In this future Utopia, humankind has superceded the problems and limitations of today. Through science and technology, disease, famine, climate change and war have become things of the past. Artificial intelligence has far surpassed the physical limitations of the human condition and many of the things that humankind considered necessities have become optional thanks to this advanced AI. There is no longer a global economy and highly specialized mechanized systems have eliminated the need for the professions of the past. Humankind has become free of titles such as farmer, economist, construction worker and are now simply, people. Humans are free to pursue the things that make life worth living - creating art, exploring the cosmos, loving and being loved. In this future that we have created, even death is optional.
History of Immortality
For as long as humanity has existed so too has the concept of immortality. Throughout history immortality has largely been interpreted in a religious sense –finding eternal life in heaven or in reincarnation. The concept of true, bodily immortality has been impossible but many prominent experts in the field believe that due to scientific advancements, the first humans to live indefinitely may have already been born. Although it seems like science fiction, we will need to grapple with the ethical issues associated with immortality in our lifetime. In the 19th century, Franz Kafka considered this issue and concluded that death is an important part of life as it pushes us to accomplish as much as we can in the time on the earth. If we become immortal will we be losing part of our humanity?
Aeon is a system allowing users to live past their physical existence in a digital form. The wearable patch creates a digital model of the wearer's brain and monitors their brain activity. The patch learns from the user's likes, dislikes, personality and interactions; eventually knowing more about the user than the user knows about themselves. When the user physically passes away, Aeon recreates the wearer's consciousness in the vessel and creates a reality tailored exactly to them. This digital reality could create identical representations of things they liked, their loved ones and perhaps things that wouldn’t be possible in the physical world. A digital Heaven of sorts.
As Aeon is set nearly 150 years in the future, it could be made from materials not yet conceived by humans. The main body would be made from a smart glass-like material that is able to refract light to create the hologram seen in the middle of the object. The molecular configuration of the material allows it to be repelled by other objects meaning it could not be broken and appears to levitate in place. Aeon’s magnetic base would attract the vessel so as not to float away.
Aeon would, by no means, be a mandatory option for citizens of the future. It would offer the opportunity for users to live their physical existence to the fullest while not fearing death in the traditional sense.
The vessel that would eventually hold the user’s digital consciousness could be displayed in their home if they wished to be reminded of their mortality. This aspect of the device may be considered morbid in today’s society, but when death is no longer feared or even necessarily inevitable, the device could serve as a healthy reminder to live their physical life to the fullest.
Passing THROUGH, Not Passing On
When the user chooses to leave their physical existence, their digital consciousness is immediately transferred to the vessel. The transfer of consciousness prompts the vessel to light up with an abstract interpretation of the user’s digital existence.
Although the user lives on in a digital state, there would still be an inevitable grieving process for their loved ones left behind in the physical realm. At this point the vessel becomes a digital urn of sorts and aims to comfort loved ones of the user. When someone picks up the vessel after the user has entered the digital realm, it reacts by warming up and gently glowing to comfort the person who holds the vessel and remind them that the user lives on digitally.
The Future Of Aeon
After people have passed physically, their digital existences could either be kept by family members in their homes or could be left in structures whose function would serve as a modern cemetery, giving people a place to go to remember their loved ones and be comforted by their digital presence.