Your Monday poll #9

[poll=87]

Comments

  1. The “no” votes are an infinitely more numerous than the “yes” votes. It’s settled.

  2. me cant spell

  3. Interesting. Given that one can hardly imagine a Plan of Salvation without death, what adjustments would have to be made if one day (and I think that in a century or two virtually anything might be possible) technology could somehow cheat death?

  4. Aaron–get Firefox, it spell checks for you. Even tells me “firefox” with a small “f” is incorrect.

    Ronan–that’s scary in a very science fiction-y way.

  5. re: 4 I’m not so sure, Ronan. LDS theology could mesh with that technology, actually. Maybe “death” would be the moment our minds were uploaded into this computer, and “resurrection” when they were downloaded back into another body. Our conscious existence would therefore no longer be linked to our current physical bodies, which sounds somewhat familiar……

  6. Cool, Mike. You should write the future theology.

  7. Nick Literski says:

    Haven’t we already worn out the “deity will never let science do _____, because it’s against deity’s will” game? There are plenty of examples of scientific and medical procedures, which go against various religions’ concept of what deity approves.

  8. problem A- people would not really download their minds, but would just make a copy of the information in their minds. Thus, the copy would live and think it was them, but they’d still die.

    Unless of course we could find away to transfer man’s spirit…

  9. Nick,
    I’m not sure the question posits only divine disapproval.

  10. Matt,
    Can you articulate the difference between the mind and the spirit?

  11. Ugly Mahana says:

    What Matt W. said. And, to # 11, No. But there is a difference.

  12. I vote No, only because this ability would never be evolved without approval from God. The real question should be if God would allow this technology to arise, or if God would approve of this technology.

  13. Is this the ‘true’ definition of be changed in a ‘twinkling of an eye’.

  14. Ronan: sure. To me, Mind is the information which resides in our brains and dies with our brains, spirit is the essence of ourselves that exists eternally.

    Thus we could easily make a robot that acts exactly like Kevin Barney, having an exact copy of his mind, in so far as we are able to replicate it, however, it would be much more difficult to move Kevin’s Spirit from himself to a machine.

    Perhaps we ought to figure out whether we can do brain transplants first?

  15. Matt,
    I know we can do head transplants. A Soviet scientist swapped two monkey heads. For a while, the head was kept alive apart from the body. Reminded me of that Futurama episode with the talking heads of dead presidents in jars.

  16. i voted from my mind computer

  17. I voted no. I just don’t think it would matter, nor interupt the plan.

    I would be more interested however in technology where we could download information to our brains via a usb port or something. Perhaps while we were sleeping we could be learning. Imagine how fast we could learn everything. We could completely understand cosmology in one night, or learn how to fly fighter jets. Or download the entire Wiki database. I have in mind something like they had in the Matrix. That would be the best technology ever in my books.

  18. I think you are all missing the big question: Is this the technology by which God achieves immortality?

    Joseph Smith’s First Vision account is a classic close encounter experience with technologically advanced alien. A pillar of light coming from the sky and two beings teleporting down the shaft of light. The same goes with Christ’s visit to the Americas in the Book of Mormon. Unless Jesus flew superman-style from Kolob, there seems to be no reason why he would be descending from the sky… unless he was descending from a spacecraft.

    Bruce R. McConkie was clear that resurrected bodies were composed of flesh and bone, but no blood. Hello??? Cyborg. Think of the terminator. Perhaps God’s bodies and our resurrected bodies will be made of flesh-encased metallic skeletons with motor oil (a synthetic blend perhaps?) instead of blood.

    The potential destruction of our cyborg bodies would not result in death because our spirits could be backed-up in a nearly infinite series of harddrives, flash drives, dvds, and 3.5″ floppy disks.

  19. james,
    And voting here means that you have downloaded a virus. Bye.

  20. Well, God won’t stop it because it cannot ever be done. It isn’t the information in your head that makes you you. And the information in our brains is a part of our spirits. That information actually goes with us in the afterlife. After all, we don’t go into the afterlife as we came into this world, without any knowledge. We go in the afterlife with full knowledge of our doings.

  21. Loyd,

    Bruce R. McConkie was clear that resurrected bodies were composed of flesh and bone, but no blood. Hello??? Cyborg. Think of the terminator. Perhaps God’s bodies and our resurrected bodies will be made of flesh-encased metallic skeletons with motor oil (a synthetic blend perhaps?) instead of blood.

    That’s flesh and bone not flesh and metal.

  22. MikeInWeHo says:

    This is so Battlestar Galactica. I love it!!!!! I miss all the cool old LDS speculative cosmo-theology. So who’s to say our spirit isn’t made up of pure information? Anybody else here read “Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information Is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos, from Our Brains to Black Holes” by Charles Seife ? This thread reminds me of that book.

    re: 7 There isn’t that much irony in the entire universe, Ronan.

  23. Interesting thoughts. I can’t really reconcile our theology on spirits with it, but maybe I’m just too feeble minded.

    The part I like about the thought excercise has to do with how I would view life. I already mostly live my life with eternal perspectives. How would I live differently if mortality was indefinate? Would I live differently if I knew I would still be around in 150 years? I would probably change my investment portfilio.

  24. “There isn’t that much irony in the entire universe, Ronan.”

    Maybe so, Mike, but I sure would love to read it.

