6
$\begingroup$

Ok, so Sergey Brin decides to become immortal. He allocates a trivial share of Google's bazzilion dollar profit to research, hires the best minds, and starts eating more healthily, doing more exercise, and cutting down on the cocaine and ecstasy.

Let's say that given enough time, computing clusters, scores of hapless test subjects, and truckloads of hundred dollar bills to burn, these geniuses find a way to stop aging, and also cure various irritating infirmities of the body, such as cancer, heart disease and all transmissible diseases.

Brin is now free of aging and disease. His next concern is that he'll go crazy due to human minds not being design to work for that long. Out goes another bazzilion dollars, and boom, thanks to some advanced neuro-prosthetics, our lovable gazzilionaire now has a billion-year memory capacity.

All of this is still firmly within the realm of real-world physics. Now, we run into a problem. Brin now asks to be made immune to all normal weapons, as well as fire, suffocation, starvation, crushing, piercing, slashing, acid, cold or electricity. Ideally, he'd love to be able to survive anything short of a thermonuclear detonation a few meters away.

How much of this is in any sense achievable without technically breaking physical law? You can assume tremendous and compact power sources and any sort of nanotech you need. So a nanomesh that fixes wounds and restores body shape from a stored backup would be ok, but anything outright magical is out.


While so called mind transfer into a new body is all very interesting, and will obviously be Brin's plan B, he's strangely unwilling to have his primary body die in horrible agony, only for some body double with his memories to inherit all this wealth and power. He's more interested in direct technological ways to gain (near)immunity to being killed in the ways listed above.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There's a silly simpsons episode where Homer dies off and Professor Frink brings him back by downloading his mind into a copy of Homers body (that immediately dies again). I would think having a bunch of Brin copies and backups of himself to transfer over in the case of a fatal accident is more feasible with todays technology....we are lacking nanobots $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Dec 18 '14 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ Mind-copying your way to immortality is also covered hilariously and extensively in Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom." $\endgroup$ – Shollus Dec 18 '14 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ The discussion of whether or not that 'copy' is the same conscious as the original Brin is an odd topic...kinda like the star trek transportation 'destroyed and recreated', is that the same you, or a different conscious that just thinks it's you? $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Dec 18 '14 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ While that's all very interesting, and will obviously be Brin's plan B, I'm more interested in direct technological ways to gain (near)immunity to being killed in the ways listed above. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Dec 18 '14 at 19:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SerbanTanasa No way! He could find some investors and start all over again with Cthulhoogle. Even more evil.. $\endgroup$ – mcbecker Dec 18 '14 at 19:31
4
$\begingroup$

I would say the best way is to get a body-double and apply filtering to transfer only the input you want and discarding the rest.

That is to say; you lock the original, real body in a safe container and then make a machinal duplicate. Any desired feelings are copied one to one to the real body, which will experience the world exactly like the real world. However, any negative input (bullets, fire, etc) would not be copied over and thus not experienced by the original body.

This preserves the original body for all time; gives the original body immunity to just about anything (as its stored in a container that nobody can access), the duplicate body is just an input/output sensor with no "self", and even allows some other things like rapid travel (if you have multiple devices), although no more than one could be active without funky side effects (because you'd be simultaneously experiencing both)

While it circumvents the strange concept of "reuploading", it does not however allow the original body to wander freely. Doing so would simply be too dangerous. Anything exposed to the world is at risk from all sorts of things.

This is based on the approach taken in the movie Surrogates

$\endgroup$
9
$\begingroup$

I've had a nice quiet evening to ponder on this, so I'll throw in an answer myself. We want Brin to retain, as much as possible, his human aspect. Moreover, according to (my) OP, Brin is reluctant to rely on uploading and other such technology. He's just a very physical guy, you know. So working with these constraints, what can we achieve?

Brin now asks to be made immune to all normal weapons, as well as fire, suffocation, starvation, crushing, piercing, slashing, acid, cold or electricity.

  1. Immunity to normal weapons (piercing, slashing)

    • Low caliber (handheld) firearms, single shot. This is relatively straightforward. All you need is a few hundred panoramic angle microcameras and ranging lasers, a reactive nanomaterial hood that deploys a few centimeters from Brin's face (or wherever the impact point is).

