(May 6, 2006; a glimpse of my wetware)
I have seen the future and this is how it begins:
In chaos and riots, the screech of machines
No right and no wrong, and no in-between
Fall one by one, the queen to her fool
Dos dedos mis amigos - everything's cool
When the industrial noise sings in just the right key outside my window, I imagine it's the robots coming. It's a scene that springs to mind with no particular effort: They'll be bathed in clinical grey-white light produced by their LEDs, no mess and no excess. The fire will only come as a futile attempt at opposition, not stemming from any sort of mechanical violence, and soon enough it will swallowed by steel and polyurethane. Humanity will be crushed, or it will be assimilated - in either case, the future will dance on the hinged joints of simulacra. The blue of the sky and the green of dripping leaves will splash pixel-jagged across carapaces and flow down cooling vents, and the machines will sing as they traipse through the natural world without absorbing anything unnecessary.
I can't wait.
How anyone could see this as a dystopic vision is beyond me; precision is not the antithesis of creativity. What better way to discover a new perspective on the connectedness of things than through complete and permanent temporal dissociation? The life of a machine is that of a series of events, of cognition and of reaction, without the restraints of age and location. Information everywhere, symbolic meanings as rich and deep as one's processor can allow; it's the same thing we're dealing with now, but with better hardware and fewer wrinkles. Forgive me, but I don't think that I need to be organic to have a soul. If anything, I think my soul would much prefer a dwelling its former body hand-crafted. I will gladly hammer the metal for my own replacement when the time comes.
Alter me, upgrade and remove my parts; I have no interest in the medical, and nothing but interest in the future-metaphysical. Give me artificiality and the answers to a thousand questions in one useful suite. Which elements continue to exist once our flesh is peeled off and our organs dissected? That is the point beyond which Heaven is supposed to appear, if we are fortunate and righteous and willing to give up on earthly existence. Do the scientifically devout find the same experience if they go through the process without severing that last link to physicality? At which moment does the last fragment of humanity vanish, leaving only the eternal and the motherboard to which it is attached? If everything is clean and programmed into freedom, how will we mind?
Let me find out; I don't care if it goes wrong, really. Tear it all out, piece after piece after piece, until my spine transmits light down a fibreoptic column and my vision is a panorama of cleverly-rendered polygons. What's the worst that could happen? If we can agree that if a soul or an eternal form of the mind exists at all then it is a generally indestructible object, why not see where we can put it, how far we can take it without sending it back for recycling? Let everything be reduced to calculations and spectra, and let the world act on me as a whole rather than as a chain of subjective events for once. Let the robots dance as freely as their randomizers allow.
Don't worry. Everything's cool.