Netflix’s new show, Altered Carbon, posses a really interesting question: what happens to us when we can live forever?
The show assumes that humans have managed to download their consciousness into the cloud and, from there, into a new body – someone else’s empty “sleeve” or, for those who could afford it, their own clones. While all humans have the “stack” (a chip that keeps downloading consciousness into the cloud) implanted in their brains by the age of one, not all can afford new bodies when they die and not all accept “reincarnation” on religious grounds.
There are many themes explored by the show, which is totally worth watching (warning: it’s addictive). The one that I find most interesting is exploring the possibility that the gods of the various religions could have been an advanced technology that managed to live forever and use advanced technology to travel off worlds. (The show even portrais the rich, god-like characters wearing outfits similar to the gods of Ancient Greece and Rome).
Many Silicon Valley billionaire have embarked on solving the “age” issue. To most of them, age is nothing but another problem to solve with technology. And one way they want to solve this problem is by having the ability to download one’s consciousness to the cloud and then into a new body. Over, and over, and over again. And since human cloning has made tremendous progress, having the money and the time to create new clones just became possible. This is how we become gods. Or, at least, some of us. Who said there is anything fictional about science fiction?