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"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Scientific Reincarnation  
  Technology to allow a person to transfer themselves to a new, healthy body.  

In this excellent Hugo award-winning novel, Zelazny describes a planet that is set up on the same social structure as the Hinduism of 2,000 years ago. Except that, thanks to the technology brought with them to the planet, a pantheon of "gods" controls actual reincarnation for the populace.

The newly-incarnated Mahasamatman (Sam, to his friends), was determined to break the power of the ruling group, and stole the reincarnation technology.

He burned his old body, along with all the others... While the banks of sperm and ova, the growth tanks and the body lockers could not be transported, the transfer equipment itself was dismantled... and its components were loaded under the horses of those who had fallen in the battle.
From Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny.
Published by Doubleday in 1967
Additional resources -

In the story, people who support the ancient social structure, which deliberately stifles innovation, are well-served when they present themselves (old and gray) at the Hall of the Masters of Karma. They receive a healthy, young body of their choice.

However, people who have committed crimes against the ruling order can be sure to be reincarnated as animals (like dogs and apes) or be given bodies with genetically engineered defects, like epilepsy.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Lord of Light
  More Ideas and Technology by Roger Zelazny
  Tech news articles related to Lord of Light
  Tech news articles related to works by Roger Zelazny

Scientific Reincarnation-related news articles:
  - China To Control Reincarnation Of Tibetan Buddhists

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