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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Immortality
Biological immortality – Wikipedia
Posted: February 20, 2023 at 1:37 pm
Biological immortality (sometimes referred to as bio-indefinite mortality) is a state in which the rate of mortality from senescence is stable or decreasing, thus decoupling it from chronological age. Various unicellular and multicellular species, including some vertebrates, achieve this state either throughout their existence or after living long enough. A biologically immortal living being can still die from means other than senescence, such as through injury, poison, disease, predation, lack of available resources, or changes to environment.
This definition of immortality has been challenged in the Handbook of the Biology of Aging, because the increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age may be negligible at extremely old ages, an idea referred to as the late-life mortality plateau. The rate of mortality may cease to increase in old age, but in most cases that rate is typically very high.
The term is also used by biologists to describe cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit on how many times they can divide.
According to the Animal Aging and Longevity Database, the list of animals with negligible aging (along with estimated longevity in the wild) includes:
In 2018, scientists working for Calico, a company owned by Alphabet, published a paper in the journal eLife which presents possible evidence that Heterocephalus glaber (Naked mole rat) do not face increased mortality risk due to aging.
Many unicellular organisms age: as time passes, they divide more slowly and ultimately die. Asymmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast also age. However, symmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast can be biologically immortal under ideal growing conditions. In these conditions, when a cell splits symmetrically to produce two daughter cells, the process of cell division can restore the cell to a youthful state. However, if the parent asymmetrically buds off a daughter only the daughter is reset to the youthful statethe parent isn't restored and will go on to age and die. In a similar manner stem cells and gametes can be regarded as "immortal".
Hydras are a genus of the Cnidaria phylum. All cnidarians can regenerate, allowing them to recover from injury and to reproduce asexually. Hydras are simple, freshwater animals possessing radial symmetry and contain post-mitotic cells (cells that will never divide again) only in the extremities. All hydra cells continually divide. It has been suggested that hydras do not undergo senescence, and, as such, are biologically immortal. In a four-year study, 3 cohorts of hydra did not show an increase in mortality with age. It is possible that these animals live much longer, considering that they reach maturity in 5 to 10 days. However, this does not explain how hydras are subsequently able to maintain telomere lengths.
Turritopsis dohrnii, or Turritopsis nutricula, is a small (5 millimeters (0.20in)) species of jellyfish that uses transdifferentiation to replenish cells after sexual reproduction. This cycle can repeat indefinitely, potentially rendering it biologically immortal. This organism originated in the Caribbean sea, but has now spread around the world. Key molecular mechanisms of its rejuvenation appear to involve DNA replication and repair, and stem cell renewal, according to a comparative genomics study.
Similar cases include hydrozoan Laodicea undulata and scyphozoan Aurelia sp.1.
Research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken, or lose fertility with age, and that older lobsters may be more fertile than younger lobsters. This does not however make them immortal in the traditional sense, as they are significantly more likely to die at a shell moult the older they get (as detailed below).
Their longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs long repetitive sections of DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes, referred to as telomeres. Telomerase is expressed by most vertebrates during embryonic stages but is generally absent from adult stages of life. However, unlike vertebrates, lobsters express telomerase as adults through most tissue, which has been suggested to be related to their longevity. Contrary to popular belief, lobsters are not immortal. Lobsters grow by moulting which requires considerable energy, and the larger the shell the more energy is required. Eventually, the lobster will die from exhaustion during a moult. Older lobsters are also known to stop moulting, which means that the shell will eventually become damaged, infected, or fall apart and they die. The European lobster has an average life span of 31 years for males and 54 years for females.
Planarian flatworms have both sexually and asexually reproducing types. Studies on genus Schmidtea mediterranea suggest these planarians appear to regenerate (i.e. heal) indefinitely, and asexual individuals have an "apparently limitless [telomere] regenerative capacity fueled by a population of highly proliferative adult stem cells". "Both asexual and sexual animals display age-related decline in telomere length; however, asexual animals are able to maintain telomere lengths somatically (i.e. during reproduction by fission or when regeneration is induced by amputation), whereas sexual animals restore telomeres by extension during sexual reproduction or during embryogenesis like other sexual species. Homeostatic telomerase activity observed in both asexual and sexual animals is not sufficient to maintain telomere length, whereas the increased activity in regenerating asexuals is sufficient to renew telomere length... "
For sexually reproducing planaria: "the lifespan of individual planarian can be as long as 3 years, likely due to the ability of neoblasts to constantly replace aging cells". Whereas for asexually reproducing planaria: "individual animals in clonal lines of some planarian species replicating by fission have been maintained for over 15 years".
