- For the Marvel Comics supervillain with this name, see Infomorph (comics).
The term Infomorph refers to a consciousness uploaded or downloaded into a computer (mind transfer) from a biological entity. A concept primarily used in science fiction, it has appeared in various guises:
- in novels like Frederik Pohl's Gateway series and Poul Anderson's Genesis (to name a very few)
- on TV series such as X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation (Ira Graves) and Red Dwarf (Arnold Rimmer)
- on roleplaying games, such as Transhuman Space and the MMORPG Eve Online (where the skill infomorph psychology allows a character to transfer themselves between multiple jump clones of their original body).
- This is a major plot point in Xenogears
- in the Mega Man X game series (Sigma).
- in the manga BLAME! where several main characters have their consciousnesses uploaded to other levels of computer reality.
- in the Anime Iria.
- in the NBC series, Heroes, Hana Gitelman's consciousness appears in a computer shortly after her death.
- in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Back To the Sewer, (Cyber-Shredder).
While the concept is a common one in SF, the term itself is idiosyncratic and not widely used. It derives from the novel Eon by Greg Bear, where it is part of a simple three-part classification of posthuman forms; the other two classes being homorph (humanoid) and neomorph (embodied but nonhumanoid). "Neomorph" also appears in the novel Accelerando by Charles Stross.
Whether it will ever be more than a theory is uncertain, but computing power is still increasing exponentially (see Moore's law for more details), and that end of the theory may be technologically feasible at some point in the future. The other end of the theory, which involves knowing the absolute workings of every aspect of the mind and the ability to measure this in a specific individual, may be theoretically possible (though Heisenberg's uncertainty principle may apply if it is discovered that the brain's workings on a quantum scale are relevant to the workings of the mind), but the rate of appreciation of knowledge in neuroscience and psychology is far slower than the rate of increase in computing power. There are also philosophical questions to be answered, the most important being the nature of consciousness and whether it is possible to transfer a consciousness or if this transfer would effectively be a copy.