Prof. Hawking, the cosmologist, 71, said the brain operates in a similar way to a computer program, meaning it could in theory be kept running without a body to power it. He made these comments at the 33rd Cambridge Film Festival, featuring a special gala screening of Hawking presented by the documentary’s subject, Professor Stephen Hawking.
Asked about whether a person's consciousness can live on after they die, he said: "I think the brain is like a programme in the mind, which is like a computer, so it's theoretically possible to copy the brain onto a computer and so provide a form of life after death.
"However, this is way beyond out present capabilities. I think the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark." The film tells the story of Prof Hawking's life, from his childhood in Oxford to his current home in Cambridge where he lives with the help of a group of carers.