We have often discussed the positive impacts of uploading a person’s brain, from the positive environmental impact to the fully simulated gaming realities. This list compiles what I think are the top seven reasons to upload your brain to digital form, ordered from least convincing to most.
7: Sustainability and efficiency
This is something we went in-depth about in our series about the role of digital beings in a sustainable future. Sustainability is not only important to prevent things like climate change and pollution, which damage health, wildlife and the economy with everything from poor physical and mental health to extreme weather. More than this, though, sustainability represents a greater efficiency in energy generation and consumption. In the short term it means that many industries will decline or simply disappear, but in the long term, it means that civilisations will be more efficient and new cities can be built with far greater ease, without having to worry too much about resource scarcity or environmental impact.
6: Superior hardware and software
One great thing about uploading your brain is the ability to have a configurable artificial body and software. Let’s start off with the hardware.
Though the human body has an impressive array of sensors, such as eyes, ears, pressure sensing organs, heat sensing organs, and so much more. This still pales in comparison to digital beings. For digital beings, you can take a concept like vision and apply all the latest technology to it. Instead of two forward-facing eyes with limited range that are prone to not working properly, you can have a 360° setup, full with wide-angle cameras, high-zooming cameras, depth sensors, and all the most expensive lenses as well as cameras in other wavelengths, such as infrared, ultraviolet or something else. The same is true of all other sensors, such as sound and temperature, enabling quantified sensing. Moreover, having an artificial body also allows for other sensors usually only seen in machines. This includes things like radar, GPS, time and date, data connections and more.
Perhaps the most revolutionary consequence of uploading your brain is the move of your experience to internal software. As it stands currently, many companies have for a long time been attempting to bring software closer and closer to us. This has been seen with smartphones, smart accessories, smart speakers and we are likely to soon have smart glasses too. All of this is instantly outdone by uploading your brain to digital form. Given that all sensors are already digitised, it should be easy to add extra information to the digital brain. To begin with, you could add the simplest things: date and time, location, directions etc. Eventually, though, you could make augmented reality integrations such as projected design, shopping and realistic memory experience.
Beyond this, you could also use the features of the artificial body to create applications in an internal app store. This could include many things, such as social media, translators, media libraries, e-commerce stores, and many others. Other than this, you could also add super-intelligent AI, which may be necessary to avert the likely AI problem. This could bring about vast digital improvements and make people’s interaction with technology far easier and more enjoyable.
5: Unbeatable gaming experience
Continuing the idea of software applications, we naturally arrive at gaming. Recently, gaming technology has progressively been trying to become more realistic. The latest iterations of this come from the virtual reality and haptic feedback space. This trend is likely to reach a biological maximum with technology such as that in Ready Player One’s Oasis. For digital beings, though, this maximum is far improved. For those who have uploaded their brains, their experience of reality is already translated from whatever is sensed to a digital form. This sensation could be fully simulated with all senses imitated. Not only does this represent a step up from virtual reality, but it gives a form factor that cannot physically be improved upon. Not only that, but the simulated reality could be tweaked to fit any setting, such as a planet with a larger g-force, thick air, mud, weather conditions or anything else a development team wanted. The possibilities would literally be limited only by imagination.
4: Super customisation
Customisation is something we humans often seem obsessed about. This is something practically all of us partake in, from haircuts to fashion and makeup to cosmetic surgery. Some people even try to imitate figurines like the ‘Ken doll‘. With uploading your brain and living in an artificial body, you can look however you want (within reason and the limits of the law). Though it may be hard to get an exact replica of someone’s preferred biological look, this does seem feasible at some point provided a 3D model in high definition exists of the desired look. This doesn’t only apply to looking like people, however. Given that digital beings lack the organs that define the human body shape, there is no reason other than tradition to retain a humanoid shape at all. Assuming AI could assist with the mobility, someone could take many numbers of shapes or characters from fan fiction.
3: Interstellar expansion
Coming third in our list is the far increased ease of space exploration and expansion. People have always looked up at the stars and pondered the world up there, inventing deities and ridiculous myths about their origins and purpose. Very soon we will have the ability to travel to Mars with human passengers, though with great difficulty. This is necessary to avoid any major catastrophe such as that which wiped out the dinosaurs. Thankfully, digital beings do not need much of the heavy life support and human catering that would be needed to be brought along. There would be no need for oxygen production, waste management or farming, only energy generation and a connection to a brain storage database is needed. This means more places can be colonised and with far less difficulty.
2: Extreme availability of knowledge
One great measure of the progression of our species is the sum of all our knowledge. This summation became a lot more accessible with the invention of the internet, though sadly now there also seems to be a lot of purposeful misinformation. Perhaps one of the greatest reasons to upload your brain to digital form is the extreme ease with which this information can be obtained. For example, if you wanted to know who invented the radio you could mentally ask the question to an internal web browser and an answer of ‘Nikola Tesla‘ would come back. This could also be used for very fast knowledge accumulation, fact-checking and idea sharing, putting us in an era of intellectual enlightenment.
1: Immortality with a digital brain
All of these are great reasons to upload your brain, but they would all be futile if they only lasted for a few short decades. If you were to upload your brain and achieve immortality you would get to see potentially billions of years of technological progression, millions of generations, the rise and decline of ideas, technologies and companies. There would be so much you would get to see and do and experience that the idea that you could get bored of it all just fades away. Even if we did progress so far there was nothing new a digital being could decide to switch off for a period of time or, if truly desired, permanently. As far as I am concerned, however, the vastly long life one would have before that became the case would be so worth it, and I hope you feel the same.