ByStephen Adamson, writer at
I love the game. I love the hustle. MP Staff Writer and Retired Rapper. Twitter: @_StephenAdamson
Stephen Adamson

The movie [Self/less](tag:935235) is science fiction, but like one of my favorite movies of the year, Ex Machina, some of that science and tech is actually not as far-off as it may seem at first. In fact, artificial intelligence in the case of Ex Machina and transferring one's consciousness to another body in the case of Self/less are both being studied and researched extensively. They're both possible to the level that they appear in the movies in the not-so-distant future.

Here's the real science behind the technology/science of Self/less, starring Ryan Reynolds. Ben Kingsley plays a wealthy man dying of cancer who cheats death by transferring his consciousness to the body of Reynolds who is clearly much younger and healthier.

A secretive doctor and wealth allows Kingsley's character to take his brain's consciousness and put it in Reynold's character's body. The problem is that Reynolds, a regular man, also has his own consciousness which competes with Kingsley's for control over said body. The film deals with this with "special pills" that can suppress the body's original mind (Reynolds' mind).

Put in to lamens terms, scientists kind of have this stuff in the works. Here's what Business Insider had to say about the likelihood that this tech could potentially exist.

We have rudimentary technologies for listening in on, and even altering, the mess of complex activity in the three-pound hunk of flesh in our skulls. Scientists have even developed methods for probing the brain using light, a technique that has been used to implant or erase memories in mice.

We've got a pretty long way to go when it comes to transferring the brain's consciousness though. Here are the reasons:

  • 1. Everybody's brain is different, so our thought processes are entirely different. There's no way to reproduce that in another brain/body.
  • 2. There's no way to implant memories into another body. We have very little knowledge with that. So, think about it, all of even the most basic bodily functions are based on memories (how to walk, how to breathe, how to talk, etc). It would be almost impossible for that body to work with a new consciousness without extreme increases in scientific technology.
  • 3. The closest we are coming to actually making this work is transferring one's head to another body. Weird, I know. It would be even trickier to make sure that the spinal functions and everything were linked up, but it's much more feasible than moving a consciousness.

So, what the hell is the bottom line here?

Okay, the main takeaway here is that even if this procedure were technically possible (which it won't be, at least for quite some time), it would bring up a lot of ethical and philosophical issues. Should you be able to inhabit another person's body? Would you still be you? If only the rich had access to this technology, is that kind of unfair?

I think I'll stick to just hoping I can get some bionic limbs or something. I plan on still being able to play basketball when I'm 95. And as for living forever, I think I'll pass on that. Literally dying of boredom sounds horrible.

I still want to see this movie, regardless of how legit the scientific facts are. Seems cool, and Ryan Reynolds is doing big things right now. What do you think?

(Via: Business Insider)


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