119 Essays on Infinite Lifespans   William Sims Bainbridge CONCLUSION In the distant future, we may learn to conceptualize our bio- logical lives on Earth as extended childhoods preparing us for the real life that follows in cyberspace. The metaphor of bio- logical caterpillars becoming cybernetic butterflies would be apt, were it not for the proverbial fragility of insects. And the transition from flesh to data will not be so much metamorpho- sis as liberation. As information contained in a star-spanning database – call it StarBase – we will travel across immensity, create new bodies along the way to dwell in every possible environment, and have adventures of the spirit throughout the universe. [32] Fundamentally, we are dynamic patterns of information. The self-awareness that we call consciousness is not a supernatural soul, but the natural consequence of our semantic complexity that gives us the ability to conceptualize ourselves. As information, we can be translated from one stor- age medium to another, combined with other information, and expressed through an almost infinite variety of instru- mentalities. When we emerge into cyberspace, we should no more lament the loss of the bodies that we leave behind than an eagle hatchling laments the shattered fragments of its egg when it first takes wing. References 1) Roco, MC & Bainbridge, WS; Societal implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology (2001); Kluwer 2) Roco, MC & Bainbridge, WS; Converging technologies for improving human performance (2003); Kluwer 3) Kurzweil, R; The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999); Penguin