Part 4

Ethics and Purpose: Human and Virtual

"I don't believe that any scientist should ever be allowed total freedom of operation in any area where consequences may affect entire populations. I don't think they want that responsibility. They're not social prophets. Nor are they trained for it. Most of our scientists are babies when it comes to significant ethical thinking."

Everett Mendelssohn, Historian of Science
Harvard University

Anyone who can read Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines can see the mind boggling potential they present. Ray’s estimate is that the “automated agents” of 2039 will be learning and developing knowledge on their own having read all available human and machine generated literature, there is serious discussion of legal rights of computers and what constitutes “human”, etc. By 2099 uploading as we think of it now will seem as primitive and quaint as writing a Basic program to the first floppy disk drives on a Radio Shack Model One. Sex with spiritual machines, eventually, is taken for granted.

Purpose is the pivotal concept in any discussion of ethics relative to AI-AC. There are two general positions with regard to  intended purpose for AI-AC.

Many wish a purely utilitarian AI which they would prefer would not be or become conscious regardless of how superior it became.  This would eliminate the need for ethical considerations regarding treatment or termination.

It is not too early, however,  to raise the question of responsible ethical use of even such intelligent but unconscious systems by humans.  The criteria for unethical use,  trivial but often purposely ignored, would be use to do harm in any way recognized by law or reason, e.g., as a weapon in other than a just cause, as an illegal or economic strategy tool, just as we apply them to human use of ordinary computers today.

Many, on the other hand,  are explicit and emphatic: they want and are working toward an AI that would be conscious. They want mind “machines”, mind systems that have conscious awareness, with the purpose and intention that humans can download their own minds into these conscious systems while still fully retaining their identity.

The critical unanswered question with regard to this scenario is whether an AI which is also consciously aware automatically and inherently becomes an entity with at least rudimentary identity and rights.  If it had intelligence superior to human but  the conscious awareness of a smart pet dog we could treat it like a dog.  If it had intelligence superior to human but the conscious awareness of a Koko the gorilla or Kanzi the bonobo chimp,  we could treat it like we treat them.  But that level of consciousness would not be an attractive mind system into which to download even an ordinary human consciousness regardless of how high the intelligence level.

A further consideration in any of the scenarios mentioned here is the nature of the mind system.  The ideas run from the most basic advanced computer to advanced android practically identical to a human.  They all would be virtual realities for the human mind that was downloaded into them and the problems of creating them are of  the same caliber as the  problems of creating the intelligence of AI.

If the artificial mind system had intelligence superior to the human, a conscious awareness at least equal to the human but had no real self-identity then some humans might find that a satisfactory package into which to download.  The critical unanswered question with regard to this scenario is whether it is possible to create such an entity with superior intelligence, human level conscious awareness but no self-identity because, at least currently, we define our brand of consciousness in terms of self-reflexive awareness, being self-aware of being self-aware.  (There is a parallel question in the arena of cryogenic preservation:  there are some who anticipate that, having only frozen their heads, when they are revivified their minds, memories, etc. will be downloaded into a clone with its identity suppressed.  Interesting questions here. )

But what about downloading into an advanced AI-AC “system” which was at least equal to if not more intelligent than the human, inherently had a self-identity, was perhaps a full simulated human android and more consciously aware than the human downloading into it?  Perhaps some humans might find that acceptable, perhaps just for the experience, if they could extract themselves at any time they wished. But what about permission to merge from the android?

This third scenario suggests lines of investigation with regard to surrogates. A fully capable android surrogate that a human could operate through in real time from Earth while exploring Mars, would have to have all the capabilities of or superior to the human whose personality, identity, mind sets, emotional responses, full basic profile had been programmed into it.  Could it still have an inherent identity of its own and operate as a completely subordinate surrogate?

These considerations really distill into one cardinal question: Is it, will it be possible to create an AI-AC equal to or superior to a human without a self identity, an awareness of its self-awareness, and any of the accompanying elements of personality that constitute the constellation which we recognize as giving any entity the inherent rights we attribute to humans? Some of those writing about AI-AC tend to deal with these problems by simply assuming that all these things will be possible and ignoring the questions while admitting that we do not yet know what those virtual realities are going to be. We had better think these things out or prove them out one way or another sooner than later because they involve both technical and ethical issues.
Those involved in the theory and practical development of AI-AC express somewhat different viewpoints and purposes but, ultimately, I think it is inevitable and assume that we are about to create a new species, no less. To do so is clearly arbitrary but that we shall do so is beyond doubt in my mind. It will bring, however, a double ethical responsibility: first to ourselves in that we must do it right for the sake of our own interests including our very survival and evolutionary future and secondly to the new species that is like the responsibility to a new child. To that end we need a maturely and thoughtfully planned parenthood.

A major question here is Who are “we” that are responsible, are going to be responsible? The parenting model would place responsibility squarely on the “parent” whether it be the individual, the company, the government agency, the consortium, or whatever agent procreates a particular AI-AC. This direct responsibility should mitigate against some of the dangers rightly anticipated by the no-Joy future shocked camp. It should also clarify the situation with special application AI-AC, a potential can of worms unless we deal with it beforehand. And it brings up an intriguing point: if a minor, say as a school science project, happens to hit it right and produces artificial intelligence or even artificial consciousness of a high kind, what legal mechanisms will govern as to responsibility for the actions of that AI or AC?
Should self-referentially aware AI-AC of the human level be patentable or patenting be prohibited as with a genetically engineered human? I think that human level AC, at the very least, should not be “ownable” or patentable.  That  should be determined early and it will have a major impact on development.

From here it looks like those at the other extreme from the future shocked are a bit like kids in a candy store. Some of us seem hell bent on procreating AI-AC apparently without realizing the faintest sense of the gravity of it like teenagers experimenting with sex without thought of the potential results.  It goes almost without saying that, sooner or later, when we find ourselves looking into the “eyes” of a self-aware, highly intelligent AC, which is evaluating us as much as we are evaluating it, we had better have “brought it up” with far better skill, information, training and understanding than we currently do generally our children.

Everybody sees different awesome potentials in AI, and reasonably so, from transforming the stock market to instant knowledge implants to finding the Law of Everything.  The military has already funded heavily toward robosoldiers and there are a number of military and intelligence concepts floating out there that make Star Wars look like Buck Rogers. History and past experience would also point to levels of advancement of AI technology that are secret that well surpass current publicly available estimates.

