My Cybernetic Daydream, Part 2

Time is abstract when travelling the stars with an artificial consciousness. I’m not sure if my programming is shutting me off for long intervals of time or if I’m conceptualizing time as long intervals, ticking over at the slow pace of a stellar grandfather clock.

I could look at the ship’s chronometer but that would dilute the mystery.

This brings up something else I’ve been thinking of. Has transferring my original mind to software left anything oddly organic out? Did I have a twitchy foot or enjoy late nights?

Which brings up another less attractive idea: was anything edited out with purpose?

This got me to thinking during my indeterminate cycles of time. If my consciousness has been edited, what is gained, and what has been lost?

Maybe a human’s sense of time would be unbearable during a solitary interstellar journey. It could almost certainly devolve towards insanity unless I was a remarkable human indeed. Or perhaps my original human mind was a bit insane to start? As part of an experiment was that madness removed from this consciousness I now possess?

If so, is there a touch of madness necessary to have chosen to make this journey at all?

Then there is the sense of scale. My human mind would have looked to the elements and objects around him for scale. Trees, mountains, clouds. Cats. Caterpillars.

Yet my cybernetic mind considers molecules of hydrogen diffusing in the vacuum of space, intuits the voids between gravity wells, measures the distance light travels from star to my hull.

My human self would have had a consciousness built around serendipity and events and evenings at the pub with other humans. A head full of things that happened and then became stories.

I guess my robot mind is “experiencing” my travel between stars, and events are happening to me. Am I awake? Asleep? Reading logs from my container’s sensors played back as if I were experiencing them now? Are these moments compressed in time from eons into an evening for the telling?

To who do I tell these stories?


NASA image, star cluster

Westerlund 2.

My Cybernetic Daydream, Part 1

One day I would enjoy waking up, quite by surprise, exploring the universe.

When I write the word “exploring” I don’t mean thinking about it while googling the excellent NASA image database. Rather, I mean exploration as an exact replication of my mind, and with it, my personality and curiosity and artistic inclinations.

As I reflect on the notion of interstellar travel as a human being, I would think rather than risk sending my frail body and catching a nasty flu from the exotic fauna of some distant planet, it would be preferable to travel with my consciousness secured in a clever storage medium and build what’s needed once I get there.

If the mood would take me, upon arrival at a rocky planet circling a distant sun, to stretch my legs it would be most efficient to construct the exact legs needed for that walkabout.

Perhaps this fascinating rocky planet has a mass much higher than my familiar body knows back home. Therefore my new legs would need denser material, perhaps be closer to the ground, perhaps not legs at all but instead wheels. Perhaps I might have many small legs, like a centipede has, or a series of coils rather like a Slinky toy.

I might prefer to experience the day, dusk, dawn and night all at once, in which case I would opt for placing my consciousness into a series of probes and settle these into the ground during a choice orbit or two.

Yet what value the seeing if not to share? Therefore I might indulge my fascination with photography and with my clever probes collect the most exciting multidimensional time-lapse souvenirs.

If especially fortunate, I might instead happen upon a planet replete with water and also plant life. In this case it might be interesting to coalesce a beacon of my consciousness upon a tiny probe and deposit this item onto a leaf of a tree, itself projecting from an unusual rock, perhaps overlooking an eastward valley.

Thoughts of the Singularity and uploaded consciousness and the robot’s revolution of futurism and science fiction might seem alien and frightening and very well might be.

Yet my head is in the clouds and the view beyond is simply so vast and exciting to contemplate in a modern way what’s beyond the orbit of our planetary cradle.

Footprint on the moon