Altering your Carbon: Digital Immortality or Virtual Hell?

by | Jul 17, 2020

IMMORTALITY. It’s what we all long for. Sure, some may deny this and claim they’re just on the rollercoaster ride we call life and when it’s over it’s over. But when you look in dark corners and listen to hushed whispers you’ll often find it’s the nihilists who are hungering to live forever no matter the cost.

In 2018, Netflix debuted a series called Altered Carbon. The show is based on a 2002 novel by the same name. This won’t be a review or critique of the series or book, but I should mention that spoilers will follow to an extent.

In the nebulous future presented to us, humanity is no longer bound to their bodies. In fact, death – for the most part – has lost its bite. A breakthrough technology allows an implanted cortical stack to be situated below the brain at the base of the skull and top of the spinal column. This stack houses a person’s consciousness. All of your life, essence, memories are stored like pictures, mp3s and data on a computer hard drive.

When a person dies it’s no longer a problem. The body is just a vessel – a material host – to house the stack. The body is so degraded in importance that it’s no longer even called a body. It is now a sleeve. Much like how you change your sweater or your underwear, you can now change your age, body type, sex, you name it.

In the world of Altered Carbon it’s only Roman Catholics that have any issue with re-sleeving after they die. It seems that they alone hold to the belief that the soul goes to heaven upon death so they do not choose to participate in the perpetual life extension process.

The irony.

Naturally, this makes them easy prey for the rest of society. If done correctly, murdering a Catholic can just be a thrill-kill because after they die the murderer has no worry that they’ll come back in a new body to testify against them as an eye witness to their own demise.

And while theoretically immortality in perpetuity can be achieved, there’s the matter of cost. Most people still go through a full aging process and only re-sleeve shortly before the body gives out. So the new life goal becomes being able to afford a new sleeve before you get too old so you can turn around and start the process again.

Most can only afford to do so once or maybe twice. But those with the means can buy sleeves for as long as they have wealth.

Think about it. A billionaire like Gates or Musk or a Rothschild being able to just upgrade into a new body time after time. Think of the worst tyrant and an empire that never ends. In the mythology of the show these people are called Methuselahs or “Meths” for short.

They do not believe the biblical account of the man with the longest recorded life span, they only seek to usurp the name as a title and outdo the Most High and His purposes.

In addition to being able to re-sleeve almost at will, Meths are also able to afford near real time backups of their stacks to a remote storage location. So you live a day or a week and then you update a copy of your consciousness to a server off shore somewhere to ensure that if you were to come to an untimely end you can boot back up into a new body with your most updated memories intact. It would be way uncool to die only to wake back up with the last 10 years of your life gone. And copying yourself into two bodies – double-sleeving – while technically illegal according to the show’s laws, is not unheard of or impossible to achieve.

In 2011, a nonprofit organization called The 2045 Initiative was created. As the name implies, 2045 is the year that they hope to achieve or be able to sustain virtual or other physical means of extended life unto immortality.  The goal of this initiative is outlined as follows:

“…to create technologies enabling the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.”

The Initiative was founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov. For being a billionaire and a fairly famous transhumanist there is scant information about him or his past other than what is regurgitated in basically every article written about him. The Wikipedia entry barely rates a paragraph.

All that we’re told is that he made his billions as the founder of New Media Star, a Moscow-based news publishing company. It’s all rather murky. For a guy just approaching 40, he seems to have just popped on the scene.

He’s managed to pull scientists and experts in all sorts of fields and specialties into the initiative to explore creating the neural interface to machines and robotics along with engineering for the creation of artificial organs, systems and limbs.

Hardware and software.

The initiative has enlisted Philippe van Nedervelde as its chief evangelist. Officially he is listed as the Director of International Development.

Think Darwin’s bulldog Huxley and you’ll get the picture.

Van Nedervelde is touted as an expert in such things as virtual reality and nanotechnology. In addition to the 2045 Initiative he also serves on the board of directors of the Lifeboat Foundation which is dedicated to reducing existential threats to humanity.

He was a reserve officer in the Belgian Army and is apparently trained in nuclear-biological-chemical defense. He also has multiple degrees and language proficiencies as well. As an almost aside Wiki tells us that he has also worked alongside various European Union agencies and attended EU parliamentary hearings as well as with Washington D.C. and the CIA on detecting unconventional security threats.

Hmmmm….no spookiness there. No sir.

Lastly, he’s also a co-founder of the Order of Cosmic Engineers. Freemasons in space!?!

