What’s more, critics might point to other weaknesses in the formulation of this problem. For example, the proof that conscious experience is non-computable depends critically on the assumption that our memories are non-lossy.
For example, Maguire and co could use their model to make predictions about the limits in the way information can leak from a conscious system. These limits might be testable in experiments focusing on the nature of working memory or long-term memory in humans.
To better understand this, they give as an analogy the sequence of numbers: 4, 6, 8, 12, 14, 18, 20, 24…. This is an infinite series defined as: odd primes plus 1. This definition does not contain all the infinite numbers but it does allow it be reproduced. It is clearly a compression of the information in the original series.
The human condition is based on the fact that our time on earth is limited. But perhaps not for much longer: new advances in science and technology aim to create biological and virtual immortality. Research companies such as SENS, Forever Healthy, BioViva but also HelixNano and Google are trying to find ways to undo the ageing process. They treat aging no longer as a characteristic of the human experience, but as a curable disease that can be countered via damage repair processes. At the same time, tech companies are also able to digitally replicate personalities through mass data capture. This type of ‘brain dump’ will enable the creation of a simulated mind that continues to behave and communicate one behalf of it owner after biological death. Some futurists fantasize about mind uploading whereby the self is transferred to a computer.
Whether or not we will actually be able to create eternal life on earth will remain to be seen, but its prospect poses a plethora of new questions. This conference focuses on the relationship between immortality and human memory, and explores the implications for conceptualisation of memory when humans no longer have a definite expiry date.