Saturday, January 26, 2019

Preparing For the Singularity (News That You Can Use No. 3)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't yet, aka the Stickies) to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.


[Blogaramians: Blogarama renders the links in my columns useless. Please click on View Original to solve this problem and access lotsa columns.]

                                                 Glossary  

                                  Who The Hell Is This Guy?

Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars 
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse  
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader

"Cheese is milk's leap towards immortality." -Clifton Fadiman


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-grandstickies,

First I need to take care of a bit of housekeeping. That is to say, I need to answer a question someone recently asked me about these letters.

"I get that the great-grandstickies ain't here yet but the grandstickies are, so why (eventual) at the beginning of every letter?"

While the Stickies know about what I'm up to, and are free to access my feeble scribbles if they wish, they are still a bit on the young side to grasp much of what I'm saying. But if and/or when they want to, they can easily access every letter I've written.

Also, they have access to a bunch of columns written prior to my adoption of the Letters to Stickies format via the Blog Archive function at the top of my web page. They may decide/may have decided that I'm an old blowhard and not worth the trouble. After all, what self-respecting callowyute takes the advice of a sexy seasoned citizen seriously?

But if and when they do decide that I just might have a clue my missives will be patiently waiting. And now, on with the show.


This particular bit of news that you can use is as potentially relevant to the Stickies as it is to my gentlereaders. Raise your hand if you've heard of the singularity. I'm not talkin' 'bout the one that gave birth to the Big Bang; I refer to Ray Kurzweil's version.

Mr. Kurzweil's book, The Singularity is near; When Humans Transcend Biology, predicts that at some point in the near future we punny H. sapiens will merge with machines and become immortal geniuses. This may occur as soon as 2045 so we need to start getting ready.


Now, if you've never heard about this and your first reaction is a sneer and/or a giggle hold it right there smarty pants. There's no shortage of people that are more intelligent than I who take this quite seriously. Rumor has it that it's a popular notion amongst our Silicon Valley overlords.

Personally, I'm open-minded (as to whether or not this is possible) considering the pace at which technology is evolving and considering the pace at which H. sapiens have willingly tethered themselves to smartphones and/or made them the focal point around which their lives revolve. Resistance may indeed, be futile.

Open minded, yes, willing to participate, no. First, for metaphysical reasons that I'll not explore here. Second, I was born with a severe case of Been There Done That syndrome with complications from Is That All There Is? disease. Immortality sounds boring.

Odds are better than average that I'll be dead by 2045. However, if you're old like me and would love a chance to become a cyborg, hang in there, Nectome is working on it.


"Nectome is a research organization dedicated to advancing the science of memory. We design and conduct experiments to discover how the brain physically creates memories. And, we develop biological preservation techniques to better preserve the physical traces of memory." -From netcome.com

[What's that got to do with...]

The last sentence Dana, look at the last sentence.

[So what? Are these the guys behind, whatchamacallit, um...]

Prevagen?

[Yeah, I couldn't remember what its called.]

Nope, Netcome, and its founder, Robert McIntyre, are working on a way to embalm brains. This ain't your momma's old school brain embalming; this is high tech brain embalming. That way, if you should expire before the technology to upload yourself is ready your brain will be perfectly preserved so that you that you still can.

There's a fly in the embalming fluid, however. your brain needs to be still working when the chemicals are administered, and they'll kill you.

[C'mon! You're making this shit up!]

Nuh-Uh! Check this out. See, the idea is that terminally ill souls can take themselves out while simultaneously preserving themselves for eventual uploading to a, well, who knows, but...

[C'mon! Who in their right mind would sign up for this!]

There's a waiting list. The technology is not quite there yet. If you plunk down a mere, refundable (in case you change your mind) $10,000 you can get on the list. Last I heard, 25 people have signed up.

[Oh...]

I know, right? Hey, I'll bet by the time the grandstickies are grups there will be a do it yourself kit so you can do it in the comfort of your own home and save some money. Living forever can't be cheap. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day. 
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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer

[I haven't got around to figuring out the official way to do this yet... but as of 12.15.18 I'm offering up my humble scribbles under a Creative Commons License. That is to say, Anyone may republish my columns anywhere -- as long as they don't alter them and as long as they credit me (Mark Mehlmauer) as the author, and, link to my website, The Flyoverland Crank.







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