SCIENCE | FUTURE | GAMES

Mind in a Machine Ft. Cyberpunk 2077

Depiction of a dystopian future through a game where humanity has progressed far beyond today’s technology

Swati Suman
Dec 19, 2020 · 6 min read

Human desires seem infinite. Ever since we have realized the truth of mortality, striving for immortality has been humankind's next holy step.

We incessantly move towards attaining freedom and put our best foot forward to rise above the confined human experiences. In doing so, the information age makes our consciousness to get trapped in the mortal machines which picture everything being a possibility.

The mere thought of it might have taken you aback, with the concept appearing unrealistic. While physical mortality is impossible; however, digital immortality seems a likable probability in our near future. And technology has the answer to it.

With technological innovation and progress, the major areas and activities of our lives have gone digital. And everything flows through cyberspace. The worldwide access to information and news can be leveraged through the tools of social media. Some of our jobs increasingly exist in electronic space. We exchange information with friends and family through socials apps like Facebook, Skype, and more.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, the work from home culture was entirely operational through digital space. People held seminars, virtual meetings, and conferences by access to digital technology.

Development in medical sciences and robotics like the prosthetic implant and human-robot Sophia shows that the future is full of surprises. Because of the high-tech innovations, there is hope that somewhere down the line, the possibility of uploading our mind might become a part of our reality, specifically attaining digital immortality. Nevertheless, that's how innovative ideas land us into surprise and can be considered the next logical step in our developmental ladder.

Before delving into the game, understanding the concepts around which the game is centered will help draw a clearer picture of humankind's future possibilities.

Mind Uploading And Assumptions —

Our mind is a complex creature, and its definition is intriguingly convoluted. Its thought upon as the cumulative abilities of our consciousness and intelligence, the areas which help us think, dream, and examine.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Mind Uploading The hypothetical concept of mind uploading is a process by which we can re-locate the mind, a combination of personality, attributes, and memories of an individual, from its real biological brain to an artificially designed computational substrate. It requires simulation of our consciousness.

The imaginary concept of mind uploading is based on certain assumptions:

  • Firstly, the location of our mind. It is situated within the structural arrangement of the human brain that contains 86 billion neurons interconnected by approximately 100 trillion synapses. Information flows and gets transformed through these complex networks in unpredictable patterns that create the mind. The notion that everything about our mind can be discovered in the brain, known as Physicalism, stands as support in turning this hypothetical concept into reality.
  • Secondly, the in-depth knowledge of our brain. It is thought that at some point, we will be intricately capable of understanding our brain functioning. With technological support, we will simulate it as the digital copy of our biological mind.
  • Thirdly, the software in technology has made our minds computable—everything whirls around the data. The studies of the mind and its other aspects help accumulate data to finally simulate our mind digitally.

The above assumptions have been proposed and questioned by scientists and philosophers across the globe. The concept has amassed so many eyeballs that it has become a debatable topic with many elemental issues uncovered and unanswered.

The Possibilities —

Presently, we don't know if technology can give birth to real minds, unlike those governed by biological laws. It is because our brain is so convoluted and complex that merely arranging data may not be sufficient enough to understand our overall consciousness.

According to Penrose from the University of Oxford, mind uploading isn't possible until the development of quantum computers, which might happen in 2045. He mentioned that consciousness is a quantum mechanical phenomenon arising from the universe. Hence, the road to such an early interpretation of attaining digital immortality is doubtable despite the modern-day technological progress.

To make the digital mind a possibility, both science and technology have to create probable behavior models of our minds. If the uploaded minds become a reality, it will present humanity with seeming possibilities that can be scary and wonderful. And if it remains unsuccessful, we can learn through the experiences and identify many new technologies that can assist in other futuristic developments.

The mind uploading concept leaves humans with functional immortality. It means that individuals continue to exist until their mind's digital copy is completely deleted or destroyed. Assuming if the digital scan of the mind is corrupted, the mind gets corrupted too. Supposedly, if the digital mind is a biological you, then the experience might leave the individual with feelings of agony, paranoia, and perpetual psychotic breakdown.

The digital mind living in a simulated body will make our emotional and dynamic activities feel redundant, thereby alienating us from our biological self. The expressions like marrying, falling in love, or being humane might become meaningless just at the press of a button. That said, attaining digital immortality will also raise a question mark on death, hinting at it as not our ultimate end.

Contrarily, if the hypothetical concept is successfully implemented by computer technology, then a sense of security will prevail. People can co-exist with their biological and digital versions where life feels enjoyable, and the future copy can leave us secure. The digital minds will develop computer-like intelligence, process, and store information much faster than biological minds. The problems of population explosion, environmental concerns, and climatic impacts can be minimized through our uploaded minds' advanced computing power.

Our entire identity will sense a change comprised of extraordinary novel experiences. Some of them like walking on the surface of celestial bodies, speed the time to skip out lifeless months, and repeating historical activities of the past. In simple terms, mind upload would preserve an indefinite afterlife of people, and this space will feel like human-made heaven, seemingly connected to the real world.

Our minds in digital utopia will prioritize feelings and contents by deleting troublesome emotions of grudges and pain. Scientists can acquire knowledge that might bring out inventions revolutionizing the world. Adventure seekers could upload themselves in spaceships and embark on the journey to orbital missions. We, therefore, can live the unimaginable portions of our lives.

Besides the advantages, our digital minds also impact negatively. It is unlikely that almost all digital minds will serve humanity beneficially. Over time it might become fixated, unproductive, and recede on account of experiencing everything. Our mind, therefore, maybe is never meant to live as a digitally immortal entity.

About The Game: Cyberpunk 2077

The video-game key themes revolve around mind uploading and digital immortality. It plays around a universe depicting a grim dystopian future where humanity has progressed far beyond the current technology and explores its impact on humanity.

Here, the reverse effect of technology is predicted. Imagine your hands made of metal, minds operating digitally with the body resting behind the screen. The idea of such a stance of life is threatening and mind-boggling where the evolution of the human race speeds up technological progress. We are in so much hurry that our mere identity is losing its conscious self.

It's an action compact role-playing game developed by CD Projekt Red. The game can be played on PC, Playstations, and Xbox, etc. It is played from a first-person perspective, starting as V, a massively customizable character in Night City.

Before the onset of the game, you have the options to choose a specific character to move forward — which are Nomad, Street Kid, or Corpo. While playing the game, the actions will determine the game's outcome, varying according to every individual player and the specific choices. This feature makes the game stand unique.

Final Thoughts

The sincere question is, can technology really form a blueprint of our mind and formulate the synopsis to upload it digitally? We don't know that if it might ever be achievable, nor can we predict the extent to which it might affect our culture. The idea is simply unrealistic, unclear, requires in-depth study and research in making it practically possible.

The concept of mind upload with its wonders and terror is yet beyond the reach of technological capabilities. Hence, the idea stands dubious.

As humans, we can experience these futuristic interpretations by riding down the streets of the game Cyberpunk 2077. At most, we will experience the wonders, amazement, and thrilling action-oriented life of the game and imagine what would happen if it becomes part of reality.

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Swati Suman

Written by

In the rhythm of words, I try to unfold life. Thoughtful expressions in Philosophy, Science, Humanities. Compassion above All. Email: swatis.writes@gmail.com

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn | Tune in at aoapodcast.com | Connecting 500k+ monthly readers with 1,200+ authors