Hawking: Life After Death Possible—in Computers

But he still thinks heaven is a 'fairy tale'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2013 2:18 AM CDT
Updated Sep 25, 2013 6:41 AM CDT
Hawking: Life After Death Possible—in Computers
Stephen Hawking gives a talk titled "A Brief History of Mine" to workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Cedars-Sinai, Eric Reed)

Life imitating Futurama? Stephen Hawking, owner of one of the world's finest brains, now says he believes it is possible to keep a mind running without a body—though he expects the technology will be too late for him, the Telegraph reports. "I think the brain is like a program in the mind, which is like a computer, so it's theoretically possible to copy the brain onto a computer and so provide a form of life after death," he said. "However, this is way beyond our present capabilities. I think the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark."

"All my life I have lived with the threat of an early death, so I hate wasting time," said Hawking, 71, who was given just two or three years to live when he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease 50 years ago. The physicist, who was speaking at the premier of a new documentary on his life, had previously dismissed the idea of an afterlife, saying "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail." (More Stephen Hawking stories.)

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