Speculation on "recurrent intactness" among women is left unanswered, with the possibility of the female hymen likewise restoring itself having been brought up at one point during dialogue in the novel. Immortals can and in the course of the novel do die, as they are not capable of recovering from injuries such as a stab to the heart or decapitation. There is also discussion about whether long-term exposure to tobacco smoke might present the possibility of lung cancer developing, though the researcher who opens the possibility admits he has no data on the matter.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Boat of a Million Years Cover of first edition hardcover. Dewey Decimal.
8 Books About Immortality
Worlds Without End. Retrieved Works by Poul Anderson. Orbit Unlimited New America. Maurai and Kith Orion Shall Rise. Operation Chaos Operation Luna. Namespaces Article Talk. As of 3 July , Whilst this may encourage recognition of the fact that there needs to be more debate, as well as legislation in this area, the level of technical accomplishment actually shown is hotly debated Ghosh In an attempt to understand what is and is not currently possible in terms of creating a chatbot which could form the basis of an avatar-level digital immortalisation, Daden, KSharp, the University of Worcester and the University of Warwick 1 have been working to create a virtual persona, which is a digital representation of some of the memories, knowledge, experiences, personality and opinions of a specific living physical human Savin-Baden and Burden This work should be contrasted with, for example, the digital copies of Holocaust survivors Pinchas Gutter and Eva Schloss created by the USC Shoah Foundation McMullan which work off a fixed store of around recordings of sentence level responses and have no flexibility in what they do.
The intention, in the current study, is that a user would be able to interact with the Virtual Persona in the same way as they would with its physical subject, and that the Virtual Persona would present the same highly subjective and possibly flawed and biased information, views and opinions as its physical subject.
It could be accessed by their successor in order to get advice on how to do the job, and opinions and information on projects, clients, customers, suppliers, technologies, procedures and staff. The project and persona are very much seen in the context of knowledge management and intended to explore how a virtual Persona could aid in knowledge capture, retention, distribution, access and use. In the context of digital immortality though, the ability to access the acquired knowledge, experiences and insights of someone who is no longer available could offer guidance and support for those still living.
Indeed a digital immortal would be created almost by accident if a persona were created for the purpose of retaining corporate knowledge if the subject suddenly died prematurely in an accident or from a terminal disease. It is the likelihood of such unfortunate incidents occurring that require an early consideration of the ethical, moral and legal issues around digital immortality. For the purpose of the experiment and in order to keep within ethical guidelines, the subject was allowed to both filter and edit material provided where they felt that the real information could be compromising, since in reality, they were still continuing in their job.
Thus, whilst being able to completely fool a user was beyond the scope of this project, there may well be lower levels of performance which can be achieved which still yield a useful tool, and the knowledge and expertise gained along the way may also have application in other areas of knowledge management. Since the virtual persona was based on a subject called Barry, it was only natural that it became referred to as Virtual Barry.
A disadvantage of several of these were that a the Subject was aware of the human involved in collecting the information and b the data had to be coded manually. In the later stages of the project, the Subject was given the ability to chat with the Virtual Persona. Throughout , qualitative and quantitative user evaluations have been undertaken by people who either knew the Subject or knew the Subjects type of job and areas of expertise, or who knew both.
This data is currently being analysed and will be the subject of further papers. This paper will present a broader reflection of some of the lessons learnt in virtual persona development and then examine the implications for digital immortalisation. During the Virtual Barry project, it became evident that the virtual persona was manifest through a combination of different elements within the system, which included the user interface, content, word choice and conversational style. The project is also looking at a more direct mapping of psychological profile information onto Virtual Barry, but that will not be considered here.
Each of these elements will be considered in turn. If the virtual persona looks like Barry and sounds like Barry, then users are probably less inclined to focus on the content of what Virtual Barry says. Considering these two elements:. Having a better animated avatar is likely to improve the believability of Virtual Barry. As noted previously, the user interface is not a high priority for the project and the Sitepal system is still relatively unique in terms of ease of use and integration.
Better systems are available as bespoke applications or within 3D tools such as Unity3D, but would take more time and effort to integrate. The project team continues to seek a better solution. The team is evaluating these to see if they offer a credible alternative within the constraints of the project. In addition, Google has also released its own text-to-speech system, which whilst not offering a better match, does seem to provide a more modulated and expressive generic voice. As well as factual and interest information, Virtual Barry also needs to reflect the practical expertise of Barry.
At the moment, Virtual Barry has very little of this expertise knowledge in Human Factors in the Barry case , and this needs to be added to the system. However, much is procedural and related to decision choices and processes and, so, forms more of an aspect of procedural memory, which may be less amenable to the knowledge-graph approach and reflect instead aspects of more traditional expert systems.
However, the longer such responses are, the fewer situations in which they will work. There is also a discontinuity when Virtual Barry moves from a constructed response to a verbatim response and back again. One way of minimising this discontinuity is to ensure that constructed responses are using the phrases and words that Barry would use. Once the digital immortality is created, it is important to consider how it would interact with the world and how others might interact with it.
