Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bypassing The “Chrome Age” Robocop to Nanocop

A favorite form of science fiction growing up was the cyberpunk genre. It featured rebellious and shady individuals that fought against “The Man” using his own technologies. A common motif in these stories was the enhancement of humans with robotic parts such as being able to plug a brain into a computer and experience a full sensory immersion of virtual reality. A future like that would be pretty cool. However, with the advances of technology and the coming singularity it is more likely that the “chrome age” will be almost completely bypassed.

Many cyberpunk role-playing games, books, movies and TV shows, displayed a future that had a linear view. Sure Robocop was advanced but the surrounding technology was boxy and styled after the time frame the movies were made in. Lets look at Robocop. The basic story is that a police officer was killed in the line of duty and his brain and CNS (central nervous system) were harvested and plugged into a robot body. The Robot was jerky and movements not fluid. Robocop was a walking tank with a targeting system. While cool, this is not the direction science will go.

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The same scenario with more modern technology that represents a exponential view. A cop falls in the line of duty. He is rushed to a medical center and expires. The corporation running the police department requires a subject to test a new form of supercop so they extract the brain. With either medical scanners or physically cutting the brain into nano-slides, the brain is mapped and a exact digital copy is constructed. The digital copy is then up loaded into a computer that directs nanites to reconstruct the brain inside a new body. The cop wakes up not even realising he died except for perhaps a missing chunk of time.

This new body is genetically modified to be faster, stronger, and smarter. A majority of the body is biological, the skin is bullet proof thanks to the splicing in of spider genes that make the skin as strong as steel while as flexible as natural skin. The new cop has eyes that contain nano systems that display an AR overlay and other headware that allow Nanocop direct access to internet via brain machine interfacing. He can pull up what ever he needs to know at a moments notice through an AR overlay he can actually see. No need for typing or interfacing because everything is wireless he thinks and it happens. His vision is enhanced so that he has multi-spectrum vision including ultrasonic like a bat.

He has become a transhuman cop for a transhuman age. With regular updates to a central computer housing his brain profile, if the officer falls in duty again he can simply be resurrected into a new body. When his current body is obsolete he can leave it and upgrade to a new body. Essentially the mind becomes software and the body is hardware. 

This scenario does beg the question: If the person dies and a his consciousness is transferred into another body, is it still him? At what point is he no longer human and is posthuman? Does the corporation now own his consciousnesses? Can it be reprogrammed like software? Can it be Hacked? Please comment with your views.

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