Monday, February 23, 2015

No Cyberpunk Future

I don’t get why all these people think the future is cyberpunk.  I mean, I’ve seen some of the more common depictions of the genre in film and television and I’m not impressed.  I found the Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex series to be completely pretentious, confusing, and boring.  I mean, you have robots and cyborgs, but the climax of the story is resolved without any action?

Okay, I’m getting a little distracted already.  The point is that I keep seeing stories pop up about how we are going to put our human consciousness into a machine or we will download experiences directly into our brains.  And all this will happen within this century.

First of all, I cannot help but think that if someone were to place their consciousness inside a computer, someone else will pull the plug and never power it up again.  To me, you would be more vulnerable if you transferred yourself into a computer since the human body, though always decaying, is a very well built self-sustaining machine.

Secondly, putting your brainwaves in a computer reminds me of one of the plots of That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis.  A man is decapitated for murder but scientists take his head and keep it alive with machines.  However, the head is actually a puppet being controlled by demons to command the gullible scientists (a few know the truth).  I get a feeling that the same thing could happen here.

Lastly, the human body and brain is more complex than anything humanity has created thus far.  The genetic code is looking more and more like an actual programming language but instead of a sequence of 1s and 0s we have something more akin to base four calculations with sequences and variations that reach a complexity that most people cannot even begin to conceive of.

To top that off, the human brain is probably the most complex computer.  While it cannot exactly perform mathematics calculations in fractions of a second, it can think abstracting, find reason, and all the while keeping the rest of the body alive.  No machine we have created thus far comes close.

I am not trying to say that man won’t be able to feed experiences into the brain or be able to transfer his or her existence into machines.  I am just pointing out that things are not going to be as easy and straightforward as we would like to think.  Transcendence is not something humanity will achieve in the near future.

I am not a transhumanist, but I do not oppose the use of technology to live a better, longer life.  I don’t know why such things were cobbled together into an ideology that directly opposes Christianity (well, I do, but you get my point), but I don’t think technological advancement in any form is a bad thing.  It is always about how we humans use it.

So creating cyber limbs or finding a way to clone organs is not a bad thing in my mind.  Nor is trying to find a way to upload human experiences into the minds of others.  Experience would breed wisdom after all.  In theory anyway.

Christians are not opposed to scientific advancement, save a few of us who are flat out crackpots when it comes down to it.  We welcome anything that might extend our lives, keep us looking young, and improve our bodies to perform superhuman feats.

But we are not fools either.  We are dust and to dust we shall return.  Even if our bodies are mechanical, those too will rust, crumble, and break away eventually.  To think that immortality will be gained with technological advancement is a foolish thought, in the literal Biblical sense.

Because despite our best efforts, science still has not isolated the actual cause of death.  Only the factors that lead up to it.