Though healthcare will progress over the next half-century, humans do not seem to be on a rocket ride to attain perfection by eliminating all diseases. However, we are on a good trajectory with technologies that allow us to store enormously large volumes of data and run gigantic models. So, even before we realize how our brains function, we may find ourselves able to digitally replicate the brain’s structure and upload our conscious mind to a machine. Let us call it silicon or digital consciousness.
A sophisticated form of digital upgradation may enable us to stay alive even after our human body’s death by recreating ourselves in a virtual environment (like a Matrix), in other words, a computer simulation put together around a set of rules (physics?). There will be a whole new set of economic and political principles of this new reality (afterlife?). Think about it as the set of items you could buy with those game coins that you keep on collecting when you are on a game mission (Is life a game?). Once you’re being uploaded to this new reality, you might also be able to watch a telecast of the death of your outer, real-world body.
Interestingly, there may be a chance that human beings may choose not to transfer the knowledge of their existence and about the earth to this new species with digital consciousness. The intelligence of this sort may always pose a danger to our existence while we experiment with human brains’ possibilities. A baby is unknown to the environment outside of a womb but can only appreciate the incoming through the umbilical cord. The energy in the form of computational power may be supplied to ensure the continuation of life in this new setup. Until the time we can not decipher the resurrection process, we may always continue to download this uploaded consciousness into a new human body (rebirth?).
How do we choose which consciousness (computer node?) will own the new human body? There may exist a set of principles that can clarify such a classification (karma?). However, there can be situations when the intent to participate in the cycles of consciousness preservation through silicon interventions may not be the preferred choice of a subject (nirvana?). In an ideal world, we may become the creator of laws for a whole new set of silicon realities, but what if we can not observe outside of what is being put out to us from the umbilical cord, for the fear of poking around the laws of a reality that is unknown to us?
It boils down to this primary question – Are we living in a simulated reality with carbon consciousness?
Vedang R. Vatsa is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. He is a recent Young Researcher awardee and holds MTech and MBA degrees. He has represented the Indian delegation at various national and international stages. With 10+ years of academic and professional learnings, he currently works as an IT and Management Consultant.