Ever wonder what it'll be like when we can finally live forever? Oh, come on, sure you have. In case you're new to this subject, there are essentially two possibilities out there. One is that an ever-growing series of advances in the science of aging allows us to arrest the process to where we can keep our bodies going indefinitely, or at least for a very long time. The other is that advances in brain science eventually allow us to map your entire brain down to every last neuron, and we're able to upload your mind. At that point, provided nobody drops the thumb drive containing your consciousness down the toilet by mistake, we can either transfer the file into some kind of robotic body, or, more plausibly, download you into a virtual environment where you can exist forever. And presumably, by the time we're able to do that, the virtual environments we're able to create will be orders of magnitude more realistic, complex, and vivid than what we can create today. In other words, you'll live in the holodeck.
Many people react to these possibilities with horror, while others (including, I'll be frank, me) just hope that the day comes soon enough before we shuffle off this mortal coil. Because a choice between the endless void of eternal nothingness on one hand, and living on in a virtual environment where you have six-pack abs and you can fly on the other, seems like a no-brainer (ha!).
But as this terrific short video from Tom Scott reminds us, things aren't necessarily going to be equal in our cyber-heaven. Take a look:
This strikes me as entirely plausible. It's conceivable that the most transformative technological development in human history (the defeat of death) would become available to everyone on an essentially equal basis. But it seems more likely that the inequalities of our corporeal existence would transfer over to our cyber-eternity. After all, somebody's going to be making a lot of money off of immortality, and it would seem naive to believe there won't be a coach class and a first class. So start saving now.
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