Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Upload Me!

I think this just goes to show that the Internet is a fantastic source for story inspirations or role-playing adventure hooks.

You could create an entire world based on the assumption that the folks at 2045 are able to deliver what they plan: a means of uploading consciousness into a digital representation, and transfer that representation into an artificial body. In fact, the worlds of Ghost in the Shell and The Surrogates (among others) have already explored this fairly extensively.

If you assume that the 2045 folks are just pulling a scam for the purposes of soliciting money from rich investors, you've probably got enough material for a con-artist story (the kind you might see on Hustle or Leverage). Or this might make a good foundation for a murder mystery: when several millionaires and billionaires are cheated out of their fortunes, someone is likely to be killing mad.

I think the most interesting direction to take this is with the assumption that the 2045 folks have a hidden, sinister purpose. It should be fairly easy to work these folks into a Call of Cthulhu campaign, or any other sort of globacl conspiracy story.

To suggest one specific example off the top of my head: let's say that the 2045 team starts accepting clients, uploading their minds and giving them immortal bodies -- but they keep copies of their clients' consciousnesses, using those copies to create even more copies, and secretly installing those copies in additional bodies, making sure to insert a few software tweaks to ensure compliant behavior. They then sell those copy bodies to buyers who have a use for a human-like robot with human-level intelligence. These copied bodies look like people, and act like people, but they have no paper trail documenting their identity. They can be stronger, faster, and more durable than normal, meat-type people. You can order them to do whatever you like, without consequence. After all, the original clients are off living their privileged immortal lives. These are just echoes of those clients; mechanical slaves who can be manufactured on-demand and turned off with a switch.

Just to be clear, it's entirely likely that the actual folks behind the 2045 project are well-intentioned and have no other agenda. But from my point of view, even if they never produce anything beyond a few pretty charts and graphs, at least they've given us some excellent gaming material.