I found this interesting, 14-year-old thread on the archived Kurzweilai forum:
upload + download
Follow me by supposing that at some time in the future, perhaps within the next few decades, it will be possible to scan and save the state of an individual's brain. By then, sequencing the genome will be a daily routine, and so it seems to me that enough information could be saved to make it possible to reconstitute a person exactly as they were at the time of scanning. Scanning will then become universal since reconstitution is merely a matter of time, which for the individual cannot be preceived anyway.What follows is not hard to predict. Eventually, how many hundreds of years doesn't matter, some individuals will be reconstituted from their saved scans. They will be immensely grateful to be alive, and will want as many of their friends and relatives reconstituted as possible. There will be chain reaction driving the reconstitution of the entire saved population (politics notwithstanding). And those individuals may be immortal, or if not, they can be reconstituted again and again.Why is this not a more promising solution to living forever than the hope of keeping our present bodies alive?
I find things to agree and disagree with. First and most importantly, even if you had all the necessary data to make a copy of a human, the resulting person would be just that, a copy. He would not be the same as the original, and they would not share the same consciousness. So no, this is not a means to achieve real immortality.
Second, digital immortality could be used to stand-in for a particular human between the moment he dies and the moment he is "resurrected" using the saved information. Let's say it is 2050, and you are on your deathbed. The technology exists to collect and save all of your genetic, physiological, and mental data that constitutes "You," but the technology to build a new flesh-and-blood copy of you using that data does not exist yet. You will die for sure, and decades will pass before your copy can be made and implanted with your memories and brain wiring. In the interim, an android that looks, talks, and acts just like you can be built. It will lack consciousness and self-awareness (assume that AGI hasn't been invented yet), but it will be a valuable stand-in for you for the sake of your bereaved family. Moreover, the android will be programmed to do everything in its power to see that your organic copy is made once the technology becomes available to do so. Even if your kids and grandkids stopped caring, your android copy would not, and it would slave away at a McDonald's job if necessary until it saved enough money to make your copy.
Third, the original author makes the excellent point that, if your biological copy is a true copy of you, it will remember your good friends and loved ones, and will do what it could to resurrect them as well.
Those of us who are reading this could easily live to see the era of endless "human remakes" and mass resurrections. Imagine the same people recycled again and again, coexisting with the new.