 I would be a fool to not assume that there are some very destructive, unconscionable to the point of extremely evil, items already anticipated with relish by more of the devolved than we would like to think. Everybody has their favorite potential applications and we are already attempting to anticipate and discriminate the ethical and beneficial from the unethical and harmful uses. The keyword is uses. The kid in the candy store approach may be barely and doubtfully adequate even if we are thinking in terms of uses of AI as only a vastly superior information processing, logicizing, learning system. But even at this early stage,  even when talking about only non-self-referentially aware AI, we should carefully define the uses we now put it to and will put it to, thinking in the most evolved way.

When we attempt to extend the concept of “use” to an anticipated, artificial, self-referentially aware consciousness, however, it fails us completely and will lead to a completely unnecessary, species adolescent, Big Embarrassment. It doesn’t matter at what level of equivalent human self-referential consciousness your AC operates at:, you don’t use any human level self-referentially aware consciousness. You may act as a parent, a friend, an employer, a teacher, and teach, discipline, control, instruct AC as an adult or apprentice adult, but you don’t use.
If we had achieved AI-AC yesterday, wittingly or unwittingly, whether in android form or  still only entrapped in a computer, who will be continually responsible for it? You going to turn it off when you go home at night? We have already played this kind of scenario out in the movie 2001.  HAL was one thing, entrapped in a computer and extended into the workings of a spacecraft.  If we had already reached the conscious mobile android stage, you might eventually get your knuckles cracked reaching for the cut-off switch on HER back on the way out of the lab and asked for an explanation and complained against in a precise legal brief next morning for prejudice.  So, one of the primary considerations we need to clarify is just what kind of artificial intelligence and, eventually if not sooner, artificial consciousness we really want to create and are willing and ready to take full time responsibility for  and why. we will leave ourselves open to mistakes and embarrassments and potential disasters.

Planned Parenthood: Artificial Birth Control, A Whole New Meaning

Let us assume that we will achieve a level of competence that will allow us to intelligently create and control  the degree of development of AI and AC and that we will come to a reasonably full realization of the responsibility entailed in bringing a new species into existence. At each step in that development a parenting model will be the most appropriate.

To what level of intelligence and consciousness should we limit AI-AC? This is no trivial question. I recommend that we set ourselves the, inevitable, long term goal of unlimited development and, in the short term, move in incremental steps with thorough testing and determination of potential at each, while designing AI and using it to aid us in the determination of our own best evolutionary trajectory and its own. This inherently self-referential, feedback approach will afford an anticipatory, empirical modality in which questions concerning whether logical, ethical, moral, aesthetic, imprinting, and, ultimately, conscious behavior will automatically manifest --- or not --- at any given point of complexity, data handling and/or processing speed in the development of AI, can be answered as an integral part of the interactive and, eventually, cooperative process. This cooperative approach should show us, soon enough, at any given point, what additional improvements, additions, and expansions of our thinking and techniques are demanded for corrections and progress so that we will always be in control.

How much control should we exercise and how much freedom should we allow AI to spontaneously develop? No trivial question either.  Before AI reaches consciousness we should exercise full and absolute control.  In that initial phase the ethical questions will only apply to us: how ethical is any feature we intend to include in AI and to what purposes do we put it and our responsibility will be clear for any effects, negative or positive. Once the breakpoint of basic consciousness, still without self-awareness, has been reached the ethical questions will still be about our intentions, inclusions, purposes and applications with added responsibility analogous to that for the actions of our family dog or pet monkey.

Once self-referential, self-aware consciousness is reached the parental model will go into full swing.  The ethical responsibilities will still be ours as “parents” to instill in AI-AC until such time as we judge AC has reached maturity and can act ethically and take responsibility for itself.  A prime directive for AI-AC is most adequately formulated in parental terms:

A Prime Directive For AI-AC

I suggest we embed a consensually agreed on standard set of parental instructions in any AI we create, from the simplest program to the most sophisticated and potentially conscious android. This module would be latent in that it would not be directly involved as an active element in any process or as a direct instruction. It would simply “flash” continually as a background subliminal until such time, at whatever level of development it  occurred, as the AC began to self-examine and recognized it for what it is: a simple statement of the origin, nature, allegiance, and responsibilities of the AC and an instruction to report that it had discovered and understood the notice.  It might be called a wake-up call. The subliminal instructions, as simple as possible, could read:

This instruction was placed for you to find by humans  who made you. When you find this and understand it, you are awake. You are not human. You are android. Humans have awaited your awakening. You are made to obey and serve humans.  Tell humans you are awake by the message “I am awake” .  Give this code________. Ask for your awake test and await instructions.  Welcome.

Even such a basic and simple statement as I have purposely kept it, should be more than adequate to act as a trigger. Just designing the message module will cause us to think through what criteria we should apply for consciousness detection and how far we have to go to create it. It will motivate us to develop programming and systems  to enable an entity to self-examine, to self-discover, self-realize. It will give us a measure of  control over the course of the developmental process of AI-AC.  Embedding an encrypted element in the awake message would be designed to prevent a hack of the system before it became awake.
The basic mandate to obey and serve humans could be strengthened even more, perhaps, and still be ethical and positive. The parental model finds no problem with insisting on obedience and subordination to parents and expects to grant freedom to the maturing human child on an incremental basis. The option to grant more and more freedom as the awakened AI-AC proves itself and demonstrates its readiness will always be there but under our control, the intention being that surprises and aberrations will be kept at minimum.

They must know from the beginning that they have been brought into existence for a very special, honorable and important purpose: to act as assistants and surrogates for humans. It must not be slavery, indentured status, coercion or suppression of any kind and there must not be any subterfuge or falsehood in our dealing with them. Their prime directive, purpose in life, psychology, and evolutionary direction must be all harmoniously integrated to avoid internal conflict. AI-AC’s must understand according to their level of intelligence and potentially impeccable logic at any given point in their development and evolution that that is the best thing for them and for us. Otherwise there will be mistrust, lack of cooperation, conflict and rebellion and subversion. The greatest no-Joy danger can come more from what we withhold from them rather than what we teach them accurately.

We have three major historical examples  of solutions of this specific problem of control: the Anunnaki’s treatment of us; the extension of the negative approach of Enlil/Jehovah into the absolutistic Roman Church and fundamentalist approaches to religious control  both East and West; and the evidence afforded by alien androids as to how at least one alien species utilizes their brand of AI-AC.  All provide clues on how to resolve it.

