In Replicas, out this Friday, Keanu Reeves plays a neurologist on the verge of transferring human consciousness to a computer when his wife and daughter die in a car accident. Distraught and desperate, he sets about cloning his beloved family’s bodies and transferring digital copies of their conscious minds into them, determined to cheat death just as any self-respecting movie scientist has since the 1920s.
Mind transfer to new bodies (or machines) isn’t a new idea in pop culture or literature. The first reference to it is from Frederik Pohl’s 1955 book The Tunnel Under the World, and in just the last few years we’ve had Self/less, Criminal, Transcendence, and many more, not to mention the theme of the biggest film of all time, Avatar.
Given our current understanding of neurology and computing power undreamed of even a decade ago, could we ever do it for real?
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