In my latest novel, the entire human species is living in a virtual reality. As it turns out, I think we already do. Check out these You Tube videos of Neil DeGrasse Tyson interviewing physicist James Gates. Here’s another:
Buckminster Fuller said that “Reality is inexhaustible.” If we look, we will find something. No matter how far out we look, we will always find more galaxies. No matter how deeply into quantum physics we go, we will find smaller quanta, or more dimensions. The human mind has not even come close to its full potential.
While it is possible that we could create a technology that causes the extinction of the human species, as long as we are around, our minds will continue to go “where no man has gone before.” Why? Because reality is inexhaustible.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m trying to convince anyone to share my opinions and beliefs. This is just a forum to explore ideas, not only about writing, storytelling, and genre fiction, but also about what compels humans to tell stories to begin with. As you reiterated, it gives us an opportunity to explore what it means to be human.
But I’ll go ahead and say a few more things about the ideas that have been raised here regarding androids, artificial intelligence, technological singularities, and virtual reality. As I said in another thread, after listening to Nick Bostrom’s simulation theory, along with the things physicist James Gates has said, I was convinced that we are living in a virtual reality. But it also applies to the idea that we are the androids. We are the artificial intelligence. And we are already living in a technological singularity. From my perspective, it’s the only conclusion.
He says that once a species reaches a certain level of technology, it either destroys itself, or decides that certain directions are unethical and avoids them, or moves in that direction, which means that if the culture survives, it eternally and continually makes the decision not to move in a certain direction.As soon as it changes its mind, so to speak, we are there.
So it’s more likely that we are already there.
Here’s the other side of the argument: let’s say we create artificial intelligence, either in the form of androids or a super computer or a virtual reality and each person’s consciousness is placed into it until we’ve reached that technological singularity, then billions of years pass and we’ve forgotten that we were the beings living in that supercomputed virtual reality.
We would think that we were in base reality. We would think that we were the original species. From our perspective, the technological singularity would move at the speed that technology is moving now.
One might say that we are at the very moment of punctuated evolution. We feel the way the Neanderthals must have felt. We want to respond the way the Catholic Church responded to Galileo. It’s only natural. But I don’t think it’s anything to fear… anymore than we now fear Galileo or the Neanderthals.