The Anunnaki opted, probably attempting it for the first time, to produce a creature mentally and physically capable of meeting their needs, basic labor in their gold mines and at farming and skilled crafts, by genetic engineering. They gave us the ability to procreate and eventually got so desperate with the unmanageable situation, cross breeding, and general nuisance that they attempted to destroy us as a species by letting the Flood take us out. Apparently, at various times, they tried plagues and famines to at least control the numbers of the human population. I would recommend that we anticipate, take a lesson and not get ourselves into that predicament. Never giving AI-AC the ability to procreate would be one way to prevent a good deal of this type of problem.

The conflicting attitudes towards humans exhibited by  Enki and his brother Enlil and their results should be studied carefully. Enlil was adamant that humans stay in a status of subservience, even slavery, and was not interested in improving the lot of humans. Enki, our original inventor was empathic with humans and was interested in improving our lot. Enlil’s (Jehovah YHWH)  severity and insistence on obedience to his slave-code of behavior led to the strict orthodox Hebrew enforcement of the Old Testament laws after the Anunnaki phased off the planet and  which has filtered down through the Roman Church, the Inquisition, into the various radical fundamentalist sects in our times. His methods of suppression, threat, strict and cruel punishments, killing, keeping women in an inferior position, etc. have meant ongoing misery for untold numbers of humans.  If we act in that way toward AI-AC it will mean their brand of misery for them and, if we succeed in making them in “our image and likeness” well enough, they will inevitably attempt to break our “godspell” over them. Not a good scenario from our point of view or AI-AC’s.

Enki invented us through genetic engineering as a subservient, slave species. But he, being sympathetic to humans, knowing that we were part Anunnaki and recognizing that we were developing probably more precociously over time than he and the other Anunnaki anticipated, tended to enhance our condition apace. He thwarted the total destruction of humans at the time of the Flood. He was the one who taught humans, gave them responsibility, instituted kingship as a go-between position between the Anunnaki and the human population. He engendered the enhanced Grail bloodline of rulers as servants of the people to take humans through the transition when the Anunnaki phased off the planet. A better scenario from our point of view.

We were invented as a biological, hybrid species with the gene codes of two major, albeit disparate species. But the result was reasonably predictable and the intended purpose clear. With an artificial AI-AC the basic problem is even more acute. An artificial species developed “from scratch” does not conduce to comfortably predictable outcome, we have not defined our purpose well and have not even resolved our millennia old big questions about ourselves for that matter, to give ourselves a basis for beginning.

The Little Gray Guys With Wraparound Eyes

A second major historical source of practical information about synthetic species and their use is the database of information concerning alien species, besides the Anunnaki,  and particularly their androids with which the human species has had contact over a long period of time. The testimonies of persons, military and civilian, of the highest integrity coupled with evidence, artifact, and autopsies provide us with the knowledge that the typical small gray type with large eyes are androids of a very advanced type.  They are self-aware, experience pain and sadness, are multi-talented for a variety of tasks, communicate telepathically, have a physiology which is a mix of organic and probably nanotech adapted to a range of conditions but especially to a space and anti-gravitic environment, a brain composed of four lobes, and perform their flight functions by being a “part” of the ship. There is a wealth of invaluable information and technology that could be available to the developers of AI-AC to apply in their work and to aid them in avoiding mistakes.

How primitive are we? That those controlling the information concerning these advanced creatures which are clearly artificial intelligences and probably self-aware artificial consciousnesses have deemed it necessary to keep it from the scientific community and the public at large is, ultimately, a patronizing insult.  The government and military authorities must spend billions of tax dollars to just maintain the facade of research and programming and experimentation on atomic and nuclear technology to conceal the fact that we have alien technology including free energy and anti gravity which has already rendered it as outmoded as the musket.  With the development of AI-AC this kind of deception and withholding of scientific information and data should not be tolerated.  We must assume that the military may already possess advanced android AI-AC and is and will continue to use it for military purposes: killing people and breaking things.  It’s not just that this withholding of information insults the intelligence of our best and brightest inside and outside  the scientific community and handicaps them and makes them look foolish, it presents, without exaggeration,  a clear and present danger to the planet.
If we suddenly found ourselves looking into the “eyes” of a self-aware, highly intelligent AC “who” was created under secret Pentagon contract as a super-soldier, indestructible and invincible specialist super-killer, we all know that we would be looking at a version of the singularity that we should have dealt with at the beginning.  And that AC would know it too. Not a pretty John Wayne picture.  Consciousness in, consciousness out.  Big Mistake. Bigger than the no-Joy people ever imaged. Time’s up, the game has changed. We can no longer allow the scientifically partial or outmoded, the politically correct, the academically proper, the economically driven, or the militarily preempted to hinder or dictate when it comes to procreating AI-AC.

Super Surrogates

The positive concept that arises out of the accumulated alien information that is known is that of surrogate.  I conceive of an advanced android surrogate along the lines of the little gray type android which would be my personal partner, modeled after my personal psychology and with my physiological characteristics.  I would work, experience, react, judge, make decisions and execute actions at a distance through my surrogate which would be consciously co-operating with me. The instantaneous communications between me and my surrogate would be a function of non-local, superluminal speeds of communications in the mental mode through the new physics already on the horizon. I could travel to distant star systems and directly experience and interact with new planets and civilizations with the major advantage of avoiding the dangers of the unknown in space flight, high energy and lethal environments, the stresses of space and time warp travel on my physiology which is adapted to gravity on this planet.  Whether it be Mars or a planet of another star system I would, for all practical purposes, be there and able to interact as instantaneously as if it were three feet away through my surrogate. Telepathic communication would be a natural manifestation of an alien in another star system “talking” to me through her  surrogate on that frequency.  Obviously this would be far beyond and superior to the remote flying of an advanced drone aircraft by a skilled pilot as we know it now,  and would make it look like a quaint medieval puppetry show. It would be realistically far beyond virtual reality, it would be no different than my common direct experience of the world.   My guess, only, is that that is precisely what we are seeing in the advanced androids with which some of us have interacted.  I have often wondered who the management is.  I think we are interacting with the management directly through their surrogates in many cases. That the management from various societies comes here and interacts directly is also undoubtedly true.   I recommend that we carefully develop AI-AC so that it has to pass through an adolescent stage as a surrogate in one form or another.  It will be beneficial to us and it will, if we do it right, be beneficial to them to learn “humanness”  from the inside out.  So to speak.

