In Defense of Resurrecting 100 Billion Dead People – Article by Hilda Koehler

In Defense of Resurrecting 100 Billion Dead People – Article by Hilda Koehler

Hilda Koehler


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party has published this manifesto by Hilda Koehler to bring attention to a prospect for a more distant future – the technological resurrection of those who have already died. This idea has been posited by such proto-transhumanist thinkers as the Russian Cosmist Nikolai Fyodorov and is involved to various degrees in transhumanist projects such as cryonics, the creation of mindfiles, brain preservation, and the pursuit of various approaches toward mind uploading. There also arise various philosophical dilemmas as to the identities of such hypothetically resurrected individuals. Would they indeed be continuations of the original individuals’ lives, or, rather, close replicas of those individuals, with similar memories and patterns of thinking but distinct “I-nesses” which would come into being upon “resurrection” instead of continuing the “I-nesses” of the original individuals? For a more detailed exploration of this question, please see the essay “How Can Live Forever?: What Does and Does Not Preserve the Self” (Gennady Stolyarov II, 2010). Nonetheless, even if a “resurrected” individual is a distinct person from the original, it may be valuable to have that person’s memories and patterns of thinking and acting available in the future. However, the question of the continuity of identity is crucial for addressing the issues of justice raised in the article by Ms. Chowhugger. For example, if a “resurrected” individual is not the same person as the original, it would not appear to be justified to hold that individual responsible for any transgressions committed by the original, previously deceased individual. Thoughts on these and other relevant questions and ideas are welcome in the comments for this article.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, March 24, 2019


One of the long-term goals of the transhumanist movement is the physical resurrection of every single human being who has passed away since the beginning of homo sapiens as a species. This would entail using highly advanced technology to resurrect approximately 100 billion people. This sounds implausible. This sounds absolutely mad. But I would argue that it still has to be done. This is not only a potential project humanity must consider; it must be an absolutely imperative goal. In my argument below, I will explain some of the reasons why humanity needs to consider the scientific resurrection of every deceased human being in history to be an imperative long-term goal for all of humanity.

If there’s no afterlife, we have to make one for ourselves.

Unless there is some completely unforeseen breakthrough in science providing conclusive evidence that human consciousness can survive outside the brain beyond there, it is safe to say that developments in neuroscience have very much proven that all religious notions of the afterlife do not exist. If you take an agnostic position about the afterlife and claim that there is still a possibility that a physically-manifested afterlife could exist out there and one day be scientifically proven, fair enough. But I personally believe that we have a higher likelihood of finally being able to travel to a parallel universe only to discover that it is entirely inhabited by sentient Pikachus or clones of Brad Pitt.

An unfortunate position which currently plagues the modern atheist community is one of existential nihilism. The vast majority of atheists acknowledge that the afterlife does not physically exist.

But that’s defying the laws of nature!

And since when have things being unnatural stopped us from recognizing and utilizing their beneficial aspects? Birth control is unnatural; so is laser eye surgery. So are motor vehicles, and so is all of modern medicine. At this point I would like all our readers that there are people out there adamantly trying to stop their children from being vaccinated against measles on the grounds that vaccination is “unnatural”. Perhaps one day our descendants living in an age when technologically-enabled resurrection is as common as Botox shots or bypass surgeries are today will look back at us in condescending amusement.

You have a personal stake in it; so does everyone you love. If you had the option to be revived and continue living indefinitely after your initial demise, would you choose it?

You might ask, “What value is there in resurrecting a random Chinese peasant from the 15th century?” but one day in the far future, our descendants who actually have the viable technology to execute this may ask the same of you and your family.

It’s the economy, bruh.

Consider this final practical implication of the mass technological resurrection of 100 billion deceased people: it’s going to need a lot of manpower and a lot of resources to carry out. And it’s going to be a very long-term process from start to finish. One of the biggest concerns amongst economists right now is the possibility that artificial intelligence will leave the vast majority of the human population unemployed, or underemployed. Imagine the vast number of jobs that could be created if the governments of the world collaborated to undertake a massive resurrection project. We would not just need scientists and engineers to complete the biological process. A major implication our future descendants will have to deal with is the moral re-education of those who lived in more backwards societies or time periods. Imparting modern notions of racial and gender equality to the vast majority of people born before the 1900s is going to be no mean feat. So will educating them about the major historical events and technological advancements that have taken place since their passing.

