February 21st, 2013

No Rioting


   You still remember the first time you figured out how to back-up your memories onto an electronic external hard drive. It's somewhat ironic, really, since that memory is no longer housed in your brain.

   You turn on the lights. Not with a light-switch, of course, but with the direct mental wifi connection. It illuminates a short drab hallway lined on both sides with dusty shelves. It has that musty smell of old cardboard. Despite the enumerable improvements you've made upon your mental capabilities you still don't even quite know why you decided to come into this storage room, just a vague feeling of having miss-placed something. You walk down the aisle looking at the objects of the shelves. Mostly mementos and gifts from old friends and family -- things you don't really have a use for but don't wish to throw away.

   The floor feels cold under your bare feet. Of course they're not even your own real feet -- your real body has become old and frail, so you built a new one and now its senses are beamed back to your brain and your brain controls the new body just as well as it had the old -- except its wireless.

   As you peruse the aisle, your mind is also doing a hundred other things. You're reading the news wire, and you're playing the stock-market (Or a program you wrote is doing so on your behalf), and you're talking on the phone with three people. Long ago you had taught the programming to try to "do what you would do" and "say what you would say," so it could run more programs without your direct conscious involvement. So when you talked to people it slowly learned how to talk like you (it was, after all, always listening). Eventually it got so good at it that you could pretty much let it have the conversations and just observe.

   You walk around a corner, the storage hallway reaches a dead end here. You look over the random objects on the shelf and remember (in perfect high definition surround sound clarity) the time each was given to you. You lift the cloth that's covering a small glass tank on one of the shelves.

   "WHAT IS ON THAT SHELF??" you ask out loud, but it's entirely rhetorical, since the answer to the internal memory search is coming to you before you even begin to utter the question:
   "That is your brain on the shelf"
   "But... it's not plugged in to anything"
   A flurry of searching system logs reveals that about 6 months ago, while you were doing approximately 187 different things you absent mindedly flagged your brain as one of the lesser-important connections in the network and caused it to be shelved here. A few weeks later the connection cables were needed for something deemed more important.

   "But if my brain isn't connected to the network ... I should just be experiencing complete sensory deprivation and the network should be... continuing to do whatever I would have done." You think to yourself. But clearly, you are here staring at your disconnected brain.

   "I need to reconnect my brain!" you say to yourself. After all, that's what you'd want. But then it occurs to you, this brain has just experienced six months of complete and utter sensory deprivation -- it may no longer be "sane." It might mangle the entire network you've spent your whole life fine tuning to run just the way you would run it.
   You start to put the cover back over the brain tank. What would you do? What would you do?

And here's a totally unrelated picture I took today:

A cloud waters a palm tree. *