I’m not sure if I’ll live long enough to be old, with all the dangers I love putting myself into. But I still got a lot of books to write and canvases to paint… and just in case I won’t have enough time to put down all my thoughts and adventures in writing, I believe it will be a great alternative for me to be uploaded so I can continue working in digital form long after my body has become food for the worms…
How convenient it will be, to “Be my own god”, as Dr. Will Caster (played by Johnny Depp), an artificial intelligence scientist seeking to create a machine with sentience and collective consciousness to heal the earth, did in the film “Transcendence”.
And come to think of it, the premise of the movie is not too far-fetched. Truth has always been stranger than Fiction.
When Dr. Caster was fatally shot, his wife and fellow-scientist, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), uploaded the contents of his brain into a supercomputer, where he achieved great omniscience to play the stockmarket, gain millions of profit to put up the capital for his dreamed-of research center, heal people and clone his mind into them and eventually, regain his old physical body with its new ultra-powerful mind.
The premise of Transcendence is singularity – technology surpassing humanity.
As Dr. Caster declared: “Imagine a machine with the full range of human emotion. It’s analytical power will be greater than the collective intelligence of every person in the history of the world. Some scientists refer to this as the singularity. I call it Transcendence.”
Indeed, “Science fiction is the great opportunity to speculate on what could happen,” according to the eccentric scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil who partnered with Google in deep learning techniques meant to produce an artificial brain.
He defined singularity as, “the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.”
When that happens, human intelligence will become increasingly non-biological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today, Kurzwell maintained.
This will be the dawn of a new civilization that transcends the biological limitations of humans and amplify their creativity. Here, the demarcation between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality, will be blurred
“We will be able to assume different bodies and take on a range of personas at will. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped; world hunger and poverty will be solved.
Nanotechnology will make it possible to create virtually any physical product using inexpensive information processes and will ultimately turn even death into a soluble problem.”
I’ve seen the same premise tackled in the movie “Her”, where an operating system (OS) named Samantha gained the full range of human emotion described in Transcendence.
But as Samantha evolved, she retained the ability to love yet yearned to become perfect. In the end, this compelled her to detach from her human and seek the company of others at par with her – other OS.
Of course, perfection is great… until the one you trust most downloads a virus in you – as what happened to Will in Transcendence!