Steal This Science Fiction Idea #1

So there’s a lot of stories on 365 tomorrows which feature the idea of a person’s mind being “uploaded” to somehow extend the consciousness of a person, thereby ensuring immortality, to whatever extent that makes sense.

I guess I’d like to read a story about the time after which the technology was initially developed; that the first person’s mind was uploaded and their body was left behind.

The protests by people who believe this to be unnatural… and the question of whether to do this yourself. The dilemma for Christian people to, in the eyes of those who trust in the technology, effectively commit suicide by not choosing to be uploaded… that Christian people might be thought of as we consider the Heaven’s Gate people in their cult suicide.

Then the question of whether the very first person whose mind was uploaded was really uploaded; what sort of test might there be? I imagine a massive number of people gathered in Times Square looking up at a screen and awaiting the voice of the first disembodied mind to speak to them, to assure them that everything is OK, that to be in a computer or whatever, that it’s safe to do and that people really might consider having their minds uploaded. How would people know that the person wasn’t just someone talking on a phone? Would the voice be the same as it was when the person had a body? How would that work? Would the voice be synthesized John Lennon style? What would the test be to ensure that the person was really there? Would there be someone else who is the only person that knows something about the subject and could verify the truth? Really, that’s an insufficient test, also falsifiable. Then there would be many conspiracy theories about the truth of the mind upload.

Maybe people believe it works and purchase plans to upload their minds at certain points… like hospitals could install mind uplinks for the moments before passing to ensure that the body life would be sustained as long as possible… but the mind could be whisked from the body at the last moment.

Maybe hospitals don’t do as good a job with preserving the body because it’s not that big a deal… the cure for terminal cancer needn’t be discovered because you can just upload your mind and it’s all good.

What if it really is just a hoax? Why would someone posit a mind upload? Certainly for something sustainable, as the profit gains for the technology would be massive… maybe the person who perpetrates the hoax indeed makes huge money off the process. I think there’s a faking of death resolution to this story idea… that the person makes a huge amount of money getting people to pay him to upload their minds, effectively killing them… he knows it doesn’t work, but his plan is to “upload himself” in a way that people will believe he’s a part of the system, then break the system… so that people will realize, “Man, I guess that didn’t work, that sucks, but at least the dude who was in charge of it is dead, what a tool.” But they can’t seek their revenge for the hugely culture-altering affects, not to mention that he’s basically murdered a huge number of people.

I’d prefer that he either get away in the end, or that he die but before dying he might attempt to tell his story to someone nearby, thereby “uploading” his life to someone in the normal, human way. Something like that.

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