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Immortality Director Considering Using Graphics, Rather Than Actors and Sets, for His Next … – Latest – LatestLY
Posted: January 19, 2023 at 6:09 pm
Immortality Director Considering Using Graphics, Rather Than Actors and Sets, for His Next ... - Latest LatestLY
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Immortality (video game) – Wikipedia
Posted: December 21, 2022 at 3:35 am
2022 video game
Immortality is an interactive film video game developed by Sam Barlow and published by Half Mermaid Productions. It was released for Windows and Xbox Series X/S in August 2022. Android and iOS versions through Netflix app were released in November 2022. A macOS version is also in the works.
The game is based on the fictional model turned actress Marissa Marcel (Manon Gage) who had starred in three movies from 1968, 1970, and 1999 but which were never released. Marcel has since gone missing, creating a mystery for the player to solve. In the same manner as Barlow's prior works Her Story and Telling Lies, Immortality incorporates the use of full-motion video for the player to piece together Marcel's fate. The player begins with one clip from one of the three films, and the player can pause and click on a person or item of interest. The game will then show all other clips from the three films, as well as behind-the-scenes production footage and television and interview clips, which the player can review and seek out further persons or items.
Much of the plot is shown through secret footage the player reveals by manipulating the footage from the films, TV interviews, etc.; because of this, the plot progresses in a non-chronological, broken narrative format. This synopsis follows chronological order.
Two immortal beings, credited as "The One" and "The Other One," predate humanity and are able to live indefinitely by taking on the forms of humans and living their lives. This ostensibly ends the human's life, though elements of their personalities and memories mingle with the beings' own personalities and memories. Their kind's numbers have dwindled since human civilization began. They can regenerate from being killed, though some methods, especially burning, are implied to be permanent, although the ending throws even this into question.
The One and The Other One seem to be a pair, though their relationship is never explicitly defined. The One is fascinated with humanity, particularly their proclivities for sex, violence, and art. The Other One is ambivalent toward Humanity, seeing them as inferior copies of the immortal beings, and believes that the immortals and humans should exist separate from each other. However, they indulge The One in their exploration of humanity.
The One becomes Marissa Marcel, a French girl who is implied to have been mortally wounded by German soldiers in World War II and absorbed by The One as a mercy. In 1968 she auditions and is awarded a role in Ambrosio, a film based on the gothic novel The Monk by Matthew Lewis. During filming she becomes romantically involved with director of photography John Durick. The film's director, Arthur Fischer, steals the negatives, which prevents the film from ever being released.
Two years later, John directs Minsky, a detective story set in New York City's avant-garde art world. He casts Marissa as a lead; she also has significant creative input in the rest of the film. The Other One, taking the form of a man named Carl Goodman, also joins the cast as the film's other lead. Marissa and John's relationship deteriorates, possibly because Carl also begins a romantic relationship with John. While filming a scene, Marissa shoots and kills Carl with a prop gun at point blank range. To the rest of the cast and crew, this appears to be a tragic accident; the truth is that The One intentionally killed The Other One. Carl's death causes filming to halt, and the film is never released. Marissa reveals to John her and Carl's true natures as immortals, and tells him that she killed Carl. John is horrified by this, which disappoints The One. She murders John and takes on his form, shedding Marissa's form. The general public assumes Marissa became a recluse.