    • Firearms, rapid fire. The previous solution (microsecond deployment futuristic super-kevlar hood) could work for a single shot, but how about machine-guns. Would two or twenty bullets achieve what one cannot, and wear down the anti-kinetic material? Luckily, Brin's Sweater and Jeans actually contain a rigidizable exoskeleton, that would essentially act as a exo-suit bodyguard and quickly whisk him into cover, performing immensely entertaining acrobatic bullet-dodging feats in the process. (This is why Brin has to go through a thorough stretch-out every morning, otherwise even his reinforced ligaments would tear under the pressure)

    • Explosive Rounds. Brin's GoogleGlass sports a nifty miniaturized hafnium-based gamma laser cannon, safely detonating explosives long before they get anywhere close. Sensors in his nose can sniff out over a thousand types of common (and uncommon) explosives more than 1000 ft away, alterting him to any potential dangers. His improved sense of smell also made Brin very picky about his wine selection in restaurants.

    • Melee. Brin's belt is comprised of several thousand overlapping plates of transparent alumina, a material several times stronger and lighter than steel. If the AIs supervising the set maser/laser/optical sensors detect an incoming sharp weapon, a fast microengine array deploys the materials in the belt into such an angle as to deflect the blow (or blows) away from Brin's soft, human body. Additionally, the lining of his shoes contains microexplosive bolts that can be fired at incoming projectiles to deflect them. The belt is also very stylish.

    • Spiketraps, deadfalls etc. In the event of a sudden unforeseen acceleration (such as falling through a trapdoor), Brin's sneakers' heels are capable, under AI direction, of jet-propelled flight for upwards of a minute, even before the microfusion reactor in Brin's chest even needs to provide additional power.

  2. Fire. During his trips abroad, Brin is often faced with the irritating danger of being burned at the stake as people misidentify his an "an agent of the Great Satan" or other such nonsense. Thankfully, Brin has a twofold solution. The first line of defense is a deployable laser array using Sisyphus Cooling technology can create a thin layer of oxygen and nitrogen atoms at nero-zero Kelvin some distance away from Brin. This allows him to casually walk through campfires, and stroll around Californian forest fires. Now in case Brin decides to walk on lava or grab really really hot things (potatoes out of the fire, turkey out of the oven, or forge iron bare-handed, a flexible aerogel casing can deploy (for instance, gloves) to make sure that Brin's delicate fingers are not affected.

  3. Suffocation. Any high-powered executive will occasionally find himself in a suffocating environment. Whether it's overly long board meetings with Eric Schmidt, or a chlorine traproom, it always pays to be prepared. Thankfully, Brin's trademark turtleneck contains a rebreather mask, that is capable of creating a vacuum seal or of perfoming atomic filtering. In Brin's lungs are implanted nanofactories that can be turned on that use up water and CO2 to create oxygen and a few carbohydrate compounds that can be turned into sugars to help nourish Brin. This process can continue for as long as the microfusion reactor in Brin's chest can send radio-power to these nanites. Brin has once held his breath for for the entire duration of an executive retreat, and said it was "sweet".

  4. Starvation\thirst. As discussed before, nanites in Brin's lungs can generate carbohydrates and other complex molecules out of water and CO2. Brin does not like to talk about this at length, but his underwear is capable of very effective reconversion, turning upwards of 99.93% of waste material back into a usable form. This has never been tested of course but given air with regular humidity, it is estimated Brin can survive without food or regular water for up to a year. Not that he ever would do that, of course. Caviar and shark-fin are some of the little pleasures of life.

  5. Crushing. Similar in construction to the Aerogel, a high-strength deployable array can increase the effective surface to be crushed by a tremendous amount. Imagine an air-bag that almost instantly fills out the whole room, making even the hardest blow feel like a light feather, or temporarily stopping walls from closing in and allowing Brin time to escape.

  6. Cold. Not exactly a problem when you have a microfusion array in your chest and a warming diamond weave in your clothes. In fact, Brin regularly takes morning walks at the South Pole (next to Google's secret Android Army Factory). He claims these are quite invigorating.

  7. Electricity. The Diamond meshing in Brin's clothing acts as a Faraday cage (protecting him from EMP blasts), and instantly extruded superconducting nanowires can sprout from his soles and burrow into virtually any material in nanoseconds, creating a disposable root system that is uniquely effective at dispersing electricity. This allows Brin to climb on tall mountains during severe thunderstorms and laugh at the gods.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ The only known weaknesses in Brin's armor are a sensitivity to concentrated helium hydride, million-electron-volt range gamma ray lasers, and thermonuclear weapons at close range. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Dec 19 '14 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ And of course, he's got amazing heal factor and adamantium bones right? $\endgroup$ – NPSF3000 Dec 30 '14 at 0:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, of course, but strangely clawless otherwise. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Dec 30 '14 at 0:42
7
$\begingroup$

