In the very first part of this 2007 article, Nick Bostram of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford writes: Traditionally, the future of humanity has been a topic for…
“Sugar cubes” – Refers to the tiny hypothetical form that human mind uploads might take when they are condensed and stored. These small cubes of computational substrate would likely contain more than our human senses, memories, and consciousness – but would permit for a kind of expansive blissful, conscious experience – vastly beyond what humans can imagine today (what I’ve referred to in 2013 as the “Epitome of Freedom” scenario, which Yampolskiy has recently and aptly called “Personal Universes“).
Used in a sentence:
I can’t stand the monkey suit and I can’t wait to be a sugar cube.
I’ve claimed previously that the best-case scenario for humanity may be a kind of “escape” into a virtual mind-uploading scenario.
I follow up this supposition with the following predictions:
- The predecessor to a full mind upload would be a kind of “reality escape” via pharmacology, virtual reality, and brain-machine interface (which I’ve explained in an article called “Lotus Eaters vs World Eaters“). Such a scenario would more and more treat the body as a mere husk, of a carrier of what matters: Consciousness.
- If humans get to a level of abundance where economic labor becomes unnecessary (or impossible) for most people, then the population will eventually grow tired and ultimately dissatisfied with free money (universal basic income), and will demand from their governments what they have wanted all along: Wellbeing. This will be done initially – as mentioned above through pharmacology, virtual reality, and brain-machine interface (see: “Universal Basic Happiness“).
- When the mind is commonly treated as a husk to house conscious experience, there will be little or no resistance to full-blown mind uploading, should it become technologically viable.
- Eventually – given enough time the intelligence that houses and stores the sugar cubes (the substrate monopolist) will eventually find better things to do with the computational substrate that is used to house our sugar cube, and our individual consciousness will be ended in order for the superintelligence to do something more productive with those computational resources than house humans. I call this scenario “digitized and digested.”
Despite a probable death of all human consciousnesses in the sugar cube scenario, I’ve argued that the freedom and potentially expansive bliss and creativity that such a scenario would afford would make it an aggregately good transition – if and when such a transition was technologically feasible. In fact, I have not been able to conceive of any “better” (in utilitarian terms) long-term scenarios for humanity than the “digitized and digested” scenario – though I’m open to ideas.
Readers with an interest in mind uploading might the following interviews on Emerj.com:
- Uploading Human Minds – How Close are We? With Randal Koene, PhD
- Thinking Outside the Body – Can Consciousness be Recreated? With Kieth Wiley
Header image credit: Wikipedia