Ways to Live Forever

If you agree with me, that the goal of life is to live forever, then the next step down the path toward that goal is to figure out how to do it.

When thinking about living forever, the immediate ordinary route the brain goes into, is figuring out how to make our physical bodies continue indefinitely.  However, if we really want to achieve this goal in our lifetimes, we need to think creatively and make the end goal less strict.

My conclusion is that there are 3 ways to "live forever".  First, we can metaphorically live forever by impacting the world and being remembered throughout history.  Second, we could digitally replicate or transfer our consciousness to a 3rd party service to mimic our brain functions.  Finally, the third way to live forever is to actually biologically keep our bodies alive.  All 3 options are giant quests with very low probability of success.


Of the 3 ways to live forever, the goal perpetuating your memory in society in the future may be the easiest.  We have real examples of people that have achieved this.  Through religion with Jesus or Buddha, through kings and conquerors like Alexander the Great or King Tut, through great inventors and businessmen like Lorenzo de' Medici and John D. Rockefeller the list goes on an on.  All of these people have achieved a place in society's memory and will never be forgotten.

To get on the same page as these folks in history, you must do something great.  You can build the largest company in the world, you can invent something that changes everyone's lives, or you can move society forward enough to be pointed at as the main reason why something happened.  An example of this today might be Elon Musk.  If he achieves his goal of getting humans living on Mars, surely he will never be forgotten as the human species expands our reach to the stars.


The second approach to living forever is to utilize technology to replicate or transfer our consciousness to the cloud.  While this is still science fiction today, it could very well become available in the near future.  This will unlock the ability for someone to Digitally Live Forever.

The most probable area where this will start is by mimicking people that have passed away (See Ray  Kurzweil's description of doing this for his father).  We can already create 3D models and voice deep fakes to have a reenactment of someone.  Adding a machine learning library to have it automatically react to voice, text, or video inputs and determining how the person would react is the next step.  Recording yourself, writing your thoughts, and saving interactions to produce a lot of data for training models may be one way to start preparing for this.  For example, having a podcast would be a great source of data as we've already seen people creating deep fakes of Joe Rogan since there is so much content out there with his voice.

Beyond just creating reenactments and mimics, the next step will be to actually allow uploading a consciousness to a digital system.  The biggest problem is that we do not even understand how the brain and consciousness work yet, so scanning and replicating the brain structure powered by silicon is a ways off.  

When you go to sleep at night and you wake up the next day, is this really you? The idea of uploading your brain brings up some interesting questions around actual consciousness and what it is.  If you upload your brain to a computer, is that actually you?  Could there be 2 of you?  How will it feel to be trapped in a computer rather than your original physical body.  Does a trapped consciousness fee real pain?

When thinking about this option, since it is further out, the best option is probably to be a supporter of the technology sector in general.  For example, when brain-computer interfaces come out, you can be an early adopter and buy the products when they are expensive to push the industry forward.  Decentralized long term data storage also may be something to promote and support.  If you want the content you created about yourself to be around in 10,000 years so it can be used to replicate you, how would you do this?


The third option is biologically living forever in your current body.  This is probably the furthest from reality and is the hardest of the three options to achieve.  With the current understanding of science and biology this requires some great breakthroughs in medicine.  The current rules from the FDA may be holding this back as well, since it requires very long lead times and testing processes before we will know what impacts we can achieve.

For this option, we must try to live as long as possible to increase our chances of being alive if these breakthroughs ever come.  We must limit our chances of the deadly diseases of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.  Eating healthy, exercising, using saunas, evaluating our DNA, blood testing, supplements, and body trackers are all things available today to try and increase the odds of living healthy for longer.

Another option can be freezing our brains or bodies after death through cryogenics, with the hope that some future technology may be able to bring us back to life hundreds of years from now.  A potential approach may be to simply scan the existing frozen brain and bring us back digitally as well.

The DNA in our bodies has learned to live forever through procreation and reproduction as described in The Selfish Gene, which is an interesting thought that seems to determine that we are just used vessels for some other purpose and aren't really needed once we produce offspring.  It is somewhat of a paradox though, since if we could live forever and continue producing offspring, wouldn't our DNA have a higher chance of survival?  Perhaps evolution dictates this is not an ideal approach and perhaps we wouldn't have the innate drive for reproduction if we could live forever ourselves.

Wrapping Up

All in all, the goal to live forever can be debated as good or evil, but the selfish part of our ego wants to fight for life and exist.  While it may be possible in the future, today we can only try to change the world, produce content to be remembered by, and fight the disease of aging in our fragile bodies.