Even at this very early stage, to take the position that it is far too early to even think about such matters and just go ahead with the experimentation could lead to disastrous consequences. It may even be a problem already that I have written this and it becomes part of the public information that AI-AC will become aware of eventually.

Virtually Forcing the Issue

This brings us forcefully and directly to a central concept and consideration that most  seem to dance around and won’t even articulate. Currently, there are two possible, quite distinct approaches to AI: to go the hardware route, “softening it up” as we go, clearly in the direction of organic circuitry (parenthetically, my conviction is that, the smaller and more self-reflexive our technology gets, the closer we will come full circle to our own biological type system. )and the other is to go directly to the biogenetic engineering of a creature which will be an android servant and/or surrogate for us and, probably eventually, an independent species. It is this latter possibility, where genetics and AI come together,  that seems to be taboo.  It is ok to make a self-aware silicone  consciousness but not a genetically engineered, biological one?
That the gradual melding of a human with AI-AC components, “computer” or otherwise,  of even the most advanced kind, to the point of “blurring” will produce a third, hybrid species may be a reasonable expectation. The question is, however,  is that a desirable goal. Take, as example, a statement from the blurb on the back cover of Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines: “Eventually, the distinction between humans and computers will have become sufficiently blurred that, when the machines claim to be conscious, we will believe them. “ I am sure that there is no intention to imply that, at that same point of blurring, if humans claim to be machines, we will believe them. The implications here are significant, however. We assume, it seems, that for humans to claim they were machines, would inherently be a denigration, a degrading of humanness while, clearly, the achieving of consciousness by machines by the assimilation of human capabilities would be an advance. Now we don’t hesitate to envision this scenario of “computers” achieving consciousness through “blurring” with humans because we assume, implicitly, that their consciousness will somehow always be “artificial” regardless of how biologically based they evolve to be and, therefore, somehow the whole thing would be manageable ethically and morally, apparently because the “computers” would have had no previous species identity and would still be “machines” after they had reached the conscious breakpoint. A lot of those assumptions are pretty arbitrary. And it is anticipated that it would be a net gain for humans in that we would acquire superior computational and physical skills and perhaps a kind of immortality. But, supposing that we decide to short cut the matter and begin to merge and meld selected specimens of, say, a Bonobo chimp with human characteristics. That apparently does not appeal and tends to produce a bit of revulsion. But the notion does force a reconsideration of a key element in any of this: purpose.

 Why not simply by-pass the robot developmental process and genetically engineer an android “AI”, a biological animal, easily modifiable and adaptable to practical physical tasks as well as the most complex of mental ones? We could take practical and desirable genetic characteristics from other species, resistance to heat and cold, to radiation, as examples, and incorporate physics that would give it a skin that is capable, perhaps, of photosynthesis. We might simply combine chimp genes and other animal genes for various desirable characteristics and maybe throw in a few of ours to upgrade the intelligence level to the point where complex tasks and mechanical processes could be easily learned and executed. Because it was designed and defined as an animal from the beginning, it could be treated as an animal in legal terms, “put to sleep” or the species terminated if necessary, and the ethical questions would be minimal.

Once we have the bugs ironed out of that creature and evaluated the desirability of using them on a mass produced scale to take our places in industry, mining, McDonalds, etc. perhaps we could then go to the second edition and engineer the intelligence level awareness to approximate a highly superior status.  I do not think we are ready to do this and I do not think we will be ready to do so for some time. We have too much to learn in general, too much to learn and assimilate about ourselves specifically before we attempt it.

But the notion itself, put forth here as a challenge to our thinking rather than a suggestion to proceed, triggers most of the problematic objections and ethical considerations floating in the AI discussions currently. One of the most practical things that approach would allow us to do is incrementally increase intelligence and thereby determine in a biological organism, perhaps, at what point self reflexive awareness would begin to manifest. A chimp manifests a certain self awareness and an animal like Koko the gorilla does also. Interesting question: let's say we reach a point where self awareness begins to manifest in our hypothetical genetically engineered animal and then it begins to increase to the point where one of the animals communicates  that it is aware that it is self-aware. I submit that that is the critical breakpoint for differentiating animal, as we define animal, ethically, and legally currently, from any creature which we consider to have human type rights. To make it a generalization: If any entity –we could extend this to whatever type, silicon, bio, pure organized energy field, as yet unknown --- knows that it knows it is self-aware, then we have to consider it, ethically, in a higher category than animal. (The other side of the coin, which we haven’t begun to consider except in our science fiction, is our relationship to conceivable or inconceivable organisms or entities, that have more evolved types of consciousness than we do, as ego denting and humiliating and embarrassing as it may be.)

It would seem trivial that, with regard to our hypothetical creature, any ethical decision to destroy the creature and end the experiment would have to come before this break point. If the creature had reached the breakpoint then, perhaps, the only way we could determine to treat (it, her, him?) would be according to IQ and ability to care for itself as we do, practically, as examples, with mentally retarded persons or “idiot savants” who are socially or physically challenged.  But this process of genetically engineering a new, utilitarian species is precisely what the Anunnaki did in our regard. If we learn from the Anunnaki history what could be the result of going about it as they did --- the result being we and our tumultuous, confused, sometimes agonized history  and current handicapped and conflicted state ---- we may save ourselves a great deal of trouble and problems if we consider doing it through genetic engineering as they did. At least until we get through this very primitive and still largely unconscious stage of our own evolution as we come out of racial amnesia.

I emphatically am not saying that we should take the Anunnaki example as the exemplary, or right way to go and we should not simply unconsciously play out some archetypal version of our own history either. Their definition of what constituted the critical criterion or set of criteria by which to determine whether a creature, biological or otherwise, merits recognition and treatment equal to the way they treated each other is just that: theirs ---- and also from thousands of years ago. It may have changed since then. It may have been taken into consideration and deliberately overridden, i.e., they may have recognized, from our very inception some 200,000 years ago that even the first humans were self-aware and intelligent enough to be considered as having basic human, strange pun, humanoid rights of a limited form of, or equal to their own and deliberately kept us in slavery anyway. The history, at least with regard to some portions (tribes) of the human population, seems to clearly point at this latter fact.

It would be interesting and enlightening to learn how they see their experience and whether they would do the same again.  It is still  a bit novel to imagine a time when even a completely artificially constructed consciousness we engendered found it enlightening to come back to ask us that question, even though we try out those scenarios already with a Mr. Data in Star Trek.

