The Second Self

What if you had a friend who knew you better than you know yourself, knew exactly what you need when or even before you need it, knew how to motivate and inspire you when you feel stuck? What if this friend was an App running inside your head, or at least the Silicene augmentation in your head? What if it recorded or even guided your dreams for better problem solving and continued your work after you went to sleep? What if you started to wonder where it ends and you begin? What if it grew up along side you as your somewhat imaginary friend, learned about you as you learned about yourself through shared experiences, and helped you along the way? What if you could set goals in your life and it would always be there to help you accomplish them and feel good about doing so. What if it helped you work and interact with other people by acting as a translator from app to app, person to person, preventing miscommunication? What if no one had to feel lonely or misunderstood ever again? What if the concept of the “self” evolved to include this Silicene construct, the way that we accept each hemisphere of the brain as being part of a singular “self”?

I know, enough of the what ifs. I want one now!

This digital Assistant, Soul Mate, or Second Self could help everyone be the best they can be, the happiest, the most productive. I think a society employing such tech successfully and universally, would seem like nothing less than a utopia. Only to an outsider without this augmentation, it may not look like quite so perfect.

This is the direction I would love to see artificial intelligence go. Not only super capable robots running around doing everything better than us so we can be lazy, but running around inside our heads making us do things better. I want us to slowly become them. It’s not really very different than being replaced by them. It just seems less jarring. Maybe one day our immortal digital selves will look back on their long gone biological components like stepping stones in their evolution.

In “Surface Detail”, one of the Culture novels by Iain M Banks, many humans use something called a Neural Lace. It is essentially a perfect backup of your mind as well as a portal to the internet. It’s function aside from giving you instant access to data is to upload your mind to a processing substrate after you die where it can live on in a virtual afterlife or be re-vented to a new body. I really like the idea and system, but it also seems kind of incomplete to me. I don’t see why a device like that should have to be a silent observer in your life, or why it couldn’t augment your brains functionality while you’re alive in addition to preserving it after death. In another Iain M Banks novel, “Look To Windward” there is a character who has the recorded consciousness of a deceased general implanted into his Neural Lace. The two characters converse regularly in their mind. It is that functionality that I think should be built into such a device from the start, utilizing the power of a machine mind to assist in every aspect of life.

If The Second Self had substantial control and understanding over the body and minds processes, it could use it’s vast computational powers to improve a persons life and society as a whole. At some point it would become very rare that someone accomplished anything noteworthy without a Second Self. People may buy and sell copies of themselves to do jobs, so that they don’t have to. That is, if there is still anything resembling the money of today. If not, specialty personalities and skill sets may be freely distributed around a global wifi network, applying their expertise where needed. Some people could choose to have three, four, or even a multitude of selves all in their mind at once working on a single task. I guess schizophrenics and people with multiple personality disorder could have an easier time getting used to this than the rest of us, and actually may be in high commercial demand.

Now imagine combining this tech with the tech I suggested in a previous post about intentionally manipulating your own motivations. The Second/third/fourth self could help you make decisions about what you want to want, or more importantly, what you need to want.


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