Maybe it was a little sad to say goodbye to your physical body, but, at least you still have your consciousness, your mind, and your memories stored safely in the cloud. And in the virtual world, anything that was once real, physical, and finite, can simply be replaced.
But, is this really you? Is eternal youth and everlasting life all that it’s made out to be?
Or is there a dark side to cloud consciousness? What could go wrong?
The science of being able to digitize your brain and upload it to the cloud is highly controversial and, ultimately, inconclusive. Some experts say the technology will never exist, but others promise that we’ll have it by 2050.
In fact, there’s already a waitlist. An American startup called Nectome claims that through a process called vitrifixation, they can preserve both the external and internal structure of your brain in perfect microscopic detail.
They do this by replacing the blood flow in your brain with embalming chemicals, basically turning your meaty processor into frozen glass. And if you have haven’t already guessed it, you can’t survive this procedure… at least, not physically.
In theory, you’ll “live” forever, but that’s only if Nectome figures out how to upload your brain to the cloud, and then revive it. Let’s assume they do.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote that, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. But it turns out, immortality might come at an even higher price.
Opting to be uploaded into the cloud might have some unforseen consequences. Today, the cloud is pretty much just virtual storage. You pay a company a monthly fee to store all your family photos so that their awkwardness doesn’t slow down your computer!
But now we’re talking about you; and all your unique traits, and special qualities, and all the wonderful things you have to offer the world, being uploaded to a server which probably isn’t powered by a benevolent and somewhat scary looking bearded man in the sky.
More likely, your eHeaven will be run by some tech giant, who will have access to your life’s worth of data, along with everyone else’s. Your continued existence would be subscription based, requiring you to pay for storage and maintenance on some high-tech server.
Your new home, and, I suppose your identity as well, will look like this. Because this is really what the cloud is. It’s basically a wide interconnected network of warehouses that are filled with hard drives, and spread across multiple locations so that your data can be saved in several places at once; just in case one of these warehouses were to go offline.
So unless you were rich enough to build your own little private network of hard drives, the term “home office” takes on a very dark meaning…
Would the company you subscribe to be able to profit from their access to your mind, memories, and talents? What stops you from being copied and coded as some kind of A.I.?
And then, what if we got into androids or surrogacy? If technology advances to the point where we can cheat death, why not cheat age or health?
For the first time ever, you could have the body you’ve always wanted. Forever!
But if you couldn’t afford a top of the line model, what might you be forced to settle for? But actually, what’s far more likely than you becoming an android, or having your brain stored in the cloud, is having your brain stored in a box!
Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov is currently developing what he calls a happiness box. It’s basically a computer that can send sensations to your brain, just like your body does today.
In fact, the happiness box is being developed to replace your body. If you don’t totally get it, think of the movie The Matrix. That might be the closest thing to immortality.
So what would you choose? The red pill? Or the blue pill?
Right now, we don’t need to worry about it! Without knowing if the technology will exist, or when it will become available, the most important question we should be asking ourselves is how to make the most of the limited time we have.
- “Will We Ever Be Able to Upload a Mind to a New Body?” Elderkin, Beth, 2019. gizmodo.com. Accessed August 21 2019.
- “Why You’Ll Never Be Able To Upload Your Brain To The Cloud”. Nicolas, Rougier, 2019. Iflscience. Accessed August 21 2019.
- “In A Future Of Mind Uploading, Will You Still Be You, And Who Will Own Your Mind? – Richard Van Hooijdonk Blog”. 2018. Richard Van Hooijdonk Blog. Accessed August 21 2019.
- “You Might Be Able To Upload Your Mind Into An Android Body By 2050”. Nelson, Bryan, 2019. MNN – Mother Nature Network. Accessed August 21 2019.
- “When You’Re Electronically Immortal, Will You Still Own Your Own Mind?”. 2018. The More Accurate Guide To The Future. Accessed August 21 2019.
- “Would You Upload Your Brain To The Cloud? – Mindful”. Begley, Sharon, 2018. Mindful. Accessed August 21 2019.
- “The Singularity Is Near: Mind Uploading By 2045?”. Lewis, Tanya. 2013. livescience.com. Accessed August 21 2019.
- “Live Forever In A Happiness Box And Never Die”. JEFFREY A. CORKERN, 2017. futurism.media. Accessed August 21 2019.
- “Russian Mogul’s Plan: Plant Our Brains In Robots, Keep Them Alive Forever”. Louise Matsakis, and Lily Newman. 2019. WIRED. Accessed August 21 2019.