“In Altered Carbon, the body no longer matters. As one character quipped: “You shed it like a snake sheds its skin.” That’s because the human consciousness has been digitized, and can be moved between bodies—both real and synthetic.
The Netflix series takes place hundreds of years in the future, but references versions of technology that have been in development for years, like brain mapping, human and AI neural links, and mind uploading to computers. Millions of dollars has been bumped into technological ideas that promise, one day, our brains will be turned digital. That said, there are those who believe the human mind is too complex, and our consciousness too nuanced, to be recreated in a digital product. And none of that even goes into what would happen if someone’s digitized mind was placed into real human flesh.
Will we ever be able to upload our minds into other bodies? Furthermore, should we? And honestly, if we ever achieved such a feat, could we even call ourselves human anymore? On this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to experts in neuroscience, philosophy and futurism.
Department of Philosophy and Cognitive Science Program, The University of Connecticut
An upload would not be a homo sapien, so, strictly speaking, it wouldn’t be human, but it may have traits that we think of as “human” in a loose sense, such as rationality and humanlike concerns and emotions. It could be human-like. It might, over time, morph into something far less humanlike, as it becomes immersed in its new environment….”
Read far more of her opinions and others at the link above