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Is the concept of ‘shedding’ from “Self/Less” possible?

By Lynne Kim

October 19, 2022

UPDATED 12:00 PM EST





[Photo credit: TechnoBuffalo]



“Self/Less” is a 2015 American science fiction action film that tells the story of a business tycoon and billionaire named Damian Hale who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. He is given an opportunity to go through a relatively new procedure known as ‘shedding’. This procedure transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man, but Damian later discovers that his new life isn’t what he expected, after learning about the mysterious origins of his newly given body.

However, the question is, is this procedure even possible? Many American films create movies off of concepts that are scientifically impossible, but some scientists believe ‘shedding’ may be possible. Charles Higgins, a professor in neuroscience and engineering, believes that “the transference of consciousness could realistically someday be a reality as both our understanding of the human brain and our technological capabilities grow.” The concept of consciousness transfer is after a human being dies, if they choose to preserve their mind, they can somehow place their consciousness into another person’s body. This would cause the consciousness to start functioning in a newer, healthier body that isn’t your own.

Let’s say this procedure becomes possible in the next 50 to 100 years. Even if possible, it is evident that the procedure would be incredibly expensive. There are also numerous ethical questions to follow. Who gets to undergo this procedure? Only the wealthy? Who decides who gets to be immortal? There are multiple questions that no one can answer without counter arguments. People will definitely have to wait years for scientists to figure out all the logistics of the procedure because as of now, no one knows the human brain perfectly and well enough to test the procedure. Even with the knowledge, the brain is one of the most difficult organs to work with. One wrong turn and a person’s life could change forever. The idea of stimulating the brain to reconnect its neurons to adapt to a completely new person’s consciousness is one that is far out of reach. However, the conclusion given is that scientists do believe it may be possible with further research and more technological advancements.



References

Allie Funk, Bustle.com. “The Higgins Laboratory from Brains to Robots, and Everything in between.” Is "Shedding" Possible? 'Self/Less' Science Is Mind-Blowing, But Is It Real?, https://thehigginslab.uawebhost.arizona.edu/index.php/publicity/all-publicity/online-web-media/380-mind-blowing-but-real.

Leslie, Daliah. “Never Say Die – Self/Less from Science-Fiction to -Fact.” Brain Blogger Never Say Die SELFLESS from ScienceFiction to Fact Comments, https://brainblogger.com/2015/07/10/never-say-die-selfless-from-science-fiction-to-fact/.

Russell, Brandon. “Interview: A Neuroscientist Explains the Mind-Blowing Science behind 'Self/Less'.” TechnoBuffalo, TechnoBuffalo, 4 July 2015, https://www.technobuffalo.com/interview-a-neuroscientist-explains-the-mind-blowing-science-behind-selfless.


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