The upload fallacy

A recurring thing in science fiction, and in some non-fiction circles, is that one day we will be able to upload ourselves to the Cloud, and maybe live forever. This notion has been explored many times, The Matrix and Upload being two well-known examples.

But I think that the reality of recent chatbots such as ChatGPT has helped to wake people up from this wishful thinking. We are starting to realize that artificial intelligence, as intriguing as it might be, is not us.

A.I. is a completely separate thing, in its way as distinct from us as the octopus. Over time, as these A.I. engines gain proficiency, we will use them more and more. But we will not become them.

At the end of the day we are creatures of flesh, not of ones and zeroes. It is both our glory and our tragedy that we cannot escape the inevitable. Yet that ticking clock is exactly what spurs us to think more deeply, and to try to make sense of our existence by creating art.

Like the man said, the dread of something after death — the undiscovered country (from whose bourn no traveller returns) — puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.

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