First appeared in The Apple
Newsletter of LAMALUG, Mac User Group of Lansing, MI
TIME MACHINE - Part
Good grief! I just saw the movie Total
Recall. And I thought I was being so original. (Way too much
violence but the 1st part is worth the rental for the ideas
alone.) People were taking vacations to Mars without leaving their
home, and they could also become someone else during their stay.
Would you choose to vacation as a famous personality or a secret
agent? A perfect vacation without exhausting flights, lost
luggage, or bad weather. As much or as little excitement as you'd
like, all in your mind and with no real physical danger to you
regardless of your choices.
I guess the only thing to talk about now
is where I left off at the end of the last article - eventually we
will give up our bodies altogether. First, we'll find ways to save
the essence of a person in software. If someone is killed in an
accident, we'll be able to create a clone of them and download
their personality and their memory into the clone. I guess that's
when we'll find out what the soul is all about. Either we'll have
our old buddy back with us, or it'll be some empty "Night of the
Living Dead" substitute.
Regardless, that will only be one step.
Once we can store our personality in some form, we'll find a way
to "live" without a body. It may sound farfetched until you
consider this; some amputees suffer from a weird problem where
they "feel" their phantom limb. That may give you some idea of the
power of our mind to completely imagine a nonexistent part of
ourselves. For this future, I've been talking about a much more
powerful mind - where everyone is a genius with photographic
memory and all information since the beginning of time available
to everyone. If you can exist without a body, and yet feel
absolutely as if you had a body, the question becomes; what's the
point of maintaining a body?
Some advantages of giving up our shell:
Since you won't actually breath (you could still feel as though
you did) clean air won't be important. You can go anywhere,
anytime, with whomever you please inside your mind absolutely as
though you were there. In fact, you'd have no way of knowing the
difference. Talk about your Star Trek transporters...! You can
look any way you can imagine, and your friends and partners can
look as you'd like, or you can let them tell you how they'd like
to look to you.
It's interesting that some of the
questions asked by philosophers take on strange meaning here; Is
life real or an illusion? Or is everything except myself an
illusion and all other people created within my mind for my
amusement? I think, therefore I am... uh, at least I think I
We'll be able to extend and perhaps add
to our senses rather than be limited to seven (sense of humor
counts as one doesn't it?). We might choose to hear high
frequencies that dogs now hear . Maybe we'll want to "see" the
sounds. We can already use a computer to do that. Or maybe it
would be of interest to be able to see in the infrared light
spectrum. You could have sex that would last as long as you like
with whomever you fantasize - without disease or birth control
problems. Using up earth's natural resources for heat, clothing,
food, shelter and entertainment will be a thing of the past. Not
only will it be unnecessary, even if it were to continue it would
be of no harm to we new human beings. World hunger vanquished.
There will be no shortages in the very real world of the software
Animosity would have long ago been
eliminated as expert systems help grow mentally healthy young
people. Anyone will also be able to use expert systems to help
them negotiate "win - win" situations where everyone can live with
the outcome. People might then choose to experience conflict as a
history lesson about what it was like to be a human being before
the 22nd century.
Trends and fads will spring up and sweep
the population like brush fire and disappear just as quickly.
There will probably be some viruses, but they won't be from
maliciousness. Just the byproduct of people trying to entertain
themselves in new and exciting ways.
I'm not clear as to how this gigantic
database will be maintained. I'm not exactly picturing a bunch of
silicone chips hooked up to the turbines at Grand Coulee Dam.
Besides, the accumulated knowledge will grow exponentially so that
this collective memory/intellect will eventually double every
hour, then every minute and then every second. What could contain
it? Well, I guess I'll have to wait a hundred years to write the