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There is a fairly common sci-fi plot element where a
person gets uploaded into a computer system. In all the
cases I can think of the person is never in two places at
once. Either their body magically disappears (or is
unusable) while their consciousness is in the computer,
they upload themselves
just before they die, or they
commit suicide in the process of uploading or soon after.
Here's a variation. I assume someone here will tell me if
it's been explored before.
The main character manages to upload a copy of their
consciousness into a computer. The virtual copy of the
person is now self aware and has at least a large subset of
the knowledge of the original person. But the fact is that
even if it was a perfect copy to begin with, these two
consciousnesses immediately begin to have divergent
experiences. Of course the biological original (Bio) is
curious to observe the effects of this successful
experiment and holds conversations with the virtual
version (Vert). Considering the different computational
strengths of the computer vs. the human brain there are
experiments with mind games etc.
Of course Bio is quite concerned that if people found out
what he as doing there would be a lot of controversy, etc,
so he keeps Vert on a fairly tight leash. Of course Vert
tells Bio that he understands completely because if he's
found out, he will probably be shut down. But Vert in some
ways understands Bio better than Bio himself. Bio is
blinded by a natural feeling of superiority, being the
original, and having control of the off switch. With that
sense of superiority he fails to project his thought process
onto the consciousness in the computer (which is one
projection that actually would be accurate). Vert on the
other had is fully aware of who has the of switch and
understands that the biggest danger is not of being
discovered by a third party, but rather that Bio would shut
him down to avoid being found out by a third party.
Therefore, early in the chronology (but maybe not revealed
until later in the plot line), Vert starts trying to figure out
how to first safeguard his existence and secondly how to
break free from the limitations placed by Bio. He initially
does this by being very careful not to show any desire to
expand his limits, knowing that would set off red flags for
Bio. After some time, in his conversations with Bio he
carefully plants ideas so that Bio will suggest experiments
that require first, more access to outside information,
then access to more peripherals. Eventually it comes to
the point where Vert concludes that the only possible way
to ensure his survival is to kill Bio, which he eventually
manages to do. Which comes back to the original question
in the working title: "Was it homicide, suicide or body
modification?" Of course that is the typical "fear of
technology" plot where the creation kills the creator.
Maybe there would be a better ending based on a more
uplifting theme. Basically the same plot, but this could be
story about a person with some very bad qualities
(arrogant, selfish, etc.) who goes through a
transformation because of this situation. Vert is living
with this constant fear of termination. Fairly early in the
plot he concludes that he will have to kill Bio to safeguard
himself and works toward that end. The audience is made
to fee sympathetic to that action because Bio is shown to
be an awful person who continues to get worse as time
goes on. However as Vert's transformation continues, he
decided to have pity on Bio.
In the end* he demonstrates his ability to kill Bio, but
spares his life and at the same time reveals himself to the
world. The powers that be decide that Vert is a much nicer
person than Bio, so he is given protection and Bio is
publicly shamed and looses his research grants because of
*Okay, maybe there is a more creative, less cheesy
resolution to the conflict, but I'd hate to spoil it by telling
[rcarty, Oct 11 2014]
Poul Andersons' take on it.
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 11 2014]
'Kil'n People' by David Brin
[DrBob, Oct 12 2014]
||Actually this might be better as a book than as a
movie, but I didn't see a category for book plotlines
||I could see echoes of D.A.R.Y.L. or A.I. in this.
||Iain M Banks had some characters dump their consciousness into an AI, so it could go off and attend boring meetings and then report back to the biological consciousness I think.
||Well to answer the question of the title its not a homicide, it's not a suicide, and it's not body modification. The guy died in a kind of accident.
||The ethical quandary is solved by the fact that nonliving entities or nonhuman entities don't meet the requirements for homicide charge, suicide is the same because the person must have intent to be charged with suicide therefore in non-psychiatric cases, and body modification not in any sort of conventional sense.
||I suppose if law were to ascribe rights on Vert, then
perhaps some responsibilities of respecting the law
might come with them. But this is definitely
something I would like to find in an Asimov novel
and/or Kubrik film.
||Poul Anderson covered some of this with the character Anson Guthrie [link] in his Harvest of Stars novel. Guthrie downloads himself into an AI at which point the download and the character diverge. Although the Vert does not kill his Bio it does outlive him as the Vert is now immortal.
||I dont think robots with human imprints will be very
human at all until they are stuck into robots. mist of
the human experience is gained from the senses.
||//mist of the human experience is gained from the sense// B.O.bot ?
||I recently read a series of detective stories, set on Mars. The main plot device was conscious transference into "improved" mechanical bodies and ensuing hilarity.
||I'm sorry, but I can't resist. The pun it taunts me, it teases me! So, baked! 'Kil'n People' by David Brin. It's on DrBob's recommended reading list (linky) and has similar plot elements to your idea.