Nearly 30 years later, Fischer gives the negatives from Ambrosio to John in an attempt to free himself from deathbed regrets. The nostalgia causes The One to remember Marissa fondly and take on her form simultaneously with John's form, essentially existing in two bodies at once. Meanwhile, the actress Amy Archer watches footage of Carl's death, which allows The Other One to take her form. John, Marissa, and Amy begin work on a new film, Two of Everything, a drama film about a pop star named Maria who allows her coincidentally-identical body double Heather to pretend to be Maria so that she can live a pop star lifestyle and Maria can have a break from it. John directs, Marissa plays both Maria and Heather (paralleling The One's attempt to exist as two people), and Amy plays a villain character who murders Heather, thinking she is Maria. During filming, both John and Marissa behave strangely: Marissa is sometimes unresponsive and suffers nosebleeds, and both she and John occasionally collapse in exhaustion. John is also frequently absent during filming, implying that he vanishes when The One cannot maintain both forms. In several pieces of footage Amy pleads with Marissa to take breaks, but Marissa rebuffs her concerns. During one take, Marissa spontaneously bleeds from her head. The Other One tells her that their kind cannot sustain existing in two forms at once. Before Marissa becomes completely unresponsive, she asks Amy/The Other One to help her die onscreen as The Other One did, and therefore become truly immortalized in film. Amy films herself burning an inert Marissa's body. Two of Everything never finishes filming.
After the player watches Marissa burn, the grid containing all the clips they've collected during the game slowly disappear, revealing the face of The One. They tell the player they are "part of you, now," implying the player is their new host.
Barlow had announced Immortality as "Project Ambrosio" in 2020 and had blogged about its development over the year. His writing suggested that the game may have more of a horror-themed nature than his previous games, along with several passages marked as if classified or redacted information. Barlow brought on three additional screenwriters for the game: Allan Scott, Amelia Gray, and Barry Gifford. The game was formally announced during the E3 2021 event in June that year for Microsoft Windows, iOS, and Android. In March 2022, Half Mermaid Productions announced that a version for Xbox Series X/S would also be available at launch. During PC Gaming Show 2022, it was announced that the game would release on 26 July 2022, but was later delayed to 30 August 2022. In August 2022, it was announced that the mobile ports would be published by Netflix.
Immortality premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in June 2022. It was subsequently released on August 30, 2022 on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox Game Pass, and Windows via Steam and GOG. It released on Netflix via Google Play and IOS in November 2022.
Immortality received "generally favorable" reviews according to review aggregator Metacritic.
In an early review due to its print format, Edge awarded Immortality a perfect 10/10 score, the 24th game in its history to do so.
In addition, Immortality has been praised for its acting performances, notably that of Manon Gage, who has received critical acclaim for her performance as Marissa Marcel. Edge called her performance "outstanding." Vulture's Lewis Gordon called it "a knockout performance." PJ O'Reilly of Pure Xbox said Gage "provides a core performance that marks her out as an absolute superstar in the making." Vice's Cameron Kunzelman noted: "...watching Gage play Marcel playing these characters is like watching someone juggle while riding a unicycle in the middle of the Indy 500, and she does it perfectly and without breaking a sweat. Its really something."
Charlotta Mohlin has also been praised for her performance, with Edge calling her "remarkable", and Tristan Ogilvie of IGN calling her "spellbinding." Well Played AU's James Wood said "[Mohlin's] work is something I will be thinking about for years to come." Nate Hermanson of Video Games Are Good noted Mohlin "[makes] us cry, laugh, shudder, and blush in almost every scene she [is] in."
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Lionel Messi attains footballing immortality and receives royal coronation on the grandest stage of them all – VAVEL.com
Posted: at 3:35 am
Lionel Messi attains footballing immortality and receives royal coronation on the grandest stage of them all VAVEL.com
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Immortality for PC Reviews – Metacritic
Posted: December 18, 2022 at 2:51 pm
WARNING: THIS IS NOT A VIDEOGAME NOR A INTERACTIVE COMMERCIAL MOVIE.Can't even say if this is a movie. Well maybe technically? I don't know.WARNING: THIS IS NOT A VIDEOGAME NOR A INTERACTIVE COMMERCIAL MOVIE.Can't even say if this is a movie. Well maybe technically? I don't know. Once defined this , I could say if you expect something related to obamaflix blackhomo crap streaming something its not the case either.This is more a concept ,artcinema, performance, theater, related. Is like a bunch of very short films just related to the main actress somehow that varies from boring to odd to eerie ,with a lot of symbolism. The interaction with this short firms is quite odd too and lead to anothers and cannot be accessed in a main menu or something. But this is a part of the whole experience.This is not for everybody besides art lovers , actor and director students and related.I cannot rate this production as Im not an expert in the area so I just throw a 7 just giving the benefit of their work. Expand
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Netflix Subscribers Can Download Immortality Game for iOS Devices
Posted: at 2:51 pm
Netflix began offering video games to its subscribers last year, but this added benefit hasn't caught on. The streaming service has a new game available, and it happens to be one of the best games of 2022.
