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Computing Like Gods

by Jörn Grote

“You are obsessed. She’s dead. Dead you know. Her body has been burned, and if something like the soul exists, it’s gone wherever souls go,” Flexy told me. “You have to look forward again, not back. Lucy would have said so, too.”

“Please,” I said to him. “You knew her as much as I did, maybe even more. I just need a copy of you. One mind dump, nothing more.”

I read the emoticon that showed his present state of mind. He wouldn’t help me, I knew it then. But I had anticipated this. When I invited him, I knew he would only sent a fork. And even if he was the genuine article, a fork of uploads were like the originals.

“If you won’t give me what I need, I will take it, even without your consent.”

His emoticon showed something like anger mixed with fear. “You wouldn’t...” Flexy said.

Yes, I would. To bring Lucy back, I would do everything. I hadn’t lived on without her for thirty years, if I hadn’t thought the day would come when it was possible to bring her back. Even that far back I had the foresight to see the possibilities.

Time travel circuits had been in the first stages of development, using extremely small wormholes for their creation. It was a technology that pushed our computers computational power beyond the limits of imagination.

When the news were out that they had TTC’s, most people had no idea what it meant. I can still remember the headlines: TIME TRAVEL IS REAL, WE CAN GO BACK, KILL YOUR GRANDFATHER. Naturally all these articles omitted the fact what we really could do with TTC’s. It was cheap and easy to create the extremely small wormholes, but the bigger they were, the more unstable they became. The crater where once had been Calcutta tells you that they had found the limit and surpassed it.

People where much more cautious after that incident. But research on TTC’s went on, and after some years the first computers with them were ready for the common market. Still most had no idea of the power they had in store.

I think an international hacker group with a transhuman background was the first who showed this power. They created a model of the human mind, and then they even made an improved model of the human mind. They called it Update 2.0.

Psychologists and some other groups said it was a completely insane concept and just plain wrong, but when the first Sony mind Upload/Download stations came out, and some of those hackers downloaded Update 2.0 into their heads, most of their detractors went silent. At least with Update 2.01, because 2.0 had some nasty bugs and those that downloaded it went insane.

BREAKDOWN OF THE UPDATED MIND was the headline. But like I said, the next version was better, and more and more people used it. But this was just the beginning. Complete mind uploads, digital immortality, virtual cities and much more.

“STOP IT!!” Flexy screamed. His words brought me back to the present. “Please, let me go,” he said.

“I can’t, even if I want to. I’m trapped here like you are and some others. We’re the input to the Lucy Recreation box. We and all the people who knew Lucy and from whom I got a copy of their mind are the input, together with all the information about Lucy I collected.

“I worked on the program for years. It simulates the past up until Lucy’s death and creates a model of her. That’s the output of the Lucy box. But it won’t output until every one of us here thinks that the model is really like the original Lucy was. We all will relive our lives with her, again and again, until the program thinks it has created a perfect recreation of Lucy’s mind, one that is indistinguishable from the original, at least for those who knew her.”

I looked at Flexy, trying to make him understand. “Do you know what I am trying to do here?” I said to him.

“You’re insane.” I still saw his anger and fear, but something like pity was also there. “I don’t believe anybody would have agreed to do this, not even for Lucy. We are no input, we are conscious software.”

“You fool,” I said. “I am raising the dead. Nothing is impossible anymore. We could even raise people that have never lived before, recreate fictional lives. What does the cost matter?”

“I see only one fool here,” Flexy said. “What do you think the Lucy recreation will think of you and how you brought her back, if she is really like the original. Abducting copies of all her friends and her family and using them like this? She won’t accept that. Immortality without Lucy was bad: I believe you, we all missed her. But immortality with a Lucy that hates you from the bottom of her heart will be much more worse.”

Copyright © 2006 by Jörn Grote

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