October 8, 2022

How would you like to become immortal, starting today?

In front of you is the prospect of immortality, all you have to do is unleash your thoughts.

That's right, writing is your key to immortality.

We are at a point in history where machine learning and large data models are becoming increasingly good at doing amazing things like emulating human behavior. Written word, audio and video can be analyzed and emulated to create a digital version of you in the near future. Of course, that means it needs data to process. This is where writing comes in.

Large data models will emulate your precise behavior based on your written word, and audio/video if you provide it. If advances allow it to pass the Turing test, your digital self will essentially become immortal. Your meat self will not be around, but distant relatives will in essence be able to communicate with you, with your exact language, reasoning ability and dare I say humor.

While still not at a level where it would pass for a human, AI emulation is getting scary good.

In 2019 Google released a doodle that lets you type in a few keys and turn them into a Bach composition.

Things have come a long way from there. Google has even had to fire an engineer who claimed the AI he was speaking to was sentient.

Tools already exist that allow 2D photos to be shaped into 3D objects. It is not inconceivable that in the very near future we can take your photo and turn it into a 3D version of you. It won't be as sexy at first - screen only, but eventually that may change very fast.

Tesla humanoids, 2D to 3D, speech synthesis, written word analysis to emulate your way of speaking and thinking - all of these things are already under way. It won't be long before a singularity-like state or actual digital singularity is achieved. At that point it will be difficult if not impossible to tell a digital version of you apart from the "original" you.

Ray Kurzweil, an American inventor and futurist who invented text-to-speech synthesis, speech and optical character recognition, argues that the technological singularity will occur by 2045.

Super-intelligence and the melding of human and machine may get to a point where we can no longer predict what happens. It's possible that at this point humans no longer require living flesh to "live".

While Kurzweil makes no such claims, you have to wonder why the human body is necessary at all if a digital replica of you can reason and act in a super-intelligent way?

Assuming things don't even get this far, the current machine learning models are making leaps and bounds towards what can only be described as magic. No longer is the case where emulators require millions of data points. With just a couple thousand pieces of data, the emulators can extrapolate additional data to be used in simulations. NASA is already using emulators to simulate climate change - a tactic that speeds up simulations by billions of times.

In case you thought you had to be Stephen King to provide good data to modern models, don't worry, you can remain you.

Writing your thoughts today will allow the emulators of the near future completely reconstruct your way of thinking and talking. It may even be possible to replicate your speech patterns based on a handful of audio recordings combined with your writing. Mix in video, and 3d modeling and a digital version of you is born.

Scary? Exciting? You be the judge. One thing is for sure, our not-so-distant relatives will be able to speak with us, get responses back and even feel like they are talking to the real us. Where that takes us ethically, legally, emotionally is up for debate.

So, what can you do to increase the likelihood that an accurate representation of you exists in the future?

For one, start writing. Scribbble was created for this one purpose - to unleash your thoughts. By writing fast, without distractions, you can empty your brain, however great or terrible your thoughts. With practice and continuous writing, you'll develop a natural knack for doing it well.

Record audio clips. The easiest way to do this is just to use your native phone apps. iPhones come with an audio recording app built-in. With a few taps (add it to your shortcuts), you're on your way to recording your voice.

What should you talk about? How about your day - just summarize what you did and how you felt at the end of the day. Talk about your plans for tomorrow, discuss people you've met, things that happened, discussions you had.

You'll find that writing and speaking is therapeutic and you may even see other benefits beyond a digital immortality your flesh and bones will not experience.

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