The Space-body question

Has the singularity arrived? Not yet, but we can see it from here.

Metal/silicon based computers will probably not be able to mimic or replicate human intelligence in the near future. However, they are currently able to crunch enough numbers to literally read (and record) human thought processes. Since most thoughts, feelings and dreams can be seen and recorded by machines, it’s possible that one’s thoughts and one’s emotional selfhood ** could, in the near future, be downloaded.

A computer’s ability to read that kind of data implies that we may someday be able to download ideas and concepts onto a remote database in the same way we blog, without the annoyance of typing.

We’ve also made a lot of progress in the field of biomimetics (bionics). We’re heading towards the point where we will be able to replace most parts of the human body, either through artificial implants or cloning.

We’ve already created a form of contact lens that can cure some forms of blindness. Other “bionic eyes” can transmit data across your field of vision, a kind of contact-lens iPhone. Combined with a subdermal implanted chip, it can also transmit information about one’s health to a computer manned by medical technicians. In the not-too-far future, these kinds of lenses/subdermal chips could be used to record all information about a person’s thoughts and emotional/physical well being. After a person dies, their accumulated knowledge could be stored, read, or transported.

I’m sure Google is working on this right now :-)

With the right combination of all the above technologies, annoying problems in space and time travel become solvable. It will probably take us centuries to be able to create an artificial intelligence that can think or emote the way we do (like the Cylons who improbably evolved from mindless robots to humanoids with reproductive ability in a ridiculously short period of time) but the ability to copy and download our existing consciousness from one storage unit to another could be do-able by the end of this century.

So, if we wanted to travel from point A to point B, instead of moving our delicate, high maintenance bodies, we could transmit the data from one bio-storage unit to another, from body A on earth to machine body B on mars. Machine body B explores mars while body A stays home, gets work done and analyzes data.

Or consciousness could be transmitted from body A in 2145 AD and immediately read by body B in 2147. Or vise versa. If we see space and time travel as the transmission of data/consciousness rather than as the transportation of bodies, all sorts of possibilities open up. Transmitting data through space is easier than transmitting cumbersome bodies, and it’s likely that data could be transmitted through time as well.

While data/consciousness couldn’t travel faster than the speed of light, it’s more likely to be able to travel (and survive the trip) through “warped” space-times, wormholes or superluminal travel through a timespace curved.

In a recent episode of the “Sarah Connor Chronicles”*, the robot John Henry laments the fact that human souls can’t be ‘downloaded.’ That really is the key to the transcendence of the singularity.

* The illustration above uses an illustration for the “Sarah Connor Chronicles” combined with NASA’s image of “NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud”.

** Link thanks to Infidel 753


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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