What is Digital Immortality?

To begin, let's ask another question: Is Socrates immortal? Certainly not in the sense that the Socrates who once lived and walked (and questioned) in ancient Greece is still among us, living and walking. But the ideas of Socrates are most certainly immortal (thanks to the words of Plato and the mass distribution of those words in print—and now on the Internet). We say these ideas are immortal, but what we mean is they've lasted a really long time. Immortality in either form—the active embodiment of Socrates or only his ideas—is not guaranteed forever. However, the abstract concept of immorality, the old notion everyone is familiar with, implies exactly that, i.e., for all time.
        DII has no involvement in this abstract concept. We are not even interested in the possibility of extending the embodied presence of people beyond their lifetime (e.g., Cryonics). What we are very much interested in is the preservation of people's ideas, words, and whatever other externalities they choose to preserve. And for how long? For as long as these can be practically maintained. With enough time and technology, preserving personal artifacts should yield representative personas in digital form. DII fully expects we will be able to interact with these virtual personas on the Internet in limited but useful ways, not unlike the ways we interact with people at a distance today. That is the practical digital immortality that DII seeks.

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