The OCE is an activist group with the aim of engineering the whole future of human civilization in a way that provides the best possible existence for every human being. Or at least their version of the best possible existence. Further, they hope to be able to engineer the entire universe.

Unlike other transhumanist groups, the OCE fully embraces the spiritual side of reality. Their ruling body is dubbed the College of Architects.

I wonder if they also embrace the 33 degrees.

To achieve this best possible existence, their hope is to create a universe where Clarke’s third law is reality: Highly advanced technology is considered to be indistinguishable from the supernatural or magical.

Here’s a quote from one of the Order’s other founders, William Sims Bainbridge:

“The human condition is one of extreme absurdity unless fixed in a cosmic context to provide meaning… A species which does conquer the stars will have developed a culture including a cosmic religious faith well-adapted to continue expansion indefinitely… I have suggested that only a transcendent, impractical, radical religion can take us to the stars”.

The fiction of Altered Carbon further reduces a person’s consciousness to a mere product to be bought, sold, traded or imprisoned. The consciousness can be transferred via needlecasting like a radio or video signal over wi-fi. It is referred to as D.H.F or Digital Human Freight.

So basically just cargo.

Virtual realities are spun up and you can be locked away digitally with no way out – indefinitely. It’s a Patriot Act/Guantanamo Bay wet dream. Various methods of pain, torture and punishments can be programmed into these realities for you to re-live over and over and you cannot escape and you cannot die.

Conversely, if your stack is just removed from your sleeve you are just basically in a type of stasis, almost the equivalent of extinguishment. No active memories or consciousness, no present experiences, nothing to sense. Just cold storage of digital human freight.

The sleeves are a mixture of organic tissue and nanotechnology by way of sci-fi wizardry. Enhanced reflexes, agility, strength, eye sight, etc. Weapons can be bio-encoded to a sleeve so that if your pistol is on the table 10 feet away a kind of magnetic or Star Wars force-like telekinesis can be employed to bring it back into your grip. Uplinks to networks via wireless signals are standard fare.

One of the main goals of the 2045 Initiative is called the Avatar Project. This project has four stages with various target dates for completion. Avatar A is scheduled for completion by this year and calls for a robotic body being remotely manipulated via a brain-computer interface directly from a human mind.

They appear to have achieved their first milestone as various experiments in 2019 proved that robotic appendages could be moved via human commands through an artificial interface.

Avatar B will see a human brain transplanted to a life support system, thus allowing the brain to not die and possibly allowing interaction with the environment. If possible, the brain will be transplanted into a robotic body. The deadline for this goal is 2025. Avatar C, slated for being in “production” by around 2035, will see the human personality transferred from the brain to a computerized storage system or media.

The stack.

And the coup de grace will be Avatar D. Target 2045, obviously. A hologram like avatar where the person just has an ethereal projection-like “body”. I just love what Wikipedia has to say about this phase:

“This is the ultimate goal of this project but is optional since, assuming either the upload is involuntary or all humans chose to upload, biological diseases are prevented in the previous phase…”

Emphasis mine.

Involuntary uploads. I guess Altered Carbon’s fiction is a little too forgiving when it comes to even Catholics being conscientious objectors. In reality The Powers That Should Not Be will likely just try to force everyone onto the latest Bill Gates funded Microsoft Holodeck full body Minecraft virtual world.

Or something.

I previously wrote about the emerging hive-mind machine god that artificial intelligence and quantum computing purports to be creating. See Escaping from Westworld. Couple having an all powerful, all knowing deus en machina with being a subject in a universe that it controls and regulates all aspects of.

Consider the definition of a system image:

In computing, a system image is a serialized copy of the entire state of a computer system stored in some non-volatile form such as a file. A system is said to be capable of using system images if it can be shut down and later restored to exactly the same state. In such cases, system images can be used for backup.

Here is the perseverance and faith of the kedoshim.

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and he makes the earth and all those who dwell in it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth through the signs he is permitted to perform, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image in honor of the beast who has the sword wound yet lived. The second beast was permitted to give life to the image of the first beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause all who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Will the Quantum Artificial Intelligent Dragon create a Cybernetic Anti-Messiah from an imaged backup of his consciousness after his physical body is killed? You tell me. We know that’s what Netflix would want us to hope for and we see that goal being worked for in our reality by Initiatives and Orders.

We who believe in our king and high priest, the messiah, understand that our death is inevitable. Our sin has a penalty. It’s inescapable. Our souls will not permit to be backed up to silicon. We cannot live in hulls of steel. The billionaires have miscalculated. The Most High will not be mocked.

