By Jaqen_HGhar 0 Comments
Or any other way of copying myself into a digital version in order to live on. Something I am sure most of my fellow duders have been wanting, or at least thinking sounds cool. I mean, of course it sounds cool! Not having to be limited by our biological needs and wants, having the ability to experience the far-flung future of humanity. When (or if) this becomes reality, there really are no limits. But the past couple of years has presented several pieces of entertainment that has revealed the one flaw in all of this. None of us will actually experience it.
Beware, there are potential spoilers regarding Soma, Black Mirror and the Bobiverse ahead.
I don't remember which piece of media I consumed first, the game Soma or the TV-series Black Mirror. But both in the game and several episodes of the show they explore what our consciousness is. And while all of this is theoretical, I cannot see it working any other way. A copy of my mind will be "just" that. A copy. I placed the word "just" in quotation marks, because the copy will be me in every way. But it will be a version of me that I will not experience myself. Just as they illustrated in Soma when you switch suits.
Instead of taking the actual consciousness of Simon out of the old suit and putting it in the new one, it is far easier to just make a copy. We are after all electrical signals, which in theory can be converted into code or something. In the game they present it as if you just suddenly appeared in the new suit. Like being sedated for surgery, then waking up again in some other place. But then your old suit "wakes up". You are still in there. We as players understood what was happening, Simon was more in denial about it. When the end of the game comes around, and you are stuck on the bottom of the ocean instead of arriving in the digital heaven you were striving for... we get it. A version of Simon does have the sensation of suddenly being in that digital heaven, but that is the third copy of him. The original Simon is long dead. The first copy of him are either dead or stuck in the first suit, depending on what you did. And the second copy of Simon is stuck on the bottom of the ocean, cursing Catherine.
It took the excellent book series The Bobiverse (which I listened to on audiobook after seeing Vinny tweeting about it) to let this really sink in. In the series Bob sets it up so that when he dies his body will be frozen, ready to be woken up in the future when things have progressed far enough for him to be saved. Instead he wakes up in the future inside a computer, his mind has been scanned and digitized. And now he will be used more or less as a very advanced AI program. I don't want to spoil more, but let's just say it ends up being a lot of copies of Bob. But already by the point of Bob 1.0 being awake, the original Bob from the intro to the book is dead. He actually never got to experience the future. It seems he did from any outsiders perspective, as his copy is him. But from his perspective, it all cut to black the instant he died.
So that's the problem, and that's why I am personally no longer caring about a potential Singularity. I am never going to experience it. My entire brain would have to be scooped out and hooked up to something for that to happen. From an outside view any of us could live forever as a digital copy, but from my perspective I will just die. I have never been afraid of death, I think, because I am 100% certain there is nothing after. But I have also had a small hope I might be able to live long enough to be crammed into the virtual space, experience eons of human progress, travel out to the stars. I now, finally, understand while there is a slim chance that might happen it still won't be me who experience it. And I must admit, it kinda bums me out. Enough for me feeling I had to write this down somewhere. To bum more people out.