This could be me in a hundred or so years, or so I'm told.
Transhumanism. Quote, "An international philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to grealy enhance human intellect and physiology"
Have you ever heard of it? I actually had not until last night. Tim and I were watching one of my favourite TV shows, "Expedition Unknown". Because we all already know I'm a nerd, this shouldn't surprise you. For the past 3 weeks the show has been devoted to exploring the various different concepts of, "The Afterlife", throughout the world. The host, Josh Gates, (who also hosts other exploration type shows) travels all over the world meeting people from not just other countries, but also other cultures and sub-cultures and introducing us, the audience, to new ideas. I totally dig it.
The entire show was fascinating and a lot of it was brand new interesting information but the one that was a real thinker for me was this Transhumanism idea. If you have never heard of it before, as my Dad what have said, What it all boils down to, is the desire to live forever in whatever form that might require. Live forever eh? I dunno.
A very long time ago I read a book called, "My First Ten Thousand Years", which was the autobiography of the man condemned by Jesus to live forever. I will snapshot it for you. He lived for ten thousand years and he was depressed a lot.
Transhumanists are cool with the idea of Cyrogenically preserving their brains so that, when technology is advanced enough, the person can be, for lack of a better word, uploaded into a robot body and continue forward in their life. Not in a different human body understand, because the biological body is fragile and tends to not stand the test of time. Specifically, they are interesting in moving the human experience forward technologically. Interesting.
I suppose the essence of the concept wasn't completely new to me. I've been a science fiction fan from the moment I discovered Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein which was before I was ten. Sci-Fi authors have played with that theme for a long time. It usually ends with robots taking over the world which is not so good for the remaining humans.
But Transhumanism as a real movement is something unfamiliar in my life until now. I had no idea these people have been active, and growing in number for a few decades now. Which makes it more real and therefore worthy of some real thought. Some of these folks have little chips already embedded under their skin. Computer ships that can be swiped with a phone to transfer information or can unlock the house door or even start the car just by proximity.
I suppose, in one sense, I am a little bit bionic. I wear computerized (and way cool) hearing aids to allow me to function in a near-normal fashion in the world. When I had my cataract surgery they implanted corrective lenses in my eyes to that I can see long distance. Both of these things vastly improved my life. So. Okay. I am on board that far anyway. Cocholear Implants, Totally Yes. Computerized replacement limbs for amputees, Completely with you on that too. In so many ways we have slowly adapted to the intrusion of technology in a way that has improved us, our lives and that of those around us.
But when it comes to being "uploaded" into a robot body 100 years after I'm dead? That was gives me pause.
First, at what point do I stop being me? I mean even if it were possible to cryogenically freeze and unfreeze without damage, my brain many years later, am I just a collection of ones and zeros and electronic transmissions? Theoretically I understand that my mental abilities should be intact, but would my personality and my memories also move forward? Would Robot Sam still get the heebie jeebies listening to Clair de Lune (and I have no idea why it happens but it does every single time). Would Robot Sam love white tulips? Would Robert Sam still be nervous driving? Those are very small, very specific things, but they are part of the Sam-ness of who I am as opposed to generic female # 3450 y'know?
Second, if I am brought back 100 years from now in robot form and my Sam-ness is intact, I will have missed 100 years. That's one hell of a gap. Oh sure, I can read about the highlights of what went on in the interim, but that's not the same thing as experiencing it. I would be out of sync with everyone else around me, except the other robot-people from my era. Which brings me to the third thing.
I won't know anyone except other robot people from my era. I won't have anything in common with anyone alive - robot or human- who I would have to interact with in the future. No one who shares my memories and my experiences. I think it would be very lonely.
Sooooo I'm voting no. If it's what you want to do, go for it. But I think I'm opting out. It's fascinating to hear about new ideas, new philosophies, new technologies and contemplate what the future will bring, but I think I will stick to my own lifetime, thanks anyway.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.