Silicon Soul

Silicon Soul
Copyright 2002-2023 thomas e.
Wounded Crow Publishing
All rights reserved

silicon soul - short story about artificial intelligence and transhumanism

The Question:

“If one has a silicon brain; has one also, a silicon soul?” I’ve debated this question for three years. What else have I to do? After all the work and success that I had achieved; I could not buy my health. As others before me, I had tried everything to prolong my life: extensive chemotherapy, the latest new drugs, Asian meditation, Indian dances, Eastern treatments and European specialists. But nothing would work. Nothing could take away the cancer that was eating away at my insides. Nothing was going to prolong the body that carried this mind.

The doctors had given me six months. But I made fools of them and lasted almost two years. My determination and sheer will could buy me at least that much time. It was not nearly enough however, for what I still needed to accomplish, but long enough for me to come up with the answer. The answer to that age old question; is there a fountain of youth, immortality, cheating death, or whatever you want to call it. I did it. Yes, I came up with immortality.

The Idea:

It was the strangest thing. I was working on my computer, trying to finalize some last minute deals before my final departure, when it hit me. I was transferring some files from my desktop computer to my notebook computer, and I thought, “Why not transfer my brain to the computer?” After all, it’s all just memory and process. Why not use artificial intelligence to transfer my knowledge and my personality, essentially my “silicon soul”, into a computer and let the hardware carry me through life. Your body is just a piece of hardware. A very limited and weak piece of hardware, I might say at that. But the technology used to create computers and electronics has been used for years and has been worked through its paces. It could hold my personality. It could hold my memories. I could live on, forever!

Building the Brain Gate:

So, I did it. I found the top software engineers, hardware engineers, scientists, and doctors in the country. All of who were the best in their fields. I told them what I wanted and the timeframe in which it had to be completed. And they set out to build the BGAIT (Biological Gateway for Artificial Intelligence Transfer) or the Brain Gate. The Brain Gate was an interface that transferred memories and the processes, which is how the brain uniquely interprets those memories, into a computer system. Once these memories and processes are in the computer, the software simulates the person’s life.

Okay, it sounds weird. How could the computer simulate your life, you very soul? Well, think about it. What is life? Your entire existence can be summarized down into two things; your memories and how you process or interpret those memories, which is your personality. “What about feeling, touching, seeing, hearing and all the intangibles that come with being alive?” you ask? I got that covered. Is it the actual kiss that you would miss or the memory of how that kiss feels when the lips touched yours?

You see the body is merely the media transfer mechanism that gives all this information to your brain. It doesn’t matter how the information gets there. Just that it does, in fact, reach the brain. The brain is what tells you that the kiss is soft, or the oven is hot, or those cinnamon rolls smell good. The body simply uses its “hardware” to transfer these sensory events to the brain. It is the brain that distinguishes the hot from the cold, the soft from the hard and good from the bad.

The Implementation:

So, three years ago today, I was hooked up to the Brain Gate. And the process began. The process of transferring my memories, emotions, and personality into the silicon chips. Those forty years of life converted to ones and zeros. Forty years of living were being transferred into the computer system via the Brain Gate. I stayed connected to the computer until that very last day. The day in which, my carbon based body gave up, and my silicon body took over.

It has been a challenge to live inside a box. A box filled with transistors and resistors. A box with no arms, no legs; no moving parts whatsoever. But it is a box with a person inside. The person is I, Jonathon Biggs. I have a wife and two children, a son named Mark who is fifteen and a daughter named Ariel, who is a beautiful eleven-year-old. I still run my business empire from within the box. Barking out orders through email, instant messaging and voice conferencing.

There are some legal issues that the courts have no precedence to fall back on. But we are dealing with those minds that are of limited thinking. Yes, there are those who do not consider me to be alive, but some science fair project that went too far. A mad scientist, that went over the deep end, to construct one last experiment out of desperation.

The Results

“Hi Dad,” called out Ariel as she pushed the “hug” button on the HELP (Human Emotion Lithium Protocol) box.

“Hello, Ariel. How was school? Did you get selected on the math team?” I asked.

“We won’t know until tomorrow. I’m gonna get started on my homework, okay Dad?” Ariel said as she walked out of the kitchen and took her books up stairs.

“Okay, I’ll talk to you later,” I called out.

See? It’s working fine. I got a nice little hello “hug” from my daughter. I could have a conversation with her and later we will all have family time together at the dinner table. Of course, I’ll just sit here, in my box, next to the refrigerator. I can move around the house. We had a network installed so I can move from computer to computer, room to room. I can see and hear what is going on through real-time video. I can interact with my family and feel emotion through the HELP box. Although, that pain button tends to get overused in my opinion.

The Answer?

So, to ponder my question, “If one has a silicon brain; has one also, a silicon soul?” I don’t know. Perhaps my soul left when my body did. Perhaps I am merely an advanced picture frame that recalls the memories of a past loved one. A high-tech photo album that helps the people, who knew and loved me, to remember who I was and what I stood for. “Am I alive?” My face is a twenty-one inch color monitor, for a heart, a four hundred watt power supply.  My body is an AT7000 desktop server, my limbs are networked cables of copper wire and my brain is a Titanium Oxide Silicon T12 processor. “Am I alive?” I am alive as long as there are people here who I can share my thoughts with, express my feelings for and cherish old times. As to the other question…that indeed is the question.

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Silicon Soul