To dust we shall return.

Only through walking as our messiah walked, doing the commandments of the Father shall we be reckoned. Only through our faithful high priest’s atonement for us shall we be resurrected to newness of life. Then, truly it can be said:

Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?

Justin

7 Comments

  1. John Williams

    Now this was/is a good piece. I have often thought about all this nonsense lol.
    The Surrogate with Bruce Willis was my first ah ha moment then Chappie and altered Carbon. I absolutely love SiFi but as I have grown older I have noticed “They” have been promoting this kind of Eternal or Eternity thinking…
    Now we have some new monsters to contend with… Great insight thanks for sharing…

    Reply
    • Siyanda

      Great article, thank you – and the exact same topic I discussed with my friend this week. She deleted an irretrievable important backup on her harddrive, containing hers worth of important voice messages, photos, notes and videos. Also, my laptop harddrive crashed a few weeks ago and I was quite obsessively busy downloading all available programs for data retrieval as well as create a backup harddrive of my current backup harddrive. ;D We live in this constant fear of losing our data and experience the near constant stress of making sure we are always saving copies somewhere – of needing to back up our work, photos, memories, letters we’ve written, diaries and notes. It is intrinsic to our human nature to want to assure a backup copy of our existance – not to lose our own past, our achievements – who we are, what we think, what we’ve accomplished – holding on and always able to look back if we wanted to. Passing it on to our own children for their future possible benefit.

      There is in fact no need for an “eternal burning in hell” (which, besides being completely unbiblical also makes no sense to anyone logically imagining burning in anguish for even just a 24-hour period, let alone the millions of year of an eternity – alive, not dead). Scriptire is so clear that the death and destruction of our human souls and bodies is the ultimate and very harsh consequence for sin! Its like God pressing the delete button on us.

      If most of us cant even handle losing a few of our photos and files during a harddrive crash, try losing your soul.

      Death – utter destruction of being – is the ultimate punishment and so irreversible and also inconceivable. As real and true as we are alive right now – as surreal and eternally non-existant one would have then become.

      We have no need to fret over our current esrthly human backups – we already have the ultimate guarantee of our eternal spiritual backup and salvation by the seal of YHWH’s spirit through Yeshuah. How awesome!

      Goodbye, AI.

      Reply
      • Noel Joshua Hadley

        I agree. Absolutely. Death is death and the sinner’s soul will be permanently exterminated. A couple of years ago, I wrote on that issue persistently.

        Shalom.

        Reply
        • Siyanda

          Yes, I do remember reading a few your articles on this topic a while back. It is yet another layer to be stripped from the man-made church doctrines versus the Spirit inspired scriptural truth. Years ago I came across a list that someone had compiled of all the Bible verses pertaining to the second death and the utter destruction (appolumi (Strong’s #622)) of the wicked – there were more than 300 passages! There is no denying of this fact and I am amazed how pastor’s can carry on teaching “they are now with Jesus in Heaven”. Many like to quote Paul’s famous “absent in the body, present with the Lord” citation, but even Paul himself in the very 2 Corinthians 5, just prior to that verse above, says:

          “For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.”

          Why do we not want to be found naked? A floating soul/spirit without an earthly or a spiritual heavenly body would be naked, right?

          “For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life.”

          Even Paul does not want to be unclothed. He is clearly talking about the resurrection and receiving a new body on that day when the Lord ascends and the dead in Christ shall be woken first, then those alive will join.

          Have you come across Lex Meyer’s book “Immortal”? He offers a free .pdf download on the book’s website, it is also a very good summary of various passages people struggle with and a great read for those looking for more answers.

          Reply
      • Justin Russell

        Agreed. I have abandoned eternal conscious punishment as well. Noel’s articles on it helped me greatly to see what scripture actually says vs. what religion and man made ideas have thrown out there.

        Reply
    • Justin Russell

      Thank you. Yes, I too, once I understood that “the plan” is being shown to us ahead of time and a lot of it through fiction, that I started to really see the nefariousness of what’s in most, if not all Sci-Fi. For me it was really Minority Report. I saw how quickly a lot of the technology in that movie came to be common use within just a few years…almost like it was already all waiting in the wings and they “announced” or “heralded” it through the movie. I’ve thought about doing a paper on that movie actually…

      Reply
  2. Siyanda

    P.S. Your blog has been on my top favorite reading list for a long time now, love all the content you put out and it is also great that you are now also offering your platform to others for publishing their material! Never gets boring on the unexpected cosmology! 🙂

    Reply

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