Digital Suicide

Recently I found both of these articles and thought they went well together so I decided to put them both in the same post.

For the most part I do not agree with either one, although the one from The Atlantic does make an interesting argument for its closing. The article mainly talks about the downside of uploading our minds to a computer. It goes in-depth about what a future would be like where a criminal would have to spend even longer in a computer jail of sorts. While I do think he does have a point this is a very far-fetched scenario, one that is so far from our current landscape that I think there is mostly no reason to really talk about it.

In my near worthless opinion this is a very minute limited area that would ever come up when dealing with this topic. I am surprised that of all the things that someone could possibly conceive of when dealing with uploading a person’s mind this was the first thing that needed to be discussed. Despite the articles rather silly banter, the author does make an interesting point in closing. Suppose a super massive volcano or an asteroid hits the planet killing every embodied sole and destroying much of the electronic frame work of those that are uploaded. So in some bunker you are left in cyberspace all by your lonesome, with nowhere to go and no one else to talk to, what then?

I never thought about that scenario, and even though it is quite farfetched, is still a possibility. I cannot imagine what an eternity of solitude in cyberspace would be like? The question the author proposes is that if we eventually travel down this road should we install some sort of cyber suicide code or button where if said scenario happens the individual could end their existence. I would not have a problem with this for multiple reasons. Perhaps the individual is just tired of living, of upon uploading their mind realize the virtual world is just not for them and does not have the same luster as the “real” world. I am sure this will be a very real problem in the future should this technology come to pass, much like the right to end your own life in this day and age.

This next article I again think is quite the downer, and to me is mostly unwarranted. The article discusses the dangers of technology that is around now and more importantly the tech that has yet to be invented, I felt it was a very Luddite argument as a whole. The article sites numerous natural and manmade disasters that have occurred because of either a failure in said technology or terrorist attacks.

While I see the point they are making I mostly do not agree with them. The article seemed to blame humans and harmful nuclear technology for the Fukushima disaster a few years back. While manmade technology was at fault, the natural disaster of the earth quakes and tsunamis cannot be over looked. So to blame this totally on humans is inadequate and asinine.

Where I think they make a few good points are the 3D printed technologies, whether it be a cheap printed gun that someone uses to murder a bully at school with or printing a drug to get people high, this is where technology could start to take a turn. It is scary to imagine what could happen if either of these technologies became very cheap to use and using simple economics they will eventually reach that point. I wonder what will happen if a terrorist uses a new highly advanced 3D printer to cook up some revolutionary new super bug and unleashes it upon the masses. That is a scary world and one we could be heading toward. While I think this is still a ways off, and frankly it is much cheaper to buy a real 9mm handgun or an AR 15 than it is to 3D print one, but a desperate criminal who could not buy one legally would certainly seek other means to obtain a firearm. Still I think they would opt for buying one off the black market, but you get the point. There is also the reliability issue, honestly I would not want to shoot a 3D printed gun for fear of something malfunction and hurting myself. While there is a small, albeit very very small possibility that while firing a real gun a malfunction could happen, at the end of the day steel is stronger than plastic or any sort of polymer. So I will take my chances.

Technology is obviously a double edged sword. We think up things to make our lives easier and more efficient, but it is near impossible to predict how someone could use that same technology to cause harm.

My last article is very intriguing for a few reasons. The main reason as the headlines states is that a computer used AI to make its own theory to a current problem we have, that is pretty amazing. The problem, and something that I have never heard of before, was that some worms when cut in half was able to regenerate into two separate worms. The problem was that scientist had no idea how this was possible. I will say that I am not entirely sure what they are talking about, but it appears this computer has come up with a solution. The interesting thing is that it looks like the computer used the old trial and error method to come up with a theory that makes sense and proposed that two previously unknown proteins were helping the process.

The scientists say that this find could be revolutionary when it comes to regenerative medicine in humans. If this find could help grow lost limbs or a new organs, that would be amazing, but I would imagine that implementing this technology is a long way off, if it is even possible.

While this is fascinating and seems to be a breakthrough I am not sure that this will be the future. I am still of the mindset that replacing our worn out body parts with mechanical ones is a better alternative. Although, it seems nature can make anything better than we can. The average knee replacement only last about 20 years, much less if you run and are more active on them, where as a healthy knee could last a life time. With that being said I think the knee replacement surgery and device itself is in its infancy, meaning it is only going to get better and last longer. I wonder if in the future the technology will be so good that people will be opting for artificial knees even when they do not needing them, basically just an upgrade that will never wear out, or a sort of preventative maintenance.

In closing, technology, scientific advancements and achievements are a double edged sword as I have said many times. Still I have to think that it will do more harm than good, but I am certain that in the future there will be inventions and who knows what, that will be used in ways they were not intended, mostly to cause harm and terror. Does that mean that we should stop all scientific advancement because of unforeseen disasters, I think not. Besides nothing can happen when we create something with the best intentions…Right?




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