Grappling with human immortality

Roger-Box-photo-300x0-1Roger Box finds himself wrestling with existential questions after learning about mind clones.One of the reasons to come to SXSW is to get exposure to new ideas, and you hear the phrase “mind blown” a lot around here.

The session that did that for me was from Martine Rothblatt who gave a keynote talking about mind clones – the idea that humans can transcend software and potentially live forever.

She is a lawyer, MBA, founder of Sirius radio and United Therapeutics making her the highest-paid female CEO in American. She is also a transgender activist, who came out as transgender herself in 1994 while remaining married to her wife of 35 years and father/mother to their four children. A truly remarkable woman.

Communicating an infinitely complex futurist’s thoughts is a challenge, but here goes.

Historically we have only been able to be in one place at one time, limited by our body.

Today we can be in multiple paradigms or places. We have our physical presence as we had in the past. But, we can also be ported across the globe to a screen or speaker through data and wires/optics and satellites if using Skype for instance or even a hologram form created.

And we also exist through algorithms and platforms where people can converse and engage with us such as on social media.

Rosenblatt speaking at SXSW

Rosenblatt speaking at SXSW

The missing link is for that to be combined with free thought and a physical mobile form (robot) that can spin-off in its own unique direction based on future experiences.

Rothblatt believes the next step will be clones of ourselves that can think independently and co-exist with us. They will be able to argue with us, just as we argue with ourselves in thought (should I really eat another burger today…). And live indefinitely.

It all sounds very much like science fiction, but when you hear award winning journalist Lisa Miller recount her meeting of a prototype Rothblatt built modelled on her wife, I found myself thinking what we might see “in her lifetime” as she puts it.

Here’s more on her story and background.

Now back to what this means for business and marketing.

Imagine having to communicate with the same person who takes opposing stances even on views like who they’d vote for. Fortunately I suspect we’ll have a few years at least to compute that.

Or if all else fails hopefully our clones can.

  • Roger Box is digital director at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne

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