The year of Our Lord 2052, speaking in pre-Singularity language, is in full swing.
These days our Lords are many. The pantheon is rather overcrowded. All of them are immortal, of course. Their individual embodiment varies. Some still in possession of their mortal flesh, others, something or roam around holographic islands in holographic form, while several have chosen not to bother and live simple fully digitized, just like the rest of us, simple folks.
There is Vernor Vinge, Ray Kurzweil, John Smart and then, of course, brothers Zuker-Brin (I think there must be at least three of them), and also this Russian guy, Dmitry Something-or-another, whose foolhardy hologram is easily recognized for the ridiculous sweaters it wears.
In fact, we all are fully digitized. Nothing to it. It would be dumb not to do the ultimate upload into cyber-self, in this age of Technological Singularity.
My personal digital twin is a stunner. I choose the option of randomized composite of physical beauty and then fine-tuned the coloring, and voilà!
Not that I’m all that unhappy about my own appearance, but you wouldn’t want to be the ugliest digitvidual out there, would you?
Mine is amazingly capable digitvidual. Learns new stuff every minute. Keeps me totally in the moment. That is, when I bother to check on her. Lately, she developed some new interests, which should’ve been mine if I kept track of what she is up to. Such as politics, for instance.
Our fully-digitized-Singularly-advanced government seems to be busy debating constitutionality of forming family units by our digitized twins. Cyber-selves want to get married and live happily ever after without regard to us, the flesh and blood originals. Mindbogglingly complex issue, to think of it. But thinking is boring. No one is doing it anymore anyway, except for our forever-evolving digital selves. Or, perhaps, they are no longer our selves. Them selves? Ah, well. Never mind.
The digital union in marriage nonsense will definitely end up in the Supreme Court. Which is, naturally, digitized too. The Nine Pixelated Robes might give it a go for that very reason — their opinion is a figment of their combined digitized imagination. Should be checking for an invitation to a virtual wedding soon, I suppose. Weird, no?
Well, I could go on with this story for awhile longer, I’m sure. The inspiration is plentiful. Take this one, for instance, Within 5 years Digital Twins Could Start Making Decisions For Us. The future is right around the corner. A somewhat unsettling future, if you ask me. Or, might as well, I’m a generation or two removed from the forefront of technological futurism.
On the other hand, who said that Technological Singularity, which is a hypothesis that accelerating progress in technologies will cause a runaway effect wherein artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity and control, thus radically changing or even ending civilization, is anything to be hugely excited about?
However, whether we like it or loath it, technological and scientific progress, no matter how destructive it may end up being for the humankind (think Manhattan Project) is virtually unstoppable. As Vernor Vinge put it, if the technological Singularity can happen, it will. And Vinge, arguably one of the forerunners of the concept, is ever so slightly apprehensive. Next to I argue […] that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth, he said this:
And for all my rampant technological optimism, sometimes I think I’d be more comfortable if I were regarding these transcendental events from one thousand years remove… instead of twenty.
Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, believes that in just over 30 years, humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal — an event called singularity.
A futurist and founder of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, John Smart uses many names for the technology he predicts — digital twin, cyber-self, personal agent — but the concept stays the same: a computer-based version of you.
When you and I die, our kids aren’t going to go to our tombstones, they’re going to fire up our digital twins and talk to them,’ he promises.
Aforementioned Dmitry Something-or-another is Dmitry Itskov, a Russian entrepreneur, billionaire and the founder of New Media Stars, a web-based media company. Itskov is best known for being the founder of the 2045 Initiative, which aims to achieve cybernetic immortality by the year 2045. His hologram-in-development wears colorful sweaters. He wants to live forever — his brains digitized and uploaded, his immortal self — sweater and all — turned into a hologram, the world — into a holodeck and life — into a never-ending tele-immersion.
See my earlier post VoxPopuliAndDalaiLamasTo: 2045 about Dmitry Itskov and his yearning for immortality.