Immortality is an interactive film video game from game designer Sam Barlow that Netflix subscribers can download onto their iPhones and iOS devices. The game has been available for PC, Xbox and Playstation platforms since August, and it's received nominations for best game direction andbest narrative for the upcoming Game Awards.
To access the game, Netflix subscribers need to launch the streaming app on their iOS devices. Tapping on the game will open the App Store, where the title can then be downloaded to your device. Opening Immortality will require a Netflix log-in and will take more than 12GB of storage.
Immortality takes a unique approach to interactive film. Players control a video editing device, where they can view footage from three movies featuring fictional actress Marissa Marcel. It's up to the player to solve the mystery after reviewing various clips, which link to other clips.
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Immortality review | PC Gamer
Posted: November 23, 2022 at 4:20 am
Need to know
What is it? An immersive interactive movie where you are the editor and the film might be haunted.
Expect to pay: $20 (Also on PC Game Pass)
Developer: Sam Barlow, Half Mermaid
Publisher: Half Mermaid
Reviewed on: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, Radeon Vega Mobile Gfx 2.10 GHz, 12 GB RAM
Link: Steam (opens in new tab)
Where does art come from? What makes creating a film different from writing a letter or inventing the toaster? Does it come from within us, or is it, sort of, all around us, y'know? This is the realm of cultural philosophy that Immortality (rather more eloquently) delves into as you unravel its FMV-led mysteries.
Immortality is presented less as a game and more as a collectors edition Blu-Ray box set of forgotten (and fictional) French model and actor Marissa Marcel's filmography. Players begin with a question posed in the "Short History of Marissa Marcel," helpfully written by Immortality director Sam Barlow: What happened to the actor? Why has she been absent for 20 years? Why were none of her movies released? Where is she now?
Luckily, the answers may lie in the "large cache of film" Barlow and his crew serendipitously found back in 2020. "After carefully collating and scanning the footage," Barlow writes, "we have created this piece of computer software in an attempt to preserve this work and share it so that Marissa may live again in the hearts of audiences."
"The image is never a simple reality," wrote philosopher Jacques Rancire. Likewise, the images in Immortality are rarely ever just what they seem. They hide things, distort their meanings, and play with the players expectations.
Part of how Immortality hides things is through restraint. Unlike previous Barlow-helmed games, players do not have immediate or comprehensive access to the entirety of the available footage. Instead, they start with a single interview from a 60s-era late night talk show, and are expected to organically branch out from there. This is where the game's first major mechanic comes in: the match cut.
Match cuts are a commonly-used editing technique to build visual clarity for moviegoers. In Immortality, the technique is used to find similarly-composed images across different movies and other media. By pausing the scene, players can examine small aspects of it and, like a point-and-click adventure game, click on whatever they are interested in. This will teleport them to another scene with the same actor or a similar object in it. As players teleport around, they add the scenes they find to their library, and gradually, the true (or 'true') story emerges. The match cut here acts like its cinematographic counterpart by creating narrative, instead of visual, continuity for the player.
The game itself is structured like a Moviola editing machine, and combined with the match cut mechanic, the player is able to put together their own "supercut" based almost entirely on vibes. While I imagine most players will use it for its specified purpose, theres a lot of room for goofing off here. Want a montage of bowls of fruit? Go for it, why not. Some wall art catch your eye? Here's some more. It's very satisfying to go down these rabbit holes on your way to solving the mystery at the heart of the game, and the sense that you are actively participating in this created world is bolstered by the presence of excellent background music by Nainita Desai that intensifies as you jump from scene to scene.
As a note, while there are full mouse and keyboard controls built in, the devs do recommend use of a controller, which we discovered added haptic feedback when we used one in our playthrough. Additionally, players will want to scrub back and forth through scenes, as hints and insights can sometimes be found running the footage backwards.
With his previous games, Barlow has worked with established actors to create moments of intense drama and intrigue across hours of footage. What sets Immortality apart is that the fictional trilogy of movies at its core (Ambrosio, Minsky and Two of Everything, all shot over a span of 30 years in the story) are essentially real movies, around an hour each, with different writers, actors and production crews for each of them, all shot in the style of the time period they're purported to be from.
