chance of leading to an accident, and maybe that would make your life quite boring.

You will have plenty of time thinking about the answer to your question, and since you will be older and wiser, you are likely to find a better answer than any we could give.

You would also have a very very long time to think about everything. And there is a chance that after some time, you'll just have enough of it all. You are worrying about what happens at the end of the universe. You should worry that immortality might become first boring, then annoying, then unendurable, and the prospect of dying at the end of the universe might be the only hope that keeps you alive.