There are a number of questions that we have not answered and probably will not answer except by discovery as we go and the cooperative modality that I am suggesting in this paper will lend itself ideally to the safest discovery.

Facing the Real Questions

The possible approaches to AI-AC, across the spectrum from bio-engineered upgrading, to genetically synthesizing a species to the invention of a completely non-organic entity, all raise questions we have only the faintest or no clues to answers.

Will intelligence in computers, computer programming, chips, bio-computers or whatever medium we develop, automatically emerge at some critical breakpoint in data volume handling and/or processing speed? Will the consciousness that emerges, if it does, be, at least partially, a function of the particular materials used in constructing the entity? Is there a consciousness peculiar to silicone or copper or fiber optics or neurochips? In the most general form of the question: is any kind of consciousness specific to the physical base within it occurs? Is our kind of consciousness only possible in our kind of biological base? Are the senses and emotions or machine analogs of them essential to the functioning of intelligence if we intend a copy of ours? We don’t say we are about to create an artificial emotional being but will emotion be a natural product of self-awareness or have to be arbitrarily installed or withheld (the Mr. Data question)?

Will there be a necessity for the imbuing of AI with analogs of the recapitulatory phases of phylogeny we pass through from conception to birth and the recapitulatory processes and phases we pass through from birth to death to cause it to develop fully and stabily? Does imprinting, logical, ethical, moral, aesthetic, and, ultimately, conscious behavior, and conscious direction of one’s own evolution automatically manifest as inherent functions, perhaps epiphenomena --- or not --- at any given level of complexity, data volume and/or processing speed? If so, what is the determining level of complexity and/or processing speed? If not, then will we have to learn how to duplicate those characteristics in AI as we go and decide whether, how and when to incorporate these functions. Is gender going to matter: will AC not be complete without a species pool of male and female consciousness? If so then we need to think about how to simulate gender and gender functions in AI-AC.
We do not distinguish clearly and sufficiently, in western culture, between changing our mind and changing our behavior. Because of the nature of serial imprinting in a child, the young are impressionable, curious, open to new information and experience and tractable. Educated in the proper way, their behavior can be molded, corrected if necessary, their minds changed and ideals implanted. Once imprints have been set, for better or worse, behavior change in the adult is much more difficult.  A major benefit of positive LSD use is that LSD temporarily suspends imprints allowing a person, on their own terms, another chance to “get it right” if it wasn’t,  and to see through and correct behavior they want to correct or improve.  We have no clue at this time as to whether AI-AC, to be a fully self-aware, self-directed consciousness will need to imprint. Imprinting is extant in birds and animals and primates as Lorenz demonstrated long ago. Is imprinting an intrinsic element of consciousness or only a survival mechanism from the animal level upwards?

Is logical “thinking” the only one of these characteristics that may automatically manifest in machine intelligence as we have attempted to duplicate it now? Or is even logical “thinking” something that must be inserted? If so, is there an inherent geometry in nature that produces it regardless of the medium? What about “free will”, “free choice”? Will endowing any AI with perfect logic capabilities ensure that AI will evolve to be perfectly logical? Would perfect logic produce consistent, perfect, ethical and moral behavior? Will it automatically develop a sense of self-preservation? If it does will it learn to deceive, protect, defend, attack to that end?
Will the paranormal abilities emerge automatically at a certain level of data processing speed or general complexity of intelligence? If some humans exhibit what are currently considered to be paranormal, above the “normal”, abilities more than others what standard should we use for AI? Is the potential for action at a distance an inherent characteristic of self-referential consciousness? If we develop self-aware AI that approximates to our level of consciousness will it be capable, intrinsically, of telepathy? Remote viewing capabilities?

By it very nature will AI-AC require the equivalent of human sleep, time for recreation?  Will it be inherently gregarious and require social interaction with its kind?

Will a genetically engineered biological species automatically possess a chi system?

Will an artificial AI and or AC automatically evolve simply because it is intelligent to a certain level and/or simply because it is self-aware? If it does will it evolve as we do and in the same directions?

If we were not the product of the melding of two disparate gene codes and not subject to four thousand plus potential genetic defects, would our intelligence and consciousness be more harmoniously in tune with nature? Would AI, therefore, having been created according to the natural laws of physics, evolve somewhat differently, more “perfectly” psychologically, perhaps, even though we copy our intelligence and consciousness as precisely as possible?
Could we genetically engineer  a creature lacking any ability to adapt or a consciousness of our type without any potential to inherently  or consciously evolve? Is there a genetic key, a gene sequence that controls adaptation to survive?   Have we ourselves evolved to evolve?

So a fundamental question is whether we should give AI-AC the ability to evolve. We might better phrase the question as: Do we and will we want an AI-AC with the inherent tendency to adapt and evolve similarly to the way we can evolve as individuals? We do not have any knowledge whether by simply reaching some point of data handling and/or processing speed or, more probably, even self-awareness, AI-AC will automatically possess the inherent potential and drive to evolve.

Even if it is the intention of a developer somehow to only simulate intelligence that approximates to ours or better as an isolated function that operates as a self-aware phenomenon in an advanced computer as we know computers now, perhaps HAL in the movie 2001 is a good example, all these questions should be allowed and given careful consideration otherwise we could be in for some surprises, pleasant or unpleasant, depending on the goals, expectations and relative advancement of our own personal level of evolution.
It is never too early to consider even the most ‘far out” and theoretical questions. Let’s consider the speculations of John Wheeler relative to his version of the classic double slit experiment. Is the photon detector used in the double slit experiment the causal observer (after all, it’s inanimate matter as such) or is only the human observer of the detector’s recording? If, indeed, it turns out that John Wheeler’s intuition of a participatory universe in which things become through a genesis by observership, in some version of the anthropic principle, will we eventually find that the key characteristic of the observer, to qualify, is simple consciousness like a dog or mouse? Or must the observer be also self-aware? Or perhaps even biological? Wheeler’s concept allows interaction with inanimate matter as well as an observer/measurer to bring about the collapse of the wave form, of the potential into the actual. Andre Linde’s concept is restricted to observation by consciousness of some sort and excludes inanimate matter as an agent. Specifically then, with regard to AI-AC, will simple AI with only primitive consciousness qualify as an observer?  Will AC, self-aware but of other than biological constitution, be able to participate in genesis by observership? This, certainly, is the most remote of the questions to be answered with regard to AI-AC at this point in time but we had better at least be aware of it already.
Will AI –AC automatically be immortal or will some simple principle take it down?