But these movies are not the sole space players get to move around in. A lot of the behind-the-scenes footage features Marissa, director John Durick (played by Hans Christopher) and an assortment of other actors and crew running through rehearsals, scouting locations, hanging out with famous time-period figures like Andy Warhol, and spending intimate time together. In these moments we see tension, we see catharsis, we see regular people trying to make art while ignoring what that attempt at creation is doing to them.
Image 1 of 8
And we see the ugly side of the film industry, as well. If this game is a critique of anything, it is a critique of auteur theory, of the way the industry chews up and spits out talented people, and above all, it is a slam against the industry's rampant and violent misogyny, past and present. While discussing this further would constitute a spoiler, do be aware that there is a list of content warnings in the menu, and it includes sexual assault and abusive relationships among them.
Immortality is a remarkable game. It picks freely from several eras of cinema to deliver a genuine exploration of what it means, and what it costs, to make great, meaningful art. The game's actors are giving the performances of their lives, both as the 'real people' they're playing and in their various in-game movie roles. The aesthetics of each movie are so true-to-life that its easy to suspend disbelief and accept the fiction that these are movies from 1968, 1970, and 1999. While initially daunted by Immortality's sweeping, sometimes-cosmic scope, I found that instead of being inscrutable it was eager to show new facets of the mystery. It wanted to be played.
Immortality may draw comparisons to films by Alfred Hitchcock or David Lynch, or even past Barlow-penned titles like Telling Lies and Her Story. That is maybe unavoidable. But as a game, it goes much further beyond anything it might be compared to. Immortality is Sam Barlow's best, most thought-provoking game so far, and a barnstorming debut for Half Mermaid.
Immortality: Price Comparison
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‘Immortality,’ the latest game from ‘Her Story’ creator Sam Barlow …
Posted: at 4:20 am
Following an Xbox Series X/S and PC release this past summer, Immortality, the latest project from Her Story creator Sam Barlow, is now available on Android and iOS via Netflix. Provided you subscribe to the streaming service, you can download the game at no additional charge and experience one of the most highly acclaimed titles of 2022.
Like Barlows past projects, Immortality is a love letter to the full-motion video games of the 90s. The game tasks you with finding out the fate of fictional actress Marissa Marcel. Youll need to piece together what happened to her by watching clips from three unreleased films and behind-the-scenes footage. Barlow recruited Allan Scott and Amelia Gray, best known for their work on Queens Gambit and Mr. Robot, to help write the story of Immortality. So if youre a sucker for a good story, this one is worth checking out.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.
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Nike Giannis Immortality 2 "Floral" FD0213-400 | SneakerNews.com
Posted: at 4:20 am
After the Nike Zoom GT Cut 2 and Cosmic Unity 2 both indulged in an aesthetic fit with the clean-cut stones and gems, the Giannis Immortality 2 is establishing its own unique print graphic, imploring a multi-color floral illustration throughout its latest on-court proposition.
Dominated by a deep cyan hue that treats the entirety of the forefoots mesh construction and synthetic heel counter fit with raised perforated padding, the molded sole unit underfoot, embroidered eye stays and heel tab all render the presiding shade. Further accented by Sky Blue hits bearing the mudguard and lace overlays whereas bubblegum pinks emanate from the sock liner, medial side insignia and along the stitching of both the pull tab and midfoot. In stark contrast from the treads cream and grey build, the midfoots reverse Swoosh and upper tongue flaunt the boisterous splatter-paint graphic filled with floral hues before the established dark cyan returns to outfit the threaded 34 and Giannis emblem.
For a closer look at the Giannis Immortality 2 Floral, enjoy official images of the pair below while we await further release details as theyre made available by the Beaverton-based brand.
In other news from The Swooshes wheelhouse, the latest Zoom GT Cut 2 comes fit with aiming crosshairs.
Where to Buy
Make sure to follow @kicksfinder for live tweets during the release date.
Mens: N/AStyle Code: FD0213-400
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Guerrero: I once fell for the fantasy of uploading ourselves. It’s a dangerous myth – Los Angeles Times
Posted: October 13, 2022 at 12:46 pm
The fantasy began to consume me at the turn of the millennium.
