Emancipation from Death
random cues of genetic mutation, our bodies would slowly
evolve, gradually becoming something different.
In contrast, we humans are highly intelligent creatures and
have reached the point where we can take the future develop-
ment of our bodies into our own hands. Using our minds and
the marvelous tools we are now making, we can produce a
new form or many new forms for the body. We can design
to suit our own purposes and preferences.
In the past, engineers developing new prototypes for air-
craft, automobiles, or ocean liners would create scale models
and then evaluate the performance of their concepts in wind
tunnels or other testing media. Modern engineers find it
easier, cheaper, and more effective to do the same type of test-
ing in simulated environments. Using powerful computers
and highly sophisticated software programs, they can learn
precisely how their creations will perform under a variety of
As a way of experimenting with possible new designs for your
posthuman body, you will likely do the same thing. Instead
of going to the trouble of building your new body molecule
by molecule and then determining whether it is satisfactory,
you can create a simulation in a virtual reality environment
and test it there. The exciting difference is that you will not be
limited to observing the simulation as are todays engineers.
Rather, you will be able to inhabit your virtual body and know
firsthand how it will react, perform, and feel.
The next step is obvious. If the simulation is powerful enough,
the experience of occupying the simulated body should be
indistinguishable from conventional physical reality; it will be
virtually the same hence the name virtual reality. Then why
not just live there? Assuming you can have all the experiences
of the real world plus many more that you could never have
and that you will still be able to see and touch and interact
with the people you love, why not just stay?