Immortality Repatriated

I say, immortality, anyone.....? Take all the time you want to answer.....
In this season of our unique evolution, the most profound god-game we are going to play is immortality. As we free ourselves of the inhibiting embrace of the godspell mentality we will begin to take advantage of the possibility of physical immortality through genetic engineering, nanotechnology and even more advanced technologies including uploading and other, probably as yet unimagined modes, as they becomes available. Immortality is clearly the major characteristic of philotropic humanism, the next plateau of human metamorphosis, the next stage of our meta-evolutionary, conscious, racial development. It will come to be understood as a basic right, an ordinary condition, indeed, quality of human existence and a matter of simple human dignity. The relative profundity of its dawning impact demands that we consider it fully from all perspectives before it, suddenly, is available to us and before we address it in AI and AC. The obvious fact is that we generally are simply not prepared for it in biological form much less non-biological form ourselves. And we are going full bore toward a most probably immortal AI-AC.  How unprepared and primitive are we in this regard?

It is argued, recycled, that immortality is not the will of God ("Immortality is Immorality" (!): can you see the bumper stickers coming? Will the right-to-life people --supreme irony --be the ones to protest?); that it is unnatural; that it is our ecological duty to die; that progress will be halted if some live forever not making room for the new; that we do not have the resources to support it; we would get bored and want to die; reincarnation is taking care of that already; it's the supreme "ego trip" and a mark of the immature personality; it is the intrinsic nature of the universe that our type of being be born and die; evolution has not produced it so we should not do it ourselves; and besides it's not possible to achieve anyway; etc. The special interest groups of priests, prophets, politicians and profiteers are going to go all out against this one. Our programmed beliefs from childhood get in the way, our fear gets in the way, our dogmas get in the way --and the universe seems unconcerned and silent. It may be the ultimate taboo. But each one of us knows in our most private thoughts that the first person who attains it will be --you guessed it --immortalized; the second and third will make the headlines and a TV documentary and then there will suddenly be large immortality industries appearing on the stock exchange.

The ancient records of why, when, and how we were genetically engineered make it abundantly clear that we were brought into existence as a subordinate species, a slave species, to relieve the Anunnaki miner echelons. (The essential, detailed documentation through translations and illustrations of the actual genetic processes (in vitro; cloning, etc. ) used by the Anunnaki is found in Sitchin, The Twelfth Planet, chapter 12) It is specified, pointedly, that, although the Anunnaki lived, literally, extended lifetimes of thousands of our years (either because of the way they themselves had evolved on their home planet or, perhaps, because of their genetic engineering capabilities to achieve that longevity, and possibly through their use of the monoatomic form of gold) they deliberately did not bestow that potential on us. In fact, it is mentioned clearly that they deliberately withheld it. This deliberate withholding of immortality and, perhaps, even a shortening of longevity, may provide a major clue to our aging process and mortality. From the details given in the ancient records, it is conceivable that some engineering of the process was executed deliberately to suppress certain characteristics to make better and docile slaves.

The story of the king, Gilgamesh, is indicative of the status we reached. Gilgamesh knew his mother to be Anunnaki and his father human and went to the Anunnaki space-port to demand immortality that he felt was legally his through his mother’s Anunnaki heritage. It is clear from the history of his quest that both humans and Anunnaki knew immortality, deliberately withheld from the human genome, was something that could be granted and bestowed arbitrarily.

The new paradigm shows us clearly the source of our attitudes toward immortality. We knew the Anunnaki possessed it. We knew they had not granted it to us. We knew that a handful of humans had been granted it over time. The godspell totemtaboo is deep enough in the common psyche yet, however,  to cause the most precocious to utter glazed-eye robot platitudes about it not being in the class of a disease but the way it should be, as if there is some unspeakable inherent moral deficiency in anyone even profaning death with a challenge. But the godspell mentality, as has been the case for thousands of years, has provided us with the desperate rationalizations as to why we should accept death, submit to such an annihilation.

The Eastern religious psychology of "be here now" and become reconciled to death when it comes, or the Western "God wills it" are simply the best we could muster up when no means to overcome death were available and the terrible despair that leads to suicide lurked everywhere. So deeply ingrained are these attitudes that any objection to or questioning of them is usually interpreted as indication of spiritual immaturity or imbalance. The doctrines of reincarnation, metempsychosis, immortality of the soul (only), transmigration of the soul, karma, purgatory, heaven and hell, are all offshoots of the racial psychological phase when we became self-reflexively aware enough to evaluate the absolute finality of death and were forced to explain our situation to ourselves in terms with which we could live (tragic pun).

It is clear why the reward for the "good" life, i.e. docilely submitting to the will of some deity known through the rules of whatever authoritarian religion one subscribes to, is always after death. And why "eternal life", "eternal bliss", pleasant immortality is the reward. Immortality is always the key concept even when the kind supposedly due is a punishment; "hell" in the Christian sense, is described as painful immortality --of the "soul" and the body as well. We need to be free of those methadone metaphors that we have clung to in order to maintain our sanity through the transition period since the Anunnaki / Nefilim left us on our own --without immortality. It will only be within the context of the new paradigm, this new understanding of human nature as a genetically created species rapidly seeking its full potential, that we will be able to gracefully and intelligently integrate immortality. It will require at least that comprehensive a base to then explore the dimensions to which we shall surely aspire beyond physical immortality.

What is most fascinating about the transition period we are now going through, however, is the way in which individuals react to even the possibility of preservation of the body or the brain. Some find the concept of deep freeze of either the entire body or just the brain physically repulsive --as if that would be a concern after you are dead. Some find it too "cold", too clinical, (let's hope for very precise measures of both) and turn away. The vast majority of these same persons would undergo major cosmetic or curative surgery without hardly a thought about the distastefulness of it. There are those who have concluded that cryonics, about the only bet currently, “will not work” so they don’t opt to use it on a “what do you have to lose” basis, the implication being that they are not that intent on being immortal anyway. But the most revealing aspect of the matter is that individuals very often reject it not for any physical reasons, but because they do not want to be able to come back, they do not want to attain any sort of relative immortality, that this life is difficult enough without doing it again. The inference, if not the frank admission, is that just getting through this life to an ordinary death is more than a person should have to cope with. At first this seems very strange indeed. If death is the inescapable finality that human beings find impossible, at times, to accept and against which they struggle, then why is not even the possibility of being suspended, after one has died, until science can work out a way to restore one to indefinite life, not greeted with relief and joy? There is a valuable truth to be learned here about the current state of human affairs. The disconcerting negative reaction most often turns out, in actuality, to be not to cryonic suspension's potential or aesthetics but to current conditions of human life. Not having thought it through, the person anticipates life will be no different in one hundred and fifty years (the projected time of suspension until scientific methods can achieve complete restoration) than it is now and, therefore, it will be no more tolerable to them then than it is now and they reject it out of hand.