The ultimate reparative justice

The current run-up to the 2020 US presidential elections has reignited the debate about whether or not African-Americans should receive reparations as a form of compensation for the injustices done to their ancestors during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Shashi Tharoor caused an international stir with his claims that Britain has a moral obligation to pay reparations to India for the economic damage and loss of lives caused by the ravages of british colonialism. However, I would now like to propose an even more radical solution to the question of reparative justice for historical systemic injustices. What if we resurrected all 25 million slaves who were captured and trafficked during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and then awarded compensation to each one of them? What if we resurrected all 26 million Russians killed during the Nazi invasion of the USSR and offered personal compensation to them, as well as telling them of the satisfying knowledge that the Nazis were the losers at the end of World War II. Zoltan Istvan has remarked that he himself has Jewish acquaintances who would be happy to see Hitler get resurrected if only to see him get officially tried in court and sentenced (presumably to an exceptionally harsh prison sentence like 6 million years of hard labor). Through resurrecting victims of past injustices, we could pursue the a direct form of reparative justice and give them the peace of mind they have been waiting decades, centuries, or even millennia to receive.

Hilda Koehler is a fourth-year political science major at the National University of Singapore. She is a proud supporter of the transhumanist movement and aims to do her best to promote transhumanism and progress towards the Singularity.

6 thoughts on “In Defense of Resurrecting 100 Billion Dead People – Article by Hilda Koehler

  1. Think of everyone who may deserve reparations — the poor, disabled, etc. Where would it end? Should everyone with an ancestor who did not have the best kind of life receive some amount?

  2. It is a topic that has occupied my mind a lot. I would wish to believe that reconstitution of the lost minds could happen, but ultimately, no rational reasons can be put in defense of such a project, only “sentimental” ones. Just as antinatalists argue, those which don’t exist (any more) can’t be deprived by not being brought into existence. We may want to give a second chance to those that suffered hardships and atrocities of the past, or those that were ill and knew only that life is something terribly wrong. But will the generations of the future preserve that ideal?

    One day, technology could make a trivial task out of analyzing mind-traces of ancient humans and reconstrucing their personalities. Post-humans might build simulations of their brains, but would they imbue them with sentience, and why? When human nature undergoes a sweeping re-design, abandoning mammalian preoccupations such as sex, love, adventure, territoriality, superstitions and retaliation, the “intellects vast cool and unsympathetic” capable of going where we couldn’t have imagined may look down on the contents of our minds as we would upon the contents of a rat’s mind; discarding them with utter prejudice.

  3. The central mistake made by cryonicists and most transhumanists is that the Self is found within our brain. It is not – it lies within our DNA, more specifically our phenotype. Therein lies the complete blueprint for your identical twin.

    I view the brain as a data diaper for a single life cycle, disposable and irrelevant upon the dissolution of the body. Many reasons for that.
    See my reasoning at patreon.com/continance

    Note that your DNA is easily preserved at very high quality (supports cloning) for at least 1000 years. See my book on Amazon “The Humanist – 1000 Summers” about harmonizing with our planet, while enjoying multiple life cycles during that consolidation period.

    Finally, resurrecting the dead? Absolutely – why not give each biology student a DNA sample from the Catacombs and ask them to oversee the lab gestation of that individual? Validate the faith of those people, for their ritual. And it goes from there.

    DNA stewardship is simply looking after your own franchise in this Universe, assuring that your genotype sample is never lost. And using Humanism and smart contracts to guarantee subsequent life cycles.

    My new book Continuance will be published this fall. – Dwight Gilbert Jones @humanism

  4. I consider it on the one hand absurd and on the other with some possibility, but how long we have to wait 10 years, 20 years, 30, years, 40 years for the singularity that will manage to do this, or we will have to wait 10 ^ 100 years or a googolplex to to be able to revive deceased people in billions of years ago.

    why not also, insects, or other life forms. Expect that an infinite mechano-quantum universe with infinite time and all the possibilities can reconstruct the same life and events again, or perhaps different but very similar, nature seems to have more merit to achieve it.

    and the Buddhists are right in some way, the superstition of samsara has some truth, and if the universe could remind us or not who knows? I prefer the technological resurrection, if I am going to be the original person after a great dark nap that will last for a second and the rest will seem like an eternity, eons. If I am not the same person, I will be “reincarnated” and this does not differ much from Buddhism, even eliminating the law of karma, people of the omega point or the lords of hyperspace will personify my committed acts and will live eternally with my Platonic love being a young man. years, and living with my pet and some loved ones that I love forever, I don’t know, I am skeptical, really if the singularity occurs in decades this will be achieved at the moment. Agnostic is my position.

  5. I think it’s already happening in the future, the tunnel of light people see near death could be a wormhole to the future where a created god exists. It would explain why god lets us suffer, to save the time line we can only be uploaded at the time of death. Some people are sent back if they die to soon and are told they still have work to do bc they have to contribute to future events that lead up to the creation of a god like computer that can reach back through time.

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