  25. Adam Greenwood says:

    Unless you mean forever seriously, in which case God would intervene. But no one is going to live forever on a computer. God can wait a few billion years for entropy to do its work.

  26. Our knowledge goes with us, guys:

    D&C 130: 18-19

    18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
    19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.

    It seems that it is quite strongly attached to our spirits. It also seems that there is only one record of our knowledge inside our bodies, and it is attached to our spirit that leaves the body when the body dies.

    Besides which, we will never create a computer powerful enough to contain everything our brains contain. This is all nice science fiction, and nothing more.

  27. Dan, you are a meanie-head party-pooper.

  28. “Besides which, we will never create a computer powerful enough to contain everything our brains contain. This is all nice science fiction, and nothing more.”

    How can you be sure? The increase in storage capacity and computing speed in my adult lifetime alone has been just staggering. At least in terms of memory, we may already be there. My iPhone would have been the stuff of science fiction in the 70s. Who knows what the next 30 years will bring?

    That D&C quote is just remarkable. It’s one of my favorite verses.

  29. Dan,

    That’s flesh and bone not flesh and metal.

    Ummm… Metal bones. Duh.

  30. Maybe it’s not so much a question as to whether God would intervene to stop it or not as to whether Satan would intervene to fake everyone into believing that the technology actually worked or not.

  31. How would I live differently if mortality was indefinate? Would I live differently if I knew I would still be around in 150 years? I would probably change my investment portfolio.

    Your response is treading dangerously near to the disappointing responses that Hugh Nibley received from students who were asked what they would do if they were guaranteed a 1,000 year lifetime “with all their wants and needs adequately funded”. (See pages 257-258 of “Appoaching Zion” for examples of typical student responses.)

  32. Since when did God stop man from doing anything he chose to do?

  33. lamonte,

    Since when did God stop man from doing anything he chose to do?

    The Tower of Babel

  34. MikeInWeHo,

    How can you be sure? The increase in storage capacity and computing speed in my adult lifetime alone has been just staggering. At least in terms of memory, we may already be there.

    Yeah, our computers today are quite fascinating and quite fast, but they are not even close to the same league as our minds. What a truly wondrous creation is the mind of a human being! No, in terms of memory, we’re not even close to creating something as quick as our minds. Think, for example, how quickly you can recall a vision of your favorite moment, full color, embellished by your imagination. You do that in microseconds! Look at the quickness of a baseball player, as another example. He learns to look at the pitcher’s hand, as quick as it is, and he knows exactly where the pitch will be if he catches it right. His decisions happen in milliseconds.

    There is much about our lives that is quite mundane and normal, and slow. However, our minds are quick, and deep. We’re not even close to designing something as fantastic and amazing as the human mind.

  35. MikeInWeHo says:

    I agree with you about the incredible complexity of the human, Dan, but also think we’re getting closer to producing a machine that will pass the Turing Test: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test

    Probably not in our lifetime, agreed, but I also remember being told that machines would never be able to recognize human language or ambulate like a biped. Have you met Asimo yet?

  36. Mike,

    I’ve heard of the Turing Test. It still doesn’t come close to the human mind, however. See, for a computer to closely mimic the human mind, it requires nearly all of its energy and memory. While the human mind, both young and old, it is effortless. We take much for granted as far as what we can do, because we have it with us all day long, every second of our lives.

    I love the reviews of the recent movie, Beowulf. The reviewer from the New York Times said it best:

    To be honest, I don’t yet see the point of performance capture, particularly given how ugly it renders realistic-looking human forms. Although the human faces and especially the eyes in “Beowulf” look somewhat less creepy than they did in “The Polar Express,” Mr. Zemeckis’s first experiment with performance capture, they still have neither the spark of true life nor that of an artist’s unfettered imagination. The face of Mr. Hopkins’s king resembles the actor’s in broad outline, in the shape and curve of his physiognomy. But it has none of the minute trembling and shuddering that define and enliven — actually animate — the discrete spaces separating the nose, eyes and mouth. You see the cladding but not the soul.

    The point being that what our minds render effortless, requires the most effort, energy, and memory for our computers to do.

  37. Dan,
    Your objections are valid in the present and near future. I think you are grossly underestimating what technology will be able to achieve in, say, 200 years.

  38. Dan,

    you can hardly use Zemeckis as any sort of evidence… unless you want to point to him as an example of bad movie making.

    Smeagol/Gollum at the end of The Two Towers had more soul than any human I’ve ever met.

    Even at his best, I don’t think John Searle has adequately shown that the human mind cannot be duplicated with advanced technology.

    The point being that what our minds render effortless, requires the most effort, energy, and memory for our computers to do.

    Or we could go on and on and on with examples of “what our computers render effortless, requires the most effort, energy, and memory for our brains to do.” I dunno about you, but I tend to turn to a calculator to do any advanced mathematics.

  39. Smeagol/Gollum at the end of The Two Towers had more soul than any human I’ve ever met.

    But that can only be true if you never met the late Reverend James Brown.

  40. Then again, I suppose even James Brown admitted to being a sex machine.

  41. Yes, of course, we’re supposed to develop the technology to make ourselves immortal, and then we will resurrect all the human family using our family history database for vital clues, somehow. Don’t you realize, silly Hobbits? This is what you’ve been trained for.