The first thing that popped into my mind was crime. If you committed a crime in one body, but then left it, how would they catch you?
How would you know that you had jailed the right individual? Would they build mental prisons?
I have to agree with thenewgreen that once this becomes a reality, the cultural shift due to technologies around it will probably lead to a reality that is vastly different from what we can imagine. By the time we can interface our minds with computers, I imagine that we will already have unleashed very strong AI.
I think it's more likely that we will reach biological immortality (prevent/reverse aging) before we get to this technology. Perhaps 10 or 15 years prior to it.
Once this technology is cheap enough so that anyone could switch body at whim, I can imagine a splintering in society: those who relish the idea of trying on new physical identities and even getting creative in the process, those who are strictly in it for the beauty, and those who refuse to wear anything but the dna with which they were born.
And, now that I think a little deeper, what does that do to dna? Does it become simply a designer mechanism, a Photoshop of the future, instead of a helix that holds the mysteries of our inner and outer nature?
Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing this link.
I sort of think that by the time this question is a reality, the answer is going to be different than what we might give now. Right now most people's natural inclination is to think with the lens of vanity over their eyes, but I would imagine the answer in the future will be far more pragmatic.
Enjoyed the post.
You may be right. However, I think if this technologies future use is pragmatic, I think it will be because of legal restrictions. I think we can gain insight into what people will want to become based off of their behaviour in real-time rpg's today. People will want to be fantasy characters, superheroes, sports stars, etc. Or they may drift into second and third lives as completely different idealized forms of themselves. I know both options would be tempting to me. However, it could also be that my future desires and uses for this technology will be different when I have a mind that has been enhanced with AI and/or completely merged with AI.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I couldn't agree more with caio in the introduction to the novella. I will definitely have to read it.
Science fiction has continually disappointed me with their lack of insight and imagination when it comes to the future. Take Stars Wars for example. They basically took modes of life that we were familiar with (agricultural, industrial) and political organizations (monarchical, imperial -- and they even copied the American political system in the prequel trilogy) and they put these things in space. Where was the forethought? A quick read through any of the computer science, metasystems biology, or futurist literature would have given them plenty of interesting new concepts and theories for depicting a future world. Yet no great science fiction film accurately incorporates different modes of living, ways of being, or organizational structures that are likely to exist in only 100 years time.