I have an atheist friend who wants to be immortal. The means of his immortality is to be a machine capable of consciousness. His consciousness will be downloaded to the machine. The machine need not die. Never mind the zero chance that anyone alive today will see such a machine. I am more interested in this question: why the desire to be immortal?
I now realize why this friend wants to be immortal. It is because he read lots of science fiction growing up. (Yes, he is the classic SciFi geek). He believes the future holds truly marvelous things, all couched within a fair and moral society not plagued by disease, war and strife.
I hate to be bearer of bad news, but history has shown this: if the future is not to be plagued by disease, war and strife, we’re all going to have to work really hard. If we are not vigilant and aggressive in asserting our way of life, the world will devolve into a mess. It may devolve anyway, but that’s another story.
There are two basic flaws in my friend’s opinion: 1) the future will be bright, because that’s the “natural order” of things; and 2) technology will be amazing.
Consider that the Nazi’s might have won, and if we are not careful, Islamic State or similar groups will win. The victor is the aggressive one, not the “right” one. This is the lesson of our evolutionary history.
Who would want to live forever in a world run by Islamic State? Certainly not many of us in the United States. Substitute another calamity for IS. We need to be vigilant.
I would also suggest that immortality is not the most desirable of goals. See this post.