Id always felt like a half-being, a cyborg of incompatible substances: gringa daughter of a Puerto Rican MD and a long-unemployed Mexican man with addiction issues. Native or alien. Nerd or rebel. I was white and not white but thought I had to choose.
No wonder, then, that the greatest ambition of my youth was to achieve digital immortality, or uploading my mind to the metaverse. Goodbye, flawed body. Hello, god-self.
Jean Guerrero is the author, most recently, of Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda.
A playful interaction with my father in the 1990s had primed me. He was showing me the Macintosh Plus, our first computer: a beige box with a rainbow apple logo. Papi guided my hands over the keyboard, causing me to poke one letter of my name at a time until there I was in the box: j-e-a-n. He clicked file, save, X, and my name disappeared. It frightened me. Papi turned off the computer, ignoring my protests. Watch, he said. He powered it back on and clicked through folders. Suddenly, there I was again, resurrected: j-e-a-n.
Inside the apple box, I could live forever.
The fantasys premise, which Id contemplate in later years, was that I was reducible to code: 0s and 1s. This view of life and data as interchangeable spread long before social media.
At USC in 1988, two philosophy students launched the journal Extropy. The opposite concept, entropy, is a law of physics: The universe tends toward chaos. Extropians saw this disorder as the supreme enemy. Their journal, whose contributors were overwhelmingly white and male, nurtured a cult of technology-worshiping immortality seekers.
They were early transhumanists, the pseudo-intellectual offspring of eugenicists, with their hubristic quest to breed a master race and all of its consequent horrors: from the Holocaust to the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people, mostly women of color and others labeled defective. Eugenicists thought there was such a thing as a perfect body; transhumanists went a step further to say perfection lay in select minds, which could transcend bodies altogether.
Transhumanists preach that a command of technology can liberate humans from the limits of mortal flesh. Human destiny is to leave our puny Earth and colonize the stars. Extropians argued that this agenda required rejecting morality, which could interfere with the rapid expansion of technologies that might, oops, destroy the Earth. (No biggie when the goal is infinity!)
In the early 90s, Wired magazine glamorized the Extropian cultists as hard-partying, psychonautic intellectuals. Slowly, transhumanism grew into a global movement now trending with some of the worlds most powerful people, including the richest, Elon Musk. Its twin cult is longtermism, which says we should prioritize positively impacting humanity in the faraway future: not just in the next few generations, but thousands or millions of generations from today. That philosophy also has Musks support and that of others such as Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, a top Biden donor.
Ultimately, this isnt about biological humans. The father of longtermism, Nick Bostrom, a transhumanist and Oxford philosophy professor, has been trying to push into the mainstream the idea that the futures hypothetical digital people matter more than the billions of humans alive today because there will be at least 1058 of them. Thats a 1 followed by 58 zeroes the number of human simulations he calculates we could run using the stars computing power.
The New York Times, the New Yorker and other media have given longtermism fawning coverage this year with little or no mention of its deranged core. The global fad and media frenzy are almost understandable at this moment in history. It truly is hard to watch: climate change, war, migration crises, economic instability, political regression into nativism, fascism and dictatorships. Its not science fiction but current events that inspire the quest for an escape path from planet Earth.
Longtermism is often framed as a way to protect Earth. But its architects care less about ecosystems than about making sure nothing stops humanity from reaching what Bostrom calls technological maturity. Thats a nice way of characterizing that moment when people turn into bits.
Last year, mile P. Torres, a philosopher who studies existential threats and has extensively investigated longtermism, warned that the traction longtermism is gaining makes it the most dangerous secular belief system in the world today.
Leading longtermists have arrived at abhorrent conclusions, such as that philanthropy should focus on saving and improving wealthy peoples lives more than poor peoples because thats a more direct way to ensure the innovation needed to launch us into space.
Douglas Rushkoff, author of Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, argues that the only way to reduce carbon emissions and salvage the Earth is to reduce consumption. Longtermism is a way for [tech giants] to justify not looking back at the devastation theyre leaving in their wake, he told me. Its a way for them to say it doesnt matter all the damage Im doing now because its for a future where humans will be in the galaxies.
Whether its Musks plan to colonize Mars or Mark Zuckerbergs promise of a Metaverse, these billionaires visions of escape via more industrial tools, more mass-produced technologies, can be seductive. At least Icarus hubris cost only his own life.
