The New Immortality

Immortality is all around us. It lives in the books we read, the castles we visit, the paintings we gaze upon, and the music we listen to—as I am now listening to Mozart. There are a thousand kinds of immortality, but they all have one thing in common. Call it accident, luck, circumstance, whatever you choose, even fate. Whatever it is, it's the old immortality.
        There is a new immortality and (like every new thing) it's digital. It is planned, created, and implemented for the express purpose of immortality. Or rather, it will be implemented once we solve some practical problems. Many of these problems are legal, such as who owns the rights to your immortal digital representation. Some are ethical, some social, and there are still a few that are technical—although most of these are already not only solved but also affordable.
        In the everyday world of making things happen, the biggest problem for digital immortality is political. Not in the sense of political parties, but the reality of the politics of power. People (and organizations) have agendas and they exercise their power. Many people don't want digital immortality; they want actual immortality, i.e., biological. Afraid to die, they—like billions before them—want to live forever. Unlike those billions, these people are seriously working to achieve this once thought-to-be-impossible goal.
        It may yet turn out to be impossible, but the question has been legitimately raised by a significant number of intelligent and respected people. This is their right. However, striving for this yet-to-be-proven (or priced) goal is diverting attention, energy, and resources from what is already within our grasp: achievable, and affordable, digital immortality for the rest of us.

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