This near-contempt for our mortal vessels takes us to a second faction — let’s call them the coders — who are selling their own strategy for defeating or deferring death. Instead of augmenting the body with high-tech gadgets or through genetic and medical tweaks, they propose abandoning the Flesh altogether. The body as a machine to be maintained and augmented is old hat; they focus instead on the mind. Drawing on philosophical debates going back to Descartes, they imagine it as software — a program or data file that can be copied indefinitely and remain useful, so long as an operating system exists to run it. Making a copy of a person’s mind is the first step toward uploading it for storage and retrieval.