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Four key areas have been identified Savin-Baden et al. The digital immortal should be able to update RSS, email, the web and other data feeds in order to continuously update itself about the world. The digital immortal should be able to use existing Application Programming Interfaces API to make queries, post messages or request changes in other computer systems, just as their Subjects may have made postings to social media or conducted financial transactions through an on-line bank or broker.
The emotional and ethical impact that relatives, colleagues and friends may experience from interacting with the digital immortal has been discussed earlier. Obviously, when the digital immortal interacts with people to whom it is not known, then the interaction would be devoid of any sense of strangeness, which is important for the next consideration. In order to interact with the physical world, the digital immortal does not need a physical manifestation, it can just issue commands to physical-world control systems.
Giving the digital immortal embodiment within the physical world as a robot or android is almost a side-show.
Whilst it is a relatively large shift from Virtual Barry to Digital Immortality, many of the functions that would need to be achieved are reasonably well understood, and to a certain, if not complete, extent, it is largely a matter of integration. Digital immortality appears to be changing understandings of grief and the afterlife. The desire for continued existence after death may be understandable, but the speed at which technology is driving the digitised immortality cannot be overlooked.
Digital immortality appears to be both evocative and troublesome, affecting emotions and the ability to grieve and manage legacies. There is little evidence to date about the impact of external endurance Kim at one end of the spectrum and instant vanishment at the other end, on recipients, family, friends and religious leaders, as well as on mourning practices. They argue for immortality through a biological reproduction, b creative immortality, c transcendental immortality and d natural immortality which means recognising the world will be an e experiential transcendence Vigilant and John Williamson : However, ideas and posthumous social media presence remain of interest to many people, and this often becomes apparent when receiving posts from dead friends on social media.
Yet she also suggests Kasket forthcoming that there is no effective mechanism for removing the digital traces of deceased people from the internet when their physical counterpart dies. However, there have been companies to whom the maintenance or deletion of a posthumous social media presence could be delegated. This did enable people to deploy a pre-planned strategy of posthumous digital asset management, involving basic password storage and forwarding, but this service is no longer available.
These recent developments would seem to suggest socio-political impacts such as shifts in understandings about embodiment, death and afterlife, new perceptions of the social life of the dead and new forms of post-mortem veneration. The emotional, social, financial and business impact of active digital immortality on relations, friends, colleagues and institutions remains an area that is under researched. Issues of preservation and privacy issues and the legal implications of a presence on-going beyond the autonomous control of the mortal presence remain both an ethical and legislative conundrum.
A key concern for any form of digital immortality will be to maintain its own integrity. Mentorship : using mobile devices to keep in touch with parents or other significant adults in order to get advice, feel supported or use as a sounding board through Whatsapp or Facebook messaging. Gaming : alone and together to share, teach, learn, offer advice, negotiate and give and receive hints, tips and solutions.
Co-operative online learning : supporting and guiding each other about homework, assignments and exam revision. Teaching technology : sharing and teaching each other about apps, new devices and helpful sites. Emotional learning : using digital media for peer-to-peer support to manage personal challenges and difficulties, and to receive advice. Playful learning : trying things out and fiddling around, in order to experiment and discover. Co-production : creating presentations together, making and sharing cybercreations, creating posters, mashups and vidding.
At the most basic level, it will be vital to ensure that the digital immortal has the hosting environment public or private on which to operate. There is still a considerable difference between the creation of a digital immortal which is the hobby project of a programmer, and the digital immortality which is the legacy project of a business leader or entrepreneur.
It would mean that developing digital immortals from virtual humans could be relatively iterative, which could be undertaken by developing simple virtual personas who can learn and then growing them in sophistication. In these respects, this digital route to digital immortals who can learn seems a far more realistic one than the Mind Uploading, Whole Brain Emulation and Cryogenics promoted by many post-humanists.
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As such, it makes the potential and issues of immortality in any form all the more real, and their study all the more urgent. Digital immortality is not ethereal, and it has real consequences, yet what these are we are yet to know. Most of all, it is a rupture; it is unnerving and raises challenging ontological questions about life, death and the afterlife.
In terms of the arguments and discussions about the relative value of the idea of the post-digital, perhaps the issues of death online and digital immortality creation are better connected to the idea of post-apocalyptic concerns. In a post-apocalyptic world, there becomes a sense that there is no longer the power of the end. For some Cramer : 14 , a post-apocalyptic world is one in which the apocalypse is not over but has progressed from a discrete breaking point to an ongoing condition.
Yet this would seem to suggest a continuing dystopian state as suggested in Kiss me First Moggach rather than a sense that the digital immortal can enable humanity to at last learn from itself and sustain the kind of post-apocalyptic position in which there is some kind of redemption. The difficulty here is that creating a digital immortal is not merely about learning, but about sentience.
Being Immortal - Gomerpedia
Sentience is something more than intelligence and is certainly beyond what all or almost all animals show; it is about self-awareness, self-actualization and having a consistent internal narrative, internal dialogue and self-reflection. We suggest that it is possible to code a digital immortal that appears to do much of the things that define sentience, but would that mean one has created sentience which seems unlikely —or perhaps sentience has to be an emergent behaviour? We argue that, if developed in the first half of the twenty-first century as a virtual humanoid or virtual human, a digital immortal could still be seen as being inferior to physical humans, and to its progenitor.
