Book details

Virtually Human

The Promise—and the Peril—of Digital Immortality

Author: Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D.; Foreword by Ray Kurzweil; Illustrated by Ralph Steadman

Virtually Human

Virtually Human


About This Book

A groundbreaking and compelling book that gives readers an in-depth understanding of the most thought-provoking and important technological innovation of the twenty-first century

Page Count
On Sale

Book Details

A groundbreaking and compelling book that gives readers an in-depth understanding of the most thought-provoking and important technological innovation of the twenty-first century

Every day, social media is automatically uploading our thoughts, memories, preferences, beliefs, and history to a virtual existence, essentially creating a "mindfile" of ourselves. Thousands of software engineers across the globe are working on "mindware" to create from these mindfile personalities and humanlike consciousness in computer software, or cyberconsciousness. In the next decade or two, these efforts will result in the first digital copies of our identities, which will be our "mindclones."

In Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt shares her insights into how cyberconsciousness will manifest in our lives, and what we need to consider when a new, high-tech population of mindclones awakens to the rights, privileges, and obligations humans take for granted.

Virtually Human
conveys a profound understanding of how close we are to achieving a full simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology in clear, positive language, and raises numerous ethical and moral questions we absolutely need to address now, before the technology becomes commercially viable and accessible to all of us. Virtually Human will be the essential companion book to the future of mankind.

Imprint Publisher




In The News

“A fascinating read that clearly brings Alan Turing into the twenty-first century.” —J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., author of Life at the Speed of Light and creator of the first synthetic cell

“Martine Rothblatt has a knack for expanding our minds as well as our comfort zones beyond customary boundaries, be they of gender or substrate.” —Ray Kurzweil

“Maybe the most fascinating woman on the planet” —Jezebel

“Ingenious... a thoughtful philosophical exploration of the role of virtual humans in our future” —Kirkus Reviews

“Exponential technologies are driving a new dimension of human evolution. In her compelling book, Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt outlines how artificial consciousness is just around the corner, and explores the scientific and ethical ramifications. Science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact and the implications are breathtaking. Virtually Human is critical reading to anyone who plans to be around for the next couple of decades.” —Peter H. Diamandis, MD, CEO, XPRIZE; Exec Chairman, Singularity University; New York Times bestselling author of Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think

“We are in the midst of a war between biological and electronic brains for dominance in our hybrid population. Bio-brains are, so far, ahead based on their inventiveness, energy-efficiency and exponential improvement rate. Will ethics asymmetrically restrict engineering humans or will it equally apply soon to 'virtually human' electronic brains? Martine's insights on these and many other topics are timely and welcome.” —George Church, Harvard Professor, and author of Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

“In Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt builds on the observation that "I think, therefore I am" in ways that Descartes could not have imagined. With the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, Rothblatt predicts that we soon will confront cyberconsciousness comparable to--indeed, indistinguishable from--the human mind. When we cross this technological Rubicon, we will be forced to reconsider the meaning of concepts as foundational as life and death, law and liberty, love and kinship. Bringing to bear the lessons of history, philosophy, psychology, law and science, Rothblatt makes abundantly clear that these unprecedented challenges will define the humanity not just of our technological doppelgangers but of ourselves.” —Rachel F. Moran, Dean and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, and author of Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance

“Martine Rothblatt delivers an engaging exploration of the pathway to the near-term realization of our digital clones, and through the many ethical, legal, and spiritual challenges their advent will pose. Even skeptics, like myself, will find Virtually Human an intriguing vision filled with profoundly challenging ideas.” —Wendell Wallach, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, co-author of Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong

“The social struggle over the moral status of uploaded personalities and machine minds will be as fraught and momentous as the struggles to end slavery and extend women's suffrage. In Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt brings her remarkable intellect and profound ethical insight to this issue in a way that will make it essential reading.” —James J. Hughes, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

“Advances in cognitive and computer sciences render artificial humans possible, some duplicating natural individuals with increasing fidelity. When must we confront the ethical, legal, and social implications? Now, in Virtually Human!” —William Sims Bainbridge, author of Personality Capture and Emulation and eGods: Faith Versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming

“A wide-ranging, very readable, and possibly prescient look at one of the future's most exciting -- and at the same time most disturbing -- possibilities. Martine Rothblatt has been investigating this field, which some call uploading, for as long as anyone and has many rewarding insights.” —J. Storrs Hall, author of Beyond AI and Nanofuture

About the Creators

Virtually Human

Virtually Human