Humai is a technology company based out of Los Angeles that is making the rather presumptuous claim that within 30 years, they can provide the continuation of consciousness after you die by gathering data about your thoughts, speech patterns and behaviors, freezing your brain after you die, then loading the whole thing, plus data, into an artificial body.
From their website:
Humai is an AI company with a mission to reinvent the afterlife. We want to bring you back to life after you die.
We’re using artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to store data of conversational styles, behavioral patterns, thought processes and information about how your body functions from the inside-out.
This data will be coded into multiple sensor technologies, which will be built into an artificial body with the brain of a deceased human. Using cloning technology, we will restore the brain as it matures.
Sounds ambitious. And ridiculous. Is that all you are? Conversational styles? Behavioral patterns? Thought processes?
First, a caveat. Scientists still have no idea where consciousness comes from, if it is created by the brain or simply interacts with the brain, and how seemingly unconscious matter can collaborate to create a consciousness being. Proponents of the duality theory hypothesize that human consciousness is not created by brain matter, but that the brain interfaces with a field of consciousness that exists separately. Conversely, materialists believe that consciousness is somehow an emergent property of the brain. It is called ‘The Hard Problem’ precisely because we have no proof either way. We simply don’t understand the origin of consciousness. You may be dismayed to know that even anesthesiologists don’t know how anesthetics can temporarily turn off consciousness. It just works.
This being said, I do believe it is presumptuous for any company to claim that they will not only understand consciousness within 30 years, but have the ability to transfer that awareness to an artificial intelligence. Does anyone really believe that humans are just like computers whereby we can simply upload everything that we are – our loves, our experiences, our tastes, our memories – into a data chip and replicate a loved one? Even if it were possible; is it ethical?
Since this is a blog about the spiritual side of life after death, I’d like to leave the mechanical and ethical debate aside and examine one theory of how the soul melds with the brain to determine what such an experiment might produce, if it were possible.
Dr. Michael Newton’s book Journey of Souls describes the process of a new soul melding with the mind of an infant in vitro. If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Newton or his work, he is a Regression Hypnotherapist, who has worked with patients to uncover information about the activities human souls participate in during their time in the spirit world between lives. Dr. Newton acquired a vast amount of information during the 40 years he worked with patients in this way, and has heard the same information repeated time and time again from many different clients about the general structure of the afterlife.
According to Dr. Newton, the personality of the soul and the biological traits of the human body are a partnership. Once the body has been chosen, the soul will slowly meld with the infant until the energy of the soul and biology of the infant has formed a cohesive whole. Ideally, the soul and brain should meld ‘like a glove’ so that a unified personality emerges. Journey of Souls states that a human being without a soul would be ‘vacant’, but doesn’t define which characteristics are attributed to the soul and which are attributed to the brain.
In my research, it seems that when we die, we return to the spirit world as soul energy in order to learn from the life just lived and resume activities of learning. Down on earth, a company might be able to replicate the speech, behaviors and traits of a person down to the tiniest detail, but I believe that the result would be a very clever computer. It might fool some people, but I don’t believe the soul of the person would or could be inside that cold metal. I believe that eventually, these clever reproductions would reveal themselves as what they are – reproductions. When you look into the optical sensors that replaced the eyes of your loved one – do you think you would see love?
This technology, if it were even possible, would raise a lot of questions. But, in a sense, it also might finally provide some answers too.. is a human being a lumbering robot after all, as Richard Dawkins stated in ‘The God Delusion”? Or are we something more; something so sacred that we cannot be distilled into a set of functions and subroutines?
What do you think?