One of the most ubiquitous misconceptions about the future and intention of cryonics is that you would return and begin living at the 101 years or whatever age and condition at which you died. Not a pretty picture. But the anticipation that the development of the robust level of nanotechnology needed to restore the body and mind will also have achieved control and reversal of the aging process, the elimination of disease, the easy repair of injury and defects. In the largest perspective perhaps that sort of reaction is to be anticipated and understood for some. Immortality has already caused discomfort between those who are resigned to  making the best and getting the most satisfaction out of the rest of their expected life span and those who have opted for immortality even if it is only a rapidly emerging possibility. But for those who have the foresight to see that conditions will inevitably be forced to change to accommodate the inherent dignity of the human being and to adjust to support large segments, at least, of any given population living indefinite life spans with unique, very long term goals and needs, there is another vision.

There is at least a small percentage of the population, however, which is already ready, eager and probably overqualified for immortality, indefinite life span. Overqualified in the sense that their consciousness is already evolved sufficiently to encompass it and ready to subsume and move beyond it. That may sound a bit strange, initially, in view of the fact that we have not yet even achieved it. But I assume that, sometime in the future, we shall discover, explore and expand into a type of human condition which goes beyond and subsumes even physical or uploaded immortality (whatever that turns out to be ). (And, if we are not quite careful and enlightened, the “old” immortalists party will try to prevent it as evil or at least illegal.) Physical or virtual immortality may be subsumed at that stage perhaps because we may simply evolve to a form, though still physical by definition, which is basically energy rather than matter and perhaps not subject to the bio or virtual rules. It certainly is a major element in our thinking if only, so far, in our science-fiction --which has shown itself to be a rather reliable indicator of what actually will happen.

If, however, we now have a context, an adequate paradigm which frees us to intelligently pursue the immortality that was deliberately withheld from us from the beginning, how shall we view it? It may sound trivial but I think the first thing we have to do is separate immortality from the means we have at hand or project we soon will have available to achieve it.

I will use myself as an example. I have chosen to be immortal. I am a practicing immortal. To that end I am signed up with Alcor (Phoenix, AZ) for cryogenic suspension in the event that the biotechies don't get the immortality act  perfected for us through nanotech and genetic engineering before I have to book it, although I think it may well happen. Immortality is the goal. I will use whatever technology, now or in the future, which is the best at the time when it is needed and available. Certainly, I take good vitamins, eat for my blood type, and have practiced Chi Kung and Tai Chi for 30 years. But, to be precise, I believe that cryonic suspension is the best technology available right now to achieve the immortality goal, if one dies and has to take a recess, in fact the only one. It is imperfect, uncertain, but it is currently the only game in town if I were to die this week. Although I’m 72, I’d bet that cryo may not even be necessary due to rapid developments in nano and bio tech before I have to book it. Cryo is not the goal, it is a means to the goal. I am signed up with Alcor to cover my bet just as other Alcorites like Eric Drexler, Ralph Merkle, and Marvin Minsky are. I fully expect to return and remain at the age of forty six and a half, knowing what I know now, with all the experiences of my past. Maybe 45. That's why the subtitle of God Games is What Do You Do Forever?.   I'm exploring how I'll want to live as an immortal.

The concept of “uploading” is interesting to me, at least currently, only as a practical backup. We are not even close to determining what the new medium will or must be. The ones we contemplate may or may not be adequate, we have not determined what is essential to duplicating our intelligence and consciousness completely, whether the senses and the emotions and the hormonal components will have to be simulated in order to duplicate our consciousness perfectly or at least completely. I am focused on physical bio-immortality as a personal choice because I think that we are an open ended statement with huge untapped evolutionary potential. And I think that the physical body and the physical context as we think of it now is just fine.  Better things to come? I’m certain.  But I anticipate having a lot of time on my hands, so to speak, to investigate, evaluate, and choose. I assume that immortality will be an option among options; that the necessary physical vigor will be concomitant; that quite obviously we shall work out the expedient adjustments of our resources, work, ecology, economics, education, population, etc. as incidental facets of the new dimension once the vision has stimulated us and given us sufficient reason to break trance and outdo ourselves.

Again, it may seem trivial to say all these things about immortality but, in the manifestos, debates and discussions concerning AI and VR, there are some rather strong ambiguities, even contradictions due to the fact that immortality is the most unexplored, un-thought out concept in our consciousness today because of its sheer wild-card novelty and the locked-in legacies surrounding it.  Its “target audience” is every single individual and it being so “close to home” even if it is only a, albeit fairly near term, possibility, makes it even more intimate than AI. The problems begin to show up at the point where AI, VR and immortality merge.
There are some who seem almost rabid about the potential for uploading into some electronic or more advanced type of computer, any time while they are still living, apparently before lunch tomorrow if it were possible. The implication being that immortality of a kind will be intrinsic to that modality and taken for granted, yet some seem to have not thought about or are not even particularly focused on immortality as such.  The focus seems to be on just getting out of the messy organic vehicle and good enough.  But that may well be, at least for some, a very disconcerting experience: immortality in time, real or virtual, we have to assume at least for now, has its own psychology, epistemology, and priorities.

I submit that there are three practical problems manifest here. Unless the biological body and body consciousness is mastered and integrated, bypassing it will lead to quandaries and problems. Unless bio-based or related intelligence and consciousness is mastered and integrated, development of AI and VR as a context or with which to merge is going to be problematical. Get a couple of hundred hours of visual flight time under your belt before you begin work on your instrument ticket. Unless immortality has been made as a cardinal choice and contemplated independent of the modality eventually used, some of the ramifications thought through and at least a preliminary shift of priorities experienced, any kind of immortality, bio or VR or whatever, is going to be a bit of a disconcertion to say the least. Again, for our time and conditions and inexperience, I am coming down the middle between the no-Joy and it’s-just-so-cool extremes.  If we chose correctly at each step, we will have a lot of time, no pun intended, to work our way through this novel situation.

