What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Story Bone

Okay for me, personally, I don't believe the Singularity will arrive. However, I think there would be some interesting consequences of a "near miss." Like this one.

For heart transplants (and almost any open heart surgery), they actually do kill you and put some of your vital processes (breathing, circulatory, etc) on machines while they remove your heart and place in the new one. There also has been some experimental surgery where organs are removed to bath them in some solution to affect some change (I want to say liver "cleaning") and then replace them in your body.

In the future, if they're able to upload your consciousness to a computer (and here, let us say that it's a backup copy so to speak, not an actual virtual construct) that opens up all sorts of brain surgery options. Like for "inoperable" brain tumors. So in the future, the doctors open your skull, upload your consciousness and then, say, destroy part of your brain for clinical purposes, and then use stem cells to repair the damaged sections. Once your brain has regrown and your body is stable, they upload your conscious back into the body.

There are several permutations to this story. Obviously your body still holds a continuing consciousness. A probably severely disabled consciousness. But doesn't that consciousness have agency? What if it doesn't want to be over ridden by the previously saved version?

What if something goes wrong in the transfer? Processing transcription errors, corrupted files, the regrown brain doesn't exactly match to the old one so engrams are missed or cross written, or the nascent AIs that assist the transfer overwrite the personality with their own? The files are pretty big and there's a lot of them, what if they mistakenly upload the wrong one (first impression, they upload a copy of a serial killer's brain that had been being studied).

What if AIs could purchase people's bodies (like the "organ donation for pay" urban myths, note the donor doesn't always give consent) and live autonomously?

I did use a version of this in a story. Instead of cryogenics, the astronauts would be upload to the ship's computer memory and their bodies disassembled. When they reach the destination the bodies are reassembled and their brains reloaded.


Dan Berlyoung said...

What about the "left over" copy from a teleport mechanism? It reads the original you, makes a new copy somewhere else and then destroys the original you.

I saw a new Outer Limits (or Twilight Zone, can't remember) that explored this once. It was on the far side of the moon and dinosaurs had returned to earth to bring this technology to us. We had a human there with a dinosaur and he had the job of "balancing the equation" and hitting the big red "destroy" button after confirmation of a good transfer. There was a glitch in communication once and he hesitated. Then had to deal with two copies of a woman and the consequences.

Dan Berlyoung said...

Think Like A Dinosaur - Outer Limits


Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Dan, yeah, that was an excellent story (I think it was a short story first). And it does go along with that scenario of "what if the damaged you doesn't agree with having the old you reloaded?"