What has become apparent through this project is that much of the current software available to create your own digital immortal lack long-term and in-depth capabilities to learn and manage an effective digital afterlife. However, we believe that Virtual Barry could be adapted and used to create sustainable digital persona and can be maintained or deleted according to the wishes of those wanting to create a persona pre-death or those left behind wanting to preserve or delete it.
The legal complexities around managing issues of preservation and privacy, and the legal implications of a presence on-going beyond the autonomous control of the mortal presence, remain both an ethical and legislative conundrum. It is clear that death in the digital age is complex since we now have posthumous persistence and the opportunities for the physically dead to affect current life in ways not possible in earlier generations. What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
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Download PDF. Digital Immortality and Virtual Humans. Open Access. First Online: 27 September Introduction This paper presents research on digital persona creation and reflects on the possibilities for the development of a persona that learns post-death. These can provide useful frameworks in which to consider digital immortality issues: Digital Persistence Kasket forthcoming argues that online persistence and the ongoing presence of the data of the dead online will lead to more of a globalised, secularised ancestor veneration culture, and it is important to recognise the ongoing persistence of the dead online on social media, LinkedIn, Amazon, and YouTube.
The Restless Dead Nansen et al. Although less sophisticated than the virtual personas to be discussed later, they do show how some of the initial concepts of digital grief are entering into our culture: Media Mourning Media mourning is defined here as the idea that we are urged to mourn something that is not our grief through social media, such as the Manchester Arena bombing, or to mourn our personal loss through social media in a highly public way.
Durable Biography Walter argues that the purpose of grieving is to construct a durable biography that allows survivors to continue to integrate the deceased person into their lives and to find a stable and secure place for them. Virtual Veneration This is the process of memorialising people through avatars in online games and 3D virtual worlds. Digital Commemoration Digital commemoration is a practice that crosses the boundaries of digital immortality and digital legacy to provide particular commemoration services. Death Management Some people wish to take a more proactive role in managing their post-death presence.
With the emergence of such digital immortalities, it is useful to identify the different people who are likely to encounter such digital legacies, including relatives, friends, lawyers, politicians and religious leaders. These may be of three principal types: Preservers—who use memories and artefacts to create a legacy, such as a representative avatar or digitally immortal persona, and which may include the deceased themselves before death Receivers—who receive the memories and artefacts, including representative avatars or digitally immortal persona Mediators—professionals who encounter legacies, representative avatars or digitally immortal persona, such as priests or lawyers.
Lifenaut works on a similar principle to Eter9, enabling people to create mind files by uploading pictures, videos and documents to a digital archive, but this is an explicit process rather than a background one as with Eter9. It also enables the user to create a photo-based avatar of the person that will speak for them, although there is the choice of only a single male and female voice which are both US English.
Virtual Barry Development Virtual Barry was developed in an iterative manner over an approximate a 2-year period. An image of the current April 18 Virtual Barry interface is at Fig. Open image in new window. Virtual Barry illustrates the two most feasible ways of creating the knowledge based behind such a digital immortal. Second, the use of machine learning-based techniques to extract information from existing databases and documents, the digital traces, created by the subject. However, in moving from Virtual Barry to a mature digital immortal, there are significant additional systems that will need to be added.
Figure 2 provides an overview of a possible digital immortality system. A central core manages memory, reasoning, motivation, creativity, planning and emotion. As with any virtual human, it can embody itself in virtual worlds as an avatar and, possibly, in the physical world via a robot , as well as through a 2D interface, or an email, social-media, aural, chat or Skype presence. It has a natural language understanding and generation facility to enable two-way communication with people and other virtual humans and digital immortals in the physical world, and it could synchronise its knowledge and activities between multiple instances of itself.
Learning Post-Death Whilst theories of learning have never been static, the distinction between and across the approaches—behavioural, cognitive, developmental and critical pedagogy—continues to be eroded. There is increasing focus in the twenty-first century on what and how students learn and on ways of creating learning environments to ensure that they learn effectively—although much of this remains a contested ground.
New models and theories of learning have emerged over the last decade that inform the development of learning in virtual worlds such as Second Life and may have an impact on virtual humans and the creation of digital immortals. Learning today is a mash-up of home-school-work-media-peer-collaboration. Amidst the rapid technology developments, issues of grief and bereavement seem to have been left to one side, along with ethical and legal concerns.
Whilst there is an increase in research into death online, the gap between this and technological development continues to grow. Kasket forthcoming argues that much power and responsibility lie with the designers of technology in terms of moral decisions about the control of digital legacies. Yet with few if any ethical or legal guidelines in place, it is difficult to see how this might be managed.
Perhaps the words of T. S Eliot offers a poignant reminder of the continuity of beginnings and endings: What we call the beginning is often the end. Eliot Bainbridge, W.
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