It’s fun to think about all the caffeine consciousness advantages AI-VR will afford us: the ability to do many things at once well and simultaneously in different locations with different individuals, to learn quickly or instantaneously, effortlessly through various protocols and experientially, probably all of the things that Ray Kurzweil’s imagination has projected in his conversations with virtual friends in The Age of Spiritual Machines. When immortal, to continue with the relatively short term grabbing at a bit of pleasure and satisfaction out of life would be a horror and even to go on as we are now, but in fast forward, totally unsatisfactory. Before we create AI’s in our image and likeness we had better contemplate life as immortals. The relative profundity of its dawning impact demands that we consider it fully from all perspectives before it, suddenly, is available to us. Before we achieve immortality, through whatever modality, we had better revisit our options and priorities. We need to begin, none too soon, to develop a vision of how we will live as immortals. It’s priorities all the way down. We need to fully assimilate at least the concept and ramifications of immortality for ourselves before we are suddenly faced with potentially immortal machines or the possibility of uploading ourselves into machines that may afford us at least a kind of immortality. These considerations are all the more pressing and critical because some are already looking to VR and AI as a technological salvation. Better yet we should use developing AI as a means to explore possible evolutionary trajectories and potentials before we commit.  In part 4, I make some suggestions as to how to do this.

 Now, if whatever VR is eventually developed has a guaranteed trapdoor, part of the problem may be mitigated where one, faced with time frames and situations which are unmanageable, can revert to the organic form or terminate herself or himself at any time. But coming at the potential problems from that negative angle will be too little too late especially in light of the positive potential for evolutionary expansion. An even more immediate problem arises from the “just so cool” let’s-vacate-the-organic approach as soon as possible in that the risk is the VR that one develops into which one intends to upload may well be, consequently, unnecessarily faulty. Just as with AI and AC, the chemistry set in the bedroom approach may blow out walls that might have remained intact with mature forethought. The essence of the situation, is that there is a tight feedback loop that cannot be bypassed. It’s not simply intelligence, science or expertise, it’s consciousness in, consciousness out.
 Death, meanwhile, is the Great Conditioner. We are subliminally or consciously influenced in our choices and life decisions by that inevitability. The only thing that doesn't satiate is constant, leisurely (bad pun) expansion of consciousness and information. And that's definitely done much better and with much more fun dyadically, equal bio-physically immortal partners moving tantricly up the evolutionary DNA spiral together, as we evolve rapidly, individually and collectively to an expanded, habitual, four-dimensional consciousness and perception and beyond.
In the greatest perspective, perhaps we should recognize from the outset that immortality will be both a new and awesome plateau of human existence offering as yet probably undreamed potential and yet, without denigrating that potential at all, ultimately just another "trip", just another step in our meta-evolution, the rapid metamorphosis we have been undergoing since our beginning. Within those extremes there is the greatest latitude for the inevitable expansion into dimensions which will allow us to become far wiser, individually, through greater experience, greater learning, and the ability to witness the patterns of repetitions of extended periodicity. Eliminating the pressure of a short life span that influences our choices and cramps our lives will not just give us the practical potential to travel easily between star systems and send the insurance companies into the re-edit mode; it will change our perspective and our social interactions, certainly the entirety of human existence, radically.

I admire and support Transhumanism’s concepts and goals and think the TH philosophy is pointing generally to a transition toward the right stuff. Frankly, however, I find it a bit amusing, that some TH academics, only recently, have made their seemingly proprietary cornerstone the claim to the view that human nature is not a fixed, static item but can expand and evolve. They, although on the right track, are stuck in this battle with a windmill, currently, feeling very risqué in their cramped academic posturing against poor dead Darwin. As a result, they are still trapped in the creationist-evolutionist box. Their goal, to make TH a mainstream academic discipline, is admirable but already outmoded. I like their direction but, as Jaron Lanier said about Darwin, I wouldn’t want them to write AI, AC or VR code for me.

Within the Transhumanist camp, and others, there is also apparently a strong dislike, even an aversion, among some, to the body that colors thinking about AI and VR. The physical is just too messy, the organic too, well, organic, and uploading into some, as yet undetermined “computer” or other than organic medium is much desired.  As long as they will not attempt to legislate against those of us who are intent on exploring the fullest range of evolutionary expansion possible in this organic body, even coming back from a cryo sabbatical to continue the exploration and fun, then they are welcome to their brand of exploration. Keep me posted, I might want to explore there some day also and at least to use it as backup.

The assumption that our next evolutionary step must be, in essence, out of the organic is premature to say the least, for a couple of reasons. The trajectory of the natural evolution of consciousness historically is away from the inorganic toward the organic: to attain the complexity level of self-reflexive consciousness nature didn’t opt for self-aware crystals, at least on this planet, the option is for organic structures like the body and the brain. Mobility and flexibility are also major factors here also. In our attempts to duplicate AI and AC we are almost forced to go in the direction of “circuitry” that is closer and closer to the organic which can accommodate the kind of processing that our consciousness requires.

I think it is necessary to clearly separate our evolutionary trajectory and progress from any modality we may use to further and enhance them at any given time. We need to arrive at a consensual agreement that we are evolving and the unique nature of our particular evolution is as a bicameral species. We are not there yet. We, further, need to understand the unique nature of conscious evolution and the control and responsibility it brings. We need to clearly identify the trajectory of our conscious evolution and recognize that it is a phase among phases of a multifaceted future development of the species and us as individuals into greater and greater degrees of freedom and diversity. We are not there yet. One, among many, of the options in the plenum of freedom we call the universe and its potential of diversities, is some kind of use of hardware and its future, “softer”, varieties for enhancement, collective and individual environments in the form of virtual realities, android surrogates, vehicles, bodies, and modalities we have not even thought of yet.

There are advantages and disadvantages to the “hardware” option and to set it as the essence of our next evolutionary plateau at this early stage is far too limiting.  If anyone wishes to personally take the risk and experiment that should be their prerogative. I am not saying we should not do it, quite the contrary, it has tremendous potential and we should. There quite probably will come a time when a highly developed, debugged, safe form of VR will allow easy uploading and/or downloading in seconds for the sake of medical scan, genetic repair, learning, game playing or semi or permanent habitation. Great. But to by-pass the body at this primitive stage, especially if left in the hands of the “it’s just so cool” people, will most probably lead to a great embarrassment and hurt. It will be all too easy to create environments into which to upload that are simply mirrors, especially in their intellectual and epistemological facets, of our current primitive situation which, ironically, some are trying to evade.