For reasons that should be obvious, I was keen to see Johnny Depp’s new film – Transcendence.
Then I read the reviews. The Rotten Tomatoes site (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/) only gave it one star. One Star? How could a film featuring both Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany only rate one star? It must really be utter rubbish.
Perhaps the critics and movie going public are struggling with the film’s central premise. Johnny Depp plays a scientific genius working on a mega quantum computer ( much like Dadabulous). That for a start strains credulity. After being fatally injured by neo-luddites he has just enough time to up load his consciousness on to said mega computer. The digital Johnny then asks to be hooked up to the interwebs and proceeds to use the entirety of human knowledge to take over the world.
The idea of humans becoming digitally immortal is a common sci-fi plot device – that means the human brain is transferred into cyberspace and hence lives on forever fighting off spammers and Russian hackers. Some serious scientific types believe its a real possibility for the not so distant future. Stephen Hawkings for instance supports the idea (he also thinks information leaks out of black holes – whatever that means).
Ray Kurzweil, the renowned futurist and head of engineering at Google honestly believes the interwebs will be awash with uploaded brains by 2045. (I’ll be 75 then – just in time to get on board.) This goes to show that overpaid techies have some odd ideas.
I say “what the heck?” I’m prepared to accept some far out concepts for the sake of entertainment – like mutants with superpowers, time travel, intergalactic space flight and the Norse God of Mischief slipping through the time space continuum and conquering the earth*. ( In fact I’m all for the latter scenario. Loki is far more trustworthy than Tony Abbot and is welcome to wink at me anytime. I ask – who would you rather see in lycra?)
What I can’t swallow is the notion that a man (I am being sexist) with his consciousness permanently plugged into the internet would be capable of world domination. Upon upload most men would head straight to a website with the words “big n’ bouncy” in the domain name never to be heard of again. My own husband, (god bless) would make a beeline for the Bunnings online catalogue – a place where comparing the size of drill bits is not a euphemism. There his disembodied mind would fritter away several decades looking for a screw.
He’d most likely spend a few years pranking still living friends by hacking into their bank accounts and writing “for male escort services rendered” next to any deposits. ( His posse find that schtick uproarious). Then he’d spend the rest of time jumping between MMOs – that’s Massive Multiplayer Online games for those not clued up on nerd speak.
Whilst we are being sexist, it is unlikely that an uploaded female brain would fare much better. Not when there is so much online shopping to be had let alone the temptation to fall down a Pinterest rabbit hole for eternity.
As for myself, living inside the interwebs would give me the chance to read and comment on all the blogs I’ve been meaning to get around to. Eventually I’d take the scenic route to Pinterest via Shirtless British Men of Tumblr and distract myself by pinning some Shirtless British Men. Currently my Pinterest is full of
It could use a spruce up. However as long as I have a consciousness my Pin Boards will remain a cupcake free zone.
In the future it seems the transition between life (as we know it Jim) and death will be barely noticeable for most first worlders. Yet it sounds like some kind of purgatory to me. You know that feeling you get when you aimlessly scroll through Facebook or Twitter thinking that you’re wasting your life? – extrapolate that to infinity. Personally I don’t want to achieve immortality through a brain upload. I want to achieve it by not dying.**
Digital mind uploads – Heaven or Hell? And where would your consciousness hang out?
* This is a reference to the Avenger’s & Thor films in case you are totally ignorant 😉
** Borrowed from a Woody Allen line. I know Woody has done some bad stuff but its still a great line.