October 5, 2011
One of my favorite books, Kiln People, is about a society where you can create clay copies of yourself to do various tasks (menial, dangerous) while you do something else, then at the end of the day you download their memories back into you. This got me into a really creepy conversation with a friend about the difference between experiencing something first hand and remembering something. If the memory is yours (these clay copies have your personality, tactile sensations, everything) what are you losing by not experiencing it? Each moment is fleeting, at what point does something become memory instead of experience? Your senses take a measurable amount of time to transmit information and your body to physically react to things. Something 1/100 of a second ago, something 1/10 of a second ago, something 1/2 a second ago, something 5 seconds ago?
I think a harder question might be: would you rather travel the entire world asynchronously by surrogate and inload the memories, or travel 1/100th or 1/1000th as much but experience it all first hand in real synchronous time? I’m not sure which I’d pick.