As a preteen, Id never heard of the transhumanists, the longtermists or the Extropians. But their early members were pumping propaganda into the culture, including the possibility of escaping our human forms, which they depicted as weak, vulnerable, stupid. This perspective infected me at a time when I was frightened of my body of its origins and its uncertain future.
The chaos and doom that Extropians and their heirs saw in the Earth and its mortal vessels, I sensed in myself. Years later, when I heard Musk talking on a podcast about human bodies as hideous sacks of meat that we must ditch for robot encasements, I remembered my teen self and the pain I harbored. The tech supremacists promised a clean escape. I wanted one.
I thought I couldnt possibly matter as much as what those men might make out of me.
In the early 2000s, I spent hundreds of hours trying to upload my mind to the web. Id sit at our computer in the evenings by this time a stylish blue iMac G3 and type every detail I could recall of the past 24 hours into a blog. I believed if I captured enough of my thoughts and experiences online, eventually some kindly engineer, long after my death, might revive me in the form of an algorithm. Id be immortal.
It was a teen girls techno-futurist fantasy, a twist on the Snow White fairy tale. I imagined nature as the poisoned fruit; the engineer was my savior. But the real poison was the fantasy.
For years, I was reckless with my body. I swallowed dangerous pills and pursued relationships with violent men. There were highs in all of that. Like the transhumanists, I came to believe that humans contain value only insofar as they experience pleasure, high intellect and other properties as defined by thinkers almost exclusively white and male.
For a time, I suspected Id inherited something from my father, who abandoned us amid a deluge of his own abnormal thoughts that my mother called schizophrenia. In studying neuroscience at USC, I caught a glimpse of myself in The Divided Self, a psychiatry classic. In it, R.D. Laing argues that the root of mental illness lies in mind-body dualism, which splits self from others. [The] body is felt as the core of a false self, which a detached, disembodied, inner, true self looks on at a divorce of self from body deprives the unembodied self from direct participation in any aspect of the life of the world.
I was watching myself as I maneuvered my body toward risks. I wasnt her. I was the mind.
Or so I thought. That escape from the self and the present is the false promise of longtermism. It was never true.
My journey to regain my sense of my body was long and circuitous. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in my 20s after a near-death experience in a drug cartel zone that I was touring for adrenaline. I developed an autoimmune condition in my 30s. My body, by revolting against my abuse, guided me back to it.
Other people, by caring about me in the depths of my self-destruction, taught me empathy for my embodied self: yes, I am a mind, but I am also belly, blood, wrinkled palms. Im as much a writer as I am the woman who dances on longboards. Im the books Ive written and Im my heritage of bad hombres. Native and alien. Nerd and rebel.
Human beings can maintain ambiguity over time, Rushkoff told me. They can hold onto contradiction. Machines cant do that. Machines resolve. Its this versus that. Whatever is uniquely human is in that in-between space they cant record.
The spark of human consciousness cant be uploaded in 0s and 1s. It can, however, be studied.
The Brain and Creativity Institute at USC is using brain scans and other tools to demonstrate that feelings sprout from the soil of our bodies and are central to consciousness.
Its really extraordinary that something that for so long was considered sort of peripheral to our lives feeling is in fact the very beginning, the foundation, the inaugural event of what becomes consciousness, said Antonio Damasio, an international leader in neuroscience who runs the institute with his wife, Hanna Damasio, an expert in brain imaging.
In his acclaimed book Descartes Error, he challenges French philosopher Ren Descartes famous saying, I think, therefore I am. Its more like I feel, therefore I am.
Our minds can conceptualize a self only because theyre receiving input from the rest of the body, through hormones, heartbeats, gurgling guts.
Thats why transhumanisms ideal of freeing the self from the body will never be achievable, and why longtermisms story of uploading future generations will remain just science fiction. Our minds are inseparable from the meat of us, with its unsolvable mysteries.
I sympathize with the desire to think otherwise. That siren song of immortality once lulled me into reckless risks, and I was lucky to survive. Now its spreading on a larger scale.
Mars and Metaverse are not the future. We must save the one planet that we have. Its the source of our miraculous bodies, which are far greater than any machine.
Guerrero: I once fell for the fantasy of uploading ourselves. It's a dangerous myth - Los Angeles Times
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