Part of the BBC Horizons program, watched this, and had some thoughts I wanted to put to the pen. I do this as reaction to each part/experiment.
The first adult novel I read I stole from my mother. It was about two identical twin boys. By the conclusion, Twin A loathed Twin B, but Twin B sacrifices himself to save Twin A. I don't remember much about it, but the concept stuck with me.
Fast forward to now-ish, the movies Blade Runner and Moon being favorites of mine. The concept of identity persistence, that we as conscious beings seem to be defined less by our consistent characteristics and more by the manner and degree to which we disrupt the environment around us.
How is that evolved self-perception changed by scientific advances? If technology were developed that could, in a convincing manner, replicate your post activity on Facebook, capture your memories and make them available to others, extend your sensory self over vast distances and across an extended timeline...
Concepts like clones (mnemonic clones, not just genetic), digital download, future tech projections ...
Yeah, rambling build up for no good reason.
Back to the documentary...
Experiment 1: Mirror Self-Recognition Test
Having two sons, I can attest to the indescribable magic of seeing a developing child pass that threshold. How do our projections into virtual realities and alternate identities alter this self-recognition? Our awareness of our own mortality may be the single greatest evolutionary motivator we possess.
Experiment 2: Sublimation of Identity
The seat of the soul. I don't know that I have much to say on this segment.
Experiment 3: Displaced Perspective (Out of Body)