Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to Be in Two or More Places at Once

If you are en route to getting your bachelor's degree in science fiction, this is probably a 100 or 200-level course. Anyhow, here are some pseudoscientific observations:

Your body is like the hardware of a computer, with key peripherals installed. Your brain, which is part of your body, is like a hard disk drive.

Your mind is like the operating system/file system of the computer, installed in your brain.

Your consciousness is like a very important piece of the operating system, like the main system driver mixed with the license to legally run the operating system.

Your memories are like various computer files on a hard drive (long term) or in your RAM (short term).

If we add or delete memories from your mind, you are still you no matter what. If a disease or brain surgery robs you of your memories, your consciousness still defines who you are from your point of view.

If we copy-and-paste your consciousness (and memories) onto another body or piece of hardware, that copied consciousness (with memories) is not you. The copy might think it's you, but you are the original consciousness (with or without memories) that resides in your body. You - the original consciousness - cannot experience what your copied consciousness experiences from the time the copied consciousness is installed onto the new hardware. If your consciousness goes away, you do not live on in the copy, and vice versa. Both the original and copied consciousnesses are like identical twins separated later in life (not in the early stages of cell division in the womb).

If we cut-and-paste your consciousness from your body to, say, a computer, there is a good chance you are now aware of being the consciousness of a computer. Your body will either be a comatose "vegetable" or an appropriately brain-hungry zombie from the time of consciousness transfer.

If we install syncing hardware and software into both your brain and the hard drive of a computer, then copy-and-paste your sync-ready consciousness to the computer, there is a good chance that you will be able to be two places at once: Your own body and in a computer. You will be able to simultaneously experience new things as the human you currently are and as a separate computer with a synced consciousness.

At first, your consciousness might only be strong enough to use experience your human life while awake (with the computer on standby/hibernate), and then experience computer life during another time period (with your body asleep/comatose). Technology and/or willpower will enhance your consciousness to simultaneously be an awake/active human as well as a operating/processing computer. In that case, congratulations. You can now be two places at once.

As technology and the strength of your consciousness increases, you might be able to sync yourself with multiple devices, mechanical and organic. You can upgrade the hardware (and software) to a certain point. You can be an early adopter for new bodies and computers for copies of your consciousness to sync. You can retire and recycle obsolete and failing equipment. You are still YOU as long as a sync-ready copy of YOU is still around.

You have the option of interacting with other consciousnesses, but that will exponentially increase the intensity of positive and negative interactions. You also have the option of filling entire planets, star systems, and galaxies with YOU if you so choose - to the exclusion of other people, in total cosmic loneliness. If YOU are strong enough, maybe you can absorb everyone else (and their memories), and YOU become the dominant consciousness.

There may be problems with the syncing platform. Some copies might not want to be a part of the hive mind that is YOU. A rogue copied consciousness will become its own individual. Depending on the consciousness' acquired/mutated/evolved personality, it would either resign to being finite (as we are now) or want to expand as a competing, multi-location consciousness.

It is obvious that I am a megalomaniac of comic book supervillain proportions from this rant. There is also a chance that I may have described the theology/cosmology of various Eastern religions: A unified Consciousness with omnipresence and cosmic loneliness, followed by pieces of the consciousness becoming their own individuals, then stuff happens, and that's where we are right now. In this scenario, the goal of the "rogue consciousnesses" is to live and relive until all are part of the original, unified Consciousness. Then the process begins again.

Come to think of it, this mostly applies to Judeo-Christian creation/eschatology, too: An omnipresent God is quite lonely as a singularity/trinity, so He creates a Universe out of nothing (which is really from Himself, so it's really out of something), then stuff happens, and that's where we are right now. In this scenario, the goal is for the worthy/saved individuals to live forever with the omnipresent God, to the exclusion of the rest, so it's not as neat of an ending as the previous scenario.

I'm no scientist, but I can fictionalize that this rant applies to astrophysics too: A singularity expands in a big bang as all sorts of material that is the Universe; the material becomes stars, some of which spawn planets; in turn, some planets produce life; eventually, there is a form of megalomanial life that can not only rant on this topic, but make good on this technology; the strongest consciousness absorbs the rest, just in time for everything to nicely compact into a singularity once again; we repeat the process again.

In any case, this is how to be in two or more places at once using cutting edge and/or blasphemous (depending on your beliefs) technology that has not yet been produced by Earth human beings as of March 22, in the Year of our Lord/Common Era (depending on your beliefs, again) 2009. I wonder if I can patent this technology if I mock up blueprints for this scheme. That would surely be a wise use of money in this sluggish economy!

One more thing: With time travel sort of covered previously, it might be possible for some of copies of your consciousness to travel through time onto selected devices, as long as that specific hardware exists in both points of time travel. Syncing memories between devices might be tricky, however. Also, depending on your hardware and/or willpower, you might need a Constant to prevent your system from crashing.

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