I woke up with an idea this morning. Ideas, by the way, are like viruses. They have a life of their own, they breed more ideas and invade all sorts of nooks and crannies in one's brain where, scientists will one day tell us, they form tumors.
But the idea I woke up with this morning was pretty benign. It may have grown out of an old one. Or escaped from one of those nooks... or maybe a cranny... I'm no psychiatrist, I have no way of knowing. Anyway, the idea had to do with transferring the human being "self" into a computer. You know, all the memories, all the knowledge, all the emotions, into a computer. And then give movement, animation, to that computer.
I like to think I don't watch a lot of TV. I like to think that... but it isn't true. I do watch a lot of TV. One of the things I like to watch on TV is science fiction. One of the best of these in recent years was SyFy* channel's remake of the Battlestar Galactica series. That ran its course and came to an end. But it was successful. And success breeds sequels... or, in this case, a prequel. It's called Caprica. Caprica is the name of the home planet of the humans.
Just Google "Battlestar Galactica" and save me typing in all the background, will you?
In any case, this TV series ties into my idea because it is about transferring a person into the body of a robot, into the memory banks controlled by the robot's processor unit. In Caprica, this appears to be the birth of the Cylons and they eventually turn on their human masters.
This is not exactly a new idea. Well, the transference of a person into a computer is relatively new but the idea of sentient artificial life forms isn't. Pinocchio dates to 1883. And, of course, there's Frankenstein which was first published in 1818. But the concept can be traced back to creation myths where human beings were formed from mud and clay and water and given life. Another form (closer to Frankenstein's creation) is the Golem but is linked because he is (or "they are", really) made of mud. A Golem is sentient but really stupid.
Frankenstein's creation (contrary to the movies) is quite intelligent, which is perhaps what helps drive him mad and makes him commit horrific acts of murder. These murders end up being blamed on Frankenstein (which is the monster's plan). The tale is an old one, you see, and involves the concept of man acting as a god and the consequences which most often turn out quite badly for the protagonist. When you think about it, isn't that an allegory of mankind itself? Or maybe about having children?
I have talked about the concept of immortality by transference into an electronic entity before. In A New Old Thought and in Random Thoughts. So maybe I am just going over old ground... or worrying about death. And others have clearly written about this particular concept, such as in Souls in Silicon.
Still, ideas do not simply pop into our heads, do they? They are products of some subconscious thought process which bubbles to the surface (I was just kidding with the virus theory).
I wonder why mine bubbled up today?
*They used to be called "SciFi" but recently changed to "SyFy", I have no idea why, maybe they overheard someone call them "See Fee"...
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago