Thursday, July 2, 2009


Uploading your brain into a computer in order to achieve a higher existence and become one with the singularity is an interesting idea. Eternal life would be yours, so long as you avoid the Recycle Bin. At your fingertips would be the immense speed of a bazillion computers or so.

But wait a second.

Where does all my brain data go? Can I really trust Mr. Server hosting it? Would I be charged rent? Sure, I could drift across the internet lazily but then I'd be exposed to all sorts of malicious code out to rend my brain and make me a virtual vegetable. Or even deleted. I am unsure whether or not I'd be able to afford it (both initial investment and presumably some kind of monthly cost to hold my brain data). Oh, what a mess.

It has to go somewhere. Perhaps a giant robot? I'd need a mechanic. And spare parts. A power supply. Preferably a good sensor set (I'd like to continue being able to watch my garden grow, thank you, or taste a ripe tomato and so on). All of those aren't cheap.

Would I even want to 'live' forever? Sure, it sounds nice and all, but at some point wouldn't you grow a little senile? Or bored? Part of the fun of life is the urgency with which we live it. And my non-uploaded friends would wither and die, would I want to watch that?

I suppose my 'data' would be uploaded into some virtual world, but what would be the fun in that? If I knew I could create and do anything I wanted, I think I'd get bored fast. The possibilities would be infinite, but also tiring. "Ok, another Gor roleplay Matrix. Whoop-de-freaking-do." I'm not very imaginative, so I imagine it'd be boring after a while.

And now that I think about, I think the biggest question would be: would I even be myself?

I upload my brain into the computer. But it's not really me: it's just a compilation of my thoughts, behaviors, fears, memories, and so on that the computer recorded. That set of data might have its own consciousness, but it wouldn't be me. I'd still be the sack of meat left behind. Me as the person would only notice my data being downloaded. I'd go on to live the rest of my life pretty oblivious to what virtual me was doing (who thinks she is the real me, when I'm really the real me, although we're both me technically).

I'd still die. My imprint would march on, but Anna Tsiolkovsky would die. Oh bugger. Uploading my brain wouldn't help me achieve immortality in the physical sense. Unless a giant needle inserted into the back of my head was required, I wouldn't notice at all.

I suppose uploading my brain into the singularity would be like having a kid: after it's born, it does its own thing. If you're after a monument, a testament to generations to come, something to show the future who you were and who you were like, then uploading would be nice. But in terms of helping you live forever in a perfect blissful virtual world, keep dreaming. You won't feel a thing.

A copy of me helps little to avoid death in the long run. My body, my own grey matter, with its quirky and faulty neurons making me who I am (or who I aren't, either why) would die and disintegrate.

But hey, my copy would be running around the world, assuring everyone I'm alive and well as I'm wasting away and later rotting in a coffin.

In fact, it might make life horrible for me, because I'd just be some leftover, a shell, a physical ghost of my digitalized self. My clone would continue on, claiming to be me (which is true, to an extant) and everyone would probably just ignore little ol' meat body me.

That's scary.


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