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Writing as Life Extension
Our ideas around life-extension are dated: The brain in a vat. Cryogenically frozen billionaires. Uploading our brain via USB-C to a Ray Kurzweil server. Nano-bugs that live in our veins to regenerate organs as we age.
All these methods are concerned with preserving consciousness itself. It frames perception as a gift and death as a tragedy. It's paranoid. Instead of fighting the inevitable, what if we created a synthetic version of our mind that could extend forever into the future and engage with every emerging generation?
Write online and you might live forever.
So far I've published 90,000 words this year. If I can consistently write 100k words a year (~400 pages) for the next 30 years, I'll have over 3 million words that capture my thinking. That's a lot of training data. Already, in 2021, you can train AI-bots to answer questions like Jane Austin, Stephen King, Jack Kerouac, or basically anyone whose built a body of work.
Even though our training data is finite, bound by the fleeting midnights of our life, AI algorithms will constantly evolve. Each decade our old training data will be re-processed. GPT-3 Mike is a buggy schizophrenic. But GPT-9 Mike might be indistinguishable from a ghost or an angel. With every new generation, an AI-chat bot will seem more and more like the source person.
I can picture myself as a 60-year old man (assuming I don't flip any more cars), looking over my will, and tweaking an AI chat-bot that I'll hand down to my grandchildren. I'll ask it questions, see what comes out, and refine some parameters. It will all be productized and normal.
This is already loosely alluded to in a Black Mirror episode, where they upload a dead person's social media history into an a creepy flesh-body. They make the whole concept sound terrifying. While that is the point of dystopian fiction, I think this endeavor could actually be uplifting for humanity. (You can have AI-personalities without hosting them in a factory-produced zombie.)
Yes, we're heading towards a future where software companies will be able to fuse all your online writing into a pocket companion. That could be get weird. But it's surreal to think about the wonder shooting up the spine of a great-grandchild as they receive life-changing and eerily relevant advice from a synthetic ancestor.
If we think this kind of reality is near and possible, it affects how we write. Our synthetic-selves will only be as multi-dimensional as our writing. Imagine someone from the future asking questions like:
"What happens when you die?"
"Should I break up with Taryn?"
"Should I quit my job and become a musician?"
If your writing is hyper-focused and optimized around a narrow topic (like the Metaverse), then your chatbot will have nothing valuable to say around careers, relationships, or religion.
Bloggers don't know it yet, but they might be resurrected as chatbots by future generations.
Is your website a representation of the person you want to live forever?