Maybe it was a little sad to say goodbye to your physical body, but, at least you still have your consciousness, your mind, and your memories stored safely in the cloud. And in the virtual world, anything that was once real, physical, and finite, can simply be replaced.
But, is this really you? Is eternal youth and everlasting life all that it’s made out to be?
Or is there a dark side to cloud consciousness? What could go wrong?
The science of being able to digitize your brain and upload it to the cloud is highly controversial and, ultimately, inconclusive. Some experts say the technology will never exist, but others promise that we’ll have it by 2050.
In fact, there’s already a waitlist. An American startup called Nectome claims that through a process called vitrifixation, they can preserve both the external and internal structure of your brain in perfect microscopic detail.
They do this by replacing the blood flow in your brain with embalming chemicals, basically turning your meaty processor into frozen glass. And if you have haven’t already guessed it, you can’t survive this procedure… at least, not physically.
In theory, you’ll “live” forever, but that’s only if Nectome figures out how to upload your brain to the cloud, and then revive it. Let’s assume they do.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote that, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. But it turns out, immortality might come at an even higher price.
Opting to be uploaded into the cloud might have some unforseen consequences. Today, the cloud is pretty much just virtual storage. You pay a company a monthly fee to store all your family photos so that their awkwardness doesn’t slow down your computer!
But now we’re talking about you; and all your unique traits, and special qualities, and all the wonderful things you have to offer the world, being uploaded to a server which probably isn’t powered by a benevolent and somewhat scary looking bearded man in the sky.
More likely, your eHeaven will be run by some tech giant, who will have access to your life’s worth of data, along with everyone else’s. Your continued existence would be subscription based, requiring you to pay for storage and maintenance on some high-tech server.
Your new home, and, I suppose your identity as well, will look like this. Because this is really what the cloud is. It’s basically a wide interconnected network of warehouses that are filled with hard drives, and spread across multiple locations so that your data can be saved in several places at once; just in case one of these warehouses were to go offline.
So unless you were rich enough to build your own little private network of hard drives, the term “home office” takes on a very dark meaning…
Would the company you
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- “Russian Mogul’s Plan: Plant Our Brains In Robots, Keep Them Alive Forever”. Louise Matsakis, and Lily Newman. 2019. WIRED. Accessed August 21 2019.