Assume, for a moment, that certain promises of Singularitarians come true, and it becomes possible to create ‘sub-routines’ of an individual consciousness, copies and reiterations of a personality. Digging in the RSS crates again (yeah, I know, but I’m damn tired, so you’ll just have to live with it), I reread a post at Betterhumans that broaches this subject, where the author wonders whether this potential for duplication will result in a dissolution of the self.
I haven’t seen much evidence of technology dissolving the self as yet, to be honest. OK, so we have ‘the wisdom of crowds’, social networking, so on and so forth, but that’s like a kind of meta-conciousness – a layer above the layers, if you will. If anything, technology is currently reinforcing notions of self – there’s a certain semantic-symbolist irony in the fact that the letter ‘i’ bolted onto product names is a big thing right now. This is the ‘i’ generation.
But if you could copy yourself, or just parts or facets of yourself, and let them run separately from you? Well, that’s a thought experiment that I’ve kicked around a few times since I stumbled on the idea in SF novels, and to expound all my ideas about it would take the entire night. So you’re lucky this time. 😉
But I would say that if this happens (and much as I’d like to live to see it happen, and hope that I will, I think it’s still someway off in reality), we may well use it as a way of experiencing many things at once, reintegrating the sub-personas who’ve been at a seminar while the main core was at a party or walking in the park. I’m not sure whether or not it would be possible for a copy of yourself to turn against you or decide to go solo – but it would certainly make for some interesting court cases, no?
So, because I’m tired, and because I’ve not tried this for a while, I’m throwing an open thread. There’s a reasonable clade of regular readers out there (I can see you, you know), and I want to know what they think, even if it’s just that I spend too much time thinking about weird sh*t that will never happen. There’s no restrictions or logins for commenting here on VCTB, so please drop in and say hello. I’d love to discover who actually reads this stuff regularly, so this is your chance to give yourself a shout-out – and cross-promote your own rantings, if a blogger you also be!
Get talking, folks, and thanks for coming by. More tomorrow, when I’ll have had some sleep.