Uploading Life: Send Your Personality to Space

June 28, 2001 | Source: Space.com

The gradual merging of human beings with their computers over the next century gives rise to the prospect of interstellar immortality, said William Sims Bainbridge at a recent George Washington University Space Policy Institute symposium.

Cognitive neural science, genetic engineering, nanotechnology and information systems may allow the founding of a cosmic civilization, a possibility that does not require flying living human bodies and all the necessities of life to other planets.

The technology already exists to start archiving personalities, albeit at low fidelity. We can begin now to make digital, audio/visual copies of a person’s perceptions, speech and behavior. In years to come, the ability to reanimate human personalities at ever-higher fidelity is a sure bet, Bainbridge said.

That archive is what Bainbridge, author of the seminal work in the mid-1970s, The Spaceflight Revolution, calls Starbase. “Only a goal as valuable as eternal life can motivate investment in substantial scientific infrastructure on the Moon or Mars,” Bainbridge said.

Starbase modules, filled with archived but active personalities of crew and colonists, could also make the first interstellar excursions. On their arrival, the crews need not waste time setting up terraforming operations. Rather, the colonists would adapt and thrive in whatever environment they are dealt. Follow-on waves of colonists can be dispatched as “radioed datafiles” across interstellar space, Bainbridge said.

In future centuries, Starbase archives sent throughout the galaxy can be resurrected into robots, clones or cyborgs, Bainbridge said.

By offering the stars to people living today, the second wave of the spaceflight movement would be spurred into being, Bainbridge said. The future demands a powerful, motivational force to create interplanetary and interstellar civilizations, he said, and a new spaceflight social movement can get us moving again.