The media and entertainment channels constantly bombard us with a prediction of some apocalypse being around the corner. This seems to be one of the drivers behind our modern culture’s fascination with immortality. The super-rich and the tech evangelist working in Silicon Valley seem to be hyper-focused on actually achieving this. However, the rest of us couch potatoes are also happy about their goal to defeat death. How will this victory be achieved? It’s a simple solution. Futurist predict a new mobile app for uploading your consciousness into the cloud.
A real movement
You might laugh at this now, but there is a real movement building. This belief system is an actual thing. It is called Transhumanism. Those on board, believe in pursuing paths that transform the current human condition. It is an international philosophy seeking ways to expand and extend our existence, including achieving an indefinite existence.
The movement diverges on how to transform human life. Some expect DNA manipulation and biotechnology breakthroughs to produce the most expedient results. On a similar line, some think organ cloning and stem cell research are the areas to invest in. However, the group leading the pack propose we develop the technology to be able to upload our mind into computers. With quantum computing and Artifical Intelligence making front-page news, the transhumanist says “yes.” Yes, we can live in our own personal Cloud, a shared public network, or in a local artificial cyber brain.
Fantasy comes to life
This idea of electronic immortality could soon be everyone’s fantasy. The reasons for this are simple. Once the transhumanist conquer uploading consciousness, we can expect some of the following:
- Get the thrill of risking it all but with the respawn ability we experience in our video game worlds.
- Ability to absorb knowledge instantly in a digital world
- Explore imaginative worlds while in a beautiful avatar
- Find new adventures staying in reality but in a new cyborg-like enhanced body
Before you fall for the marketing bullet points, and sign your soul away, consider some lessons previously learned. Those promising glory never give details or accurately describe the cost. What if electronic immortality was not everything you hoped for, but it was too late to reverse it? That concept in itself should scare us.
No free lunch
We understand the top of the line new android bodies will not be cheap. An economic hierarchy could determine which model you reside in. Even virtual space costs money, just ask Amazon about their cloud services. Speculate what happens if you can no longer pay rent. Are you put into a low-end VR rack or does something worse happen?
If you are a realist, you can imagine multiple dystopian scenarios playing out. First, what is to prevent corporations from adding a user agreement where they have the option to replicate customers minds and put them to use as worker androids.
Secondly, what if companies that provide the Cloud to host your mind, end up using it as a harvesting ground. They search digital space for desirable properties that are a commodity, sell them for other purposes, and discard the rest. So while your digital self might go on existing in some form, it’s hardly the sort of utopia most would probably desire.
So the good news is there may soon be a chance you can escape a traditional death. What is the bad news? It’s doubtful you will avoid the injustices that come with a highly stratified class-based existence.
Science fiction meets the Cloud
Look into the near future and how might we advance. By looking at a specific medical scenario, we can better understand a possible future. For instance, let’s say you learn that you have a terminal condition, and there are no chances for survival. Moreover, there are no treatments to reverse it. Your option is to register for the consciousness uploading option. This program has become very popular because the national healthcare system includes it as a standard treatment. You’re eager to apply. You can’t actually read all 20 pages detailing the terms and conditions, but you sign it anyway. The national program has gone viral, so what could be so bad about it?
Next is experiencing a small outpatient surgery to put your neurological recorder into place. As part of your maintenance, you periodically, interface with a mobile app. This app tracks and manages the interface from your brain scanner to your cloud container. Your personality, sensory experiences, and memories are all transferred regularly. Top rated app features include:
- Amount of allotted memory consumed
- Linked life force connections
- Completeness of memory synching
- Error logs
Currently, this is just a fictional concept.
Yes, science fiction stories have contributed to sparking real innovation. But what is being done right now? For one, there is Elon Musk. In just this past July, his company went live with the launching of Neuralink.
Neuralink is essentially the effort to create a brain to computer interface or BCI. The concept is having a robotic arm perform surgery. The procedure is to install the necessary hardware components for BCI.
The goal is to have this system help humans gain a better, faster interface to interact with machine intelligence. The solution is proposed to combat the idea of AI outpacing humans, and taking control of the future of humanity. To further validate Elon’s latest company, there are at least eight global competitors in this space right now.
Fictional ideas spark real innovation
Star Trek followers recognized years ago that future technology invented for science fiction often becomes a real innovation. Shows like Star Trek have spotlighted things like tablet-sized PCs, smartwatches, real-time language translation, and voice queries to AI. Each of these has become everyday products consumers engage within the present time. Nobody is expecting a mobile app for uploading consciousness to be a reality this year. However, we are hoping BCI tech to become solved, viable, and profitable soon.