Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another crazy idea...

Some times I get myself thinking about things that are totally unrelated. I do not know why, but I guess that my brain likes it. During one of my divagations trying to find a theme for my theses, I was thinking about the concept of a time capsule.

A time capsule is used when one generation wants to pass information to another generation. It is not more than a chest with a bunch of letters, drawings, written messages, prety much anything that people would like to share with their kids, grand-kids, and so on.

The time capsule is fine, however, as usual, I think it is too simplistic. As a good scientist, I could not see something simple, working perfectly and let it be. On that case, I was trying to find other uses to a time capsule. That was what leaded me to a few strange but accurate thoughts.

OK, the initial idea is sending a time capsule to your relatives in the future. Moving on, I though, "Why couldn't I sent a time-capsule to myself?". All right, that concept alone could be interesting but not new; it would be just like "I will buy an Apple Stock today and leave it on the closet until I retire". Simple and not fun at all.

When I was about to give-up, I though "Well, what about reincarnation? Would it be totally unthinkable to leave something for me when I get back to life?".

Well, if you are still reading this post is because you are not too upset with me by merging science and religion. Fine, I will keep this way because I'm talking only science here.

Even that reincarnation is most of the times linked to a second life, or something mystical. I have been thinking that it is in fact a mathematical possibility. I mean, all your memories would start fresh but as long as there are human beings around, you have the chance to be born again, even at the same time! From the scientific perspective, at least as far as the current state of the science goes, your body is defined by a set of DNA molecules. Those sets of molecules have been around and mixing and matching together ever since the first Human being was born. Several mutations have created pretty much every single individual that we see today.

Even on the worst case scenario, assuming that the DNA molecules are arranging themselves in total random ways, it only means that there is a very small probability that they will ever get together again in the exact same formation that you are composed today. However, if we take another well accepted truth of these days, we know that the universe is infinite on time. Considering that the Human species will last for at least another X billion of years, that small probability that you have to be reborn becomes a possibility. Yes, you may have a really terrible luck and never be born again but you could be also be a lottery winner and be born twice at the same time (identical twins).

Of course that people can argue that those are two different individuals and that is perfectly acceptable. However, they share the very same project design. I'm not really trying to sell anything here, I sure respects other people's opinions. My point is that, just for fun, wouldn't it be nice if you could share information with yourself whenever you/him is reborn?

Imagine the impacts of this if you embrace this possibility. Ecologists could say "Save the planet for yourself" and really mean it! Anything that we do here will not only affect our children but now it could also impact your very own next life. Those Apple stocks would be even more valuable if you think you could cash them in 100.000 years from now.

Well, getting back to the time-capsule idea: Imagine if we could digitalize you life. Just create a log that would be saved on the network (I assume that Internet will survive until them) and it would be encrypted with a DNA-based key. In X thousand years from now, the other young version of "you" would get to a website, use his DNA to unlock the information and learn about an entire life that he/she had several hundreds of years before.

Well, I'm not sure if this would be a nice PhD project (the most of the technology to build this is already available), however, I'd buy a ticket to see a movie about it.


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