In our next few blog posts, we will be examining some emerging technologies. Check back with us in a few weeks for the next installment and thanks for reading!
Technology is advancing at a rate that it is impossible to keep up with it all. Some of the things that are happening are awe inspiring and some of them are super scary. We have self driving cars that, if utilized correctly, could result in dramatically reduced traffic congestion and also very reduced deadly traffic accidents. Mind uploading wants to take your mind (memories, personality, consciousness) and upload them to a server/network (non-organic). Let’s look at some of the arguments for and against these two emerging technologies.
Self Driving Cars
While Google isn’t the only company that’s working on this, they are the most well known. Some of the others are GM, Volvo and BMW just to name a few. Freightliner has started testing on self driving trucks in Nevada. Google has been permitted to test self driving cars on populated city streets and everyone from celebrities to politicians have had a chance to experience the cars firsthand. Imagine getting into your car, already cooled or warmed depending on the weather, selecting your destination by either a preset or by using a map application and then doing nothing more than allowing your car to drive you to work. Simple. Think back to the “Johnny Cab” in Total Recall only without the “Johnny”. If Google has it’s way, we will no longer be using humans as the main component of transportation. In the U.S., the push to create V2V (vehicle to vehicle) software is gaining traction within even the largest of automobile manufacterers. By 2017, many manufacterers hope to have software installed in their vehicles that all but stops deadly accidents by allowing the cars to “talk” to one another. Where does this leave pilots, truck drivers, taxi drivers or delivery drivers? More than likely, it leaves them looking for new jobs.
If self driving cars don’t make you feel like you are living in the future, mind uploading will. Literally the stuff that even science fiction strays far from, mind uploading is playing God on a level that humans have never even considered. Mind uploading makes cloning look like childs play. My first experience with the idea of mind uploading was the movie “The Lawnmower Man”. It was a very forward thinking movie for its time and I have never looked back on wanting to be able to upload my mind like Jeff Fahey did. The power that comes with such a move would be undeniable. The most recent movie to show this type of overwhelming power is the movie Trancendence with Johnny Depp. The main complication with the organic brain is being able to download the information fast enough and the capacity to do so (storage). With a neural, non-organic network, capacity, space, storage and download speed would be a problem of the past. We would be limited only by the size of the pipes and the amount of energy we had at our disposal. There are so many ethical questions that remain unanswered such as – will there be a backup of my mind. If so, does that backup sync with my active “production” self, which would mean that there are actually two of me. If this is the case, and my backup decides that he is the active production (as I know I would) and gets out to the free web, what would happen? Will there be laws governing my uploaded mind. If so, what if my backup commits a crime? These and other question of morality and ethics are far from being answered as we are still working on just being able to actually perform a whole brain emulation. So far, we have succeeded in whole brain emulation with worms. We need to completely map the human brain before we can begin human trials. Many transhumanists believe that mind uploading is the only way we will survive artificial intelligence. Until then, doctors in France are preparing to perform the first ever whole human head transplant. This will take place in 2017 and already has a human volunteer. Other than those who work on A.I., transhumanists are some of the most hated and vilified of all scientists. People react differently to massive change, and this change will change the course of humanity forever. How the world will handle this change remains to be seen.
Whether you embrace technology or you shy from it until it meets your needs, eventually you will not be able to avoid it. Technology is invasive and emotionless and warrants respect. No one is saying you have to buy a car that drives you around or that you have to upload your mind in order to live forever, but why not?