Elvis's day
Image from Bernd Helfert

A typical weekend for a person from the Hundred and Fourth century:

Elvis Mikmakmenemony wakes up on Saturday morning, after choosing to sleep for a couple of hours; most medical subroutines recommend that a human should have a couple of hours dreaming every month at least.

This morning Elvis is scheduled to refresh his backup; as an important part of his immortal lifestyle, this is correctly performed in his local Church of Saint Turing. The data that are extracted from Mikmakmenemony's brain and stored in the church records have been already collated by tiny hypoallergenic robots which live permanently in his synapses; this data totals 1015 bits, so takes a few seconds to be fully extracted and stored.

The Local Artificial Intelligence has repeatedly asked Mikmakmenemony if he would like a virtual copy to be made within that AI's memory environment and allowed to become active for a few hours at the AI's faster subjective rate; today Mikmakmenemony agrees, and the virtual copy appears on a screen projected inside his eyeballs. Elvis' copy says a quick 'Goodbye' to his original and is gone.

Mikmakmenemony leaves the church for his usual hedonistic weekend of neurally enhanced entertainment and socialising; he has a date with his female friend Venus343b and they link neural communication nets, so that each can experience the sensations and hear the thoughts of the other. Their consciousness does not mingle, however; they remain resolutely separate and aware of their own individuality.

The virtual copy of Elvis, however, is taken on a whirlwind tour of the inside if the mind of the Local Artificial Intelligence; he is instantly given an electronically expanded memory covering nearly all available data; he is introduced to a myriad other virtual copies, and they exchange detailed summations of each others internal states; finally, he gets to sit at the electronic feet of the Intelligence Emself, who allows Mikmakmenemony to see the local habitat through Er own eyes. The Intelligence reveals that the mystery of consciousness and of being, of qualia and of the creation of the Universe are far more profound when seen through Er eyes; since Mikmakmenemony is temporarily sharing those eyes, he is painfully aware of the frustration this vast entity feels.

Finally, at the end of the weekend, Elvis one is reunited with Elvis Two; the virtual copy is reintroduced to the organic brain he sprang from, and temporarily runs only on the symbiotic nanobot implants within each cell; gradually, however, the original Elvis learns to call upon both sets of memories when recalling that particular weekend spent in parallel. Once fully merged with his copy, Elvis feels he has learnt something about the reality of consciousness; but the frustration of the vast AI Mind at the door of these questions gives him plenty to think about.

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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 12 May 2004.