[ExI] transhumanism in fiction

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Tue Jun 22 16:52:46 UTC 2010

--- On Tue, 6/22/10, Florent Berthet <florent.berthet at gmail.com> wrote:
Exactly. I'm currently trying to write a screenplay that would show the potential awesomeness of uploading, in a post AGI world. Fact is, I died a little inside each time I searched for a good plot, because any problem can be answered by "the AGI would solve it...". And I don't want to remove the AGI, that's a major point of the project. But for a movie to be good, there must be huge stakes in the plot, at least for the main character. So yeah, that's a real pain...

Ideas are welcome. ;)
1. Don't confuse great intelligence with literal omnipotence.  *How* does the
AGI solve it?  It still exists in the physical world, with finite (if large) access to
information, materials, and speed.  For instance: an asteroid is out of orbit and
will crash into Earth - significantly disrupting the AGI's operations there - if not
fixed.  Yes, the AGI can think of a solution quickly - but then someone actually
needs to implement the solution.

2. Murphy's Law still applies.  There will be local variables, not measurable from
a distance.  Ideally, these can be allowed for.  In practice, what says that even
an AGI can never be taken by surprise?

3. Don't assume it must be a monolithic single entity.  If the AGI is a gestalt of
several human intelligences, augmented by computers, then each of those
humans must still do their part to solve whatever tasks the collective AGI
wishes to deal with - including dealing with the rest of the world.  (This approach
was taken by the Webcomic "A Miracle Of Science" to good effect.  It has been
used in other recent works as well, including at least one anime series that had
broad distribution.)  The AGI's components could even form most or all of the
cast, with their interactions key to the plot.

Yes, these require depicting the limitations of an AGI.  But uploading does not
let one solve everyone's problems instantly.  It's the old superhero shtick: yes,
the main character gains great power - so the main character is faced with great
challenges.  Augmented intelligence, on the level we are discussing, easily
qualifies as a superpower.

Alternately, possibly focus on the first few uploads, to keep the focus on "the
potential awesomeness of uploading".  RoboCop style: introduce the protagonist
while still human.  Protagonist dies; uploading is the only way to save.
Protagonist gets used to new incarnation.  Meanwhile, problems related to the
protagonist's death get more intense, to the point where only the protagonist can
save the day.  Granted, it can be harder to keep interest when focusing on rapid
thought than on physical action...although, once again invoking superheroes, you
could do worse than study Batman for inspiration (physical abilities aside, his
mind is his best power).  It is not much of a stretch to imagine his writers putting
his brain in the Batmobile, with wireless access to his various computer assets,
for an arc (though they would eventually return him to normal), and depicting him
taking full advantage of this while it lasts.
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