Saturday, October 17, 2015

Brainprints

One of the ideas in my science fiction series has to do with converting people into digital entities. In my fictional universe, this is done by creating a virtual emulation based on extrapolated DNA and then comparing it with the brain of a living subject, and accepting the tracked changes. Then someone hits “execute,” killing your physical version while downloading your life experiences into your virtual version.  Congratulations, you are now an authentic intelligence, not to be confused with an artificial one. Most people in meatspace will just refer to you as a “didge,” and some may have strong opinions whether you even count as human. 

No ghosts are involved (because I’ve never seen one).  That means you can’t plug person A’s life experiences into person B’s body. Because I’ve been meditating on this particular plot detail, I have had a hard time with stories like Cloud Atlas, and the Ancillary trilogy, volume 3 of which just came out, to much acclaim. Both feature flying ghosts that visit various bodies.  I’m not wholly averse to science that clashes with my personal visions, otherwise I wouldn’t get to enjoy all the great in-space sound effects in the Star Wars series (my favorite is the seismic charge at 0:53 – they accomplished this by turning the gain way up on a dead mixer channel, so it’s literally what nothing sounds like at high volume).  

There was a recent article in Scientific American about “brainprints” that seems closer to where I’m leaning.
What we've shown is that the same brain doing two different things looks more similar than two different brains doing the same thing,” Finn says.
Neurodiversity strikes again! 


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