I would say the simplest way would be to download himself and his genome into a computer and live as an AI. With his DNA on file he could have his body recreated and download his mind into it any time he wants to be physical. having several machines in far apart but constant backup would make him more resistant to destruction by destroying the computers.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah. The real problem of this question is the consciousness. It's simply impossible to get any object indestructable (no matter if we are talking about a body or a planet, anything can get destroyed). So the best way to prevent that is redundance. Spread the consciusness over long distance, give them a way to communicate and act as "one", what they ever had been. Thus you first must know what consciousness is exactly, same problem as "live". What the heck is "live"?! $\endgroup$ – Sempie Dec 19 '14 at 10:31
  • $\begingroup$ It is nice answer - it just ignores the fact that we don't know what consciousness is, and have no way to preserve "it" in any material substance. So such advanced technology is hard to distinguish from magic. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. Dec 19 '14 at 23:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's pretty much true for any technology that will meet the requirements. $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Dec 20 '14 at 13:29
4
$\begingroup$

immune to all normal weapons, as well as fire, suffocation, starvation, crushing, piercing, slashing, acid, cold or electricity.

If you insist on immune and also refuse to upload your mind to either clone or mechanical body of any kind, then you can consider this impossible given limitation of biological matter, especially give such wide variety of harmful effects concerned. You can not be immune to starvation, because you would run out of energy that at very least your brain need to power you consciousness. There are acids able to destroy any living cell, and so on.

Biological engineering could make you way more resistant, you can change skin to some kind or crust, you can improve your healing factor, but still not be immune. Even higher resistance could be achieved turning you into cyborg, either with replacing body parts with mechanical ones, or using some kind of bio-nanobots that could improve your healing factor to one close to sci-fi movies. (Imagine nano bots delivering stem-cells to wounds and accelerating their transformation.) Your best outcome without mind upload is imho Star Wars' General Grievous. He has a biological brain and eyes and the rest of the body is mechanical. Close to immune but still not immune.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Tell Brin to avoid normal weapons, as well as fire, suffocation, starvation, crushing, piercing, slashing, acid, cold and electricity as part of a daily life regimen.

In all seriousness, if you demand an organic body, you are going to suffer all of the limitations of an organic body, including the ability to combust.

The only escape is avoiding such things. There are some extreme martial arts masters who are thought to have developed enough "inner energy" to be sufficiently aware of the universe to avoid bad things happening to them. Whether you consider this the stuff of mythology or not, you'll need to accept a bit of mysticism to get around mortality -- it's been beating us for thousands of years, it's not going to give in easily.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

An option could be to have biological parts replaced cell by cell by some nanotechnology powered cells. The replacement would also be done by some nanobots : skin will become another highly-resistant material, extra air-filtering capacity will be added, as well as internal oxygen reserve, etc.

In short, this process will removing biological limitations by replacing all body parts by top-technology material. Probably enough to deal with common risks, but whether or not this covers all cases is left to your appreciation of new materials thougness. A building collapse, a trip in orbit, a swim in a volcano may leave you with serious scars...

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

going along with what Bowl said, cloning (or probably less 'cloning' and more 'building a new body with your dna that is the same age as you) and transferring your mind to the new body would be a good option. You can backup your mind every night before bed. If you die the next day someone loads up your mind and puts it in to the new body. You have 'lost' whatever time occured form your last upload and when you died, but otherwise you're alive. You are effectively immune to most causes of death because as long as your backup is saved, and we must assume it will be saved in massive parallel, you will be coming back from anything.

Of course rather or not you're are really immortal is an interesting debate. If I back up my identity and then die the next day my mind will remain, everyone will still see me and to them nothing as changed. but I, the person who backed myself up and then got run over by a truck, still am dead. Do I care that a new-identical copy of me lives on if my personal identity didn't?

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

In "The Golden Globe" by John Varley, one of the characters has had his brain protected by a special mesh that would preserve it in the case of catastrophic damage to the body. The idea being that by that point, it's relatively trivial to grow a new body from scratch, so the only important part is the brain. The body can be ruggedized or armored or weaponized in whatever ways you want, but if "survival" is what's important, then in the event of bodily failure you just induce a coma and perserve the brain, then one of his staff can build him a new body later.

A similar trick was used in "Use of Weapons" by Iain M. Banks, where a decapitated field agent was "rescued" and had a new body grown for him, thus saving his life.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.