In the wake of the notorious Cleveland kidnapper’s “Life + 1,000 years” sentence earlier this month, an article at Slate noted science-fictional ways that future tech may be used to augment the correctional system – reminiscent of what the Argrathi did to O’Brien on DS9 or what the Baneans did to Paris on Voyager.
I found this passage from the Slate article interesting:
As the technology required to scan and map human brain processes improves, some believe it will one day be possible to upload human minds on to computers. With sufficient computer power, it would be possible to speed up the rate at which an uploaded mind runs. Professor Nick Bostrom, head of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, calls a vastly faster version of human-level intelligence ”speed superintelligence.” He observes that a speed superintelligence operating at 10,000 times that of a biological brain “would be able to read a book in a few seconds and write a PhD thesis in an afternoon. If the speed?up were instead a factor of a million, a millennium of thinking would be accomplished in eight and a half hours.” Similarly, uploading the mind of a convicted criminal and running it a million times faster than normal would enable the uploaded criminal to serve a 1,000-year sentence in eight-and-a-half hours… Further, the eight-and-a-half hour 1,000-year sentence could be followed by a few hours (or, from the point of view of the criminal, several hundred years) of treatment and rehabilitation. Between sunrise and sunset, then, the vilest criminals could serve a millennium of hard labor and return fully rehabilitated either to the real world (if technology facilitates transferring them back to a biological substrate) or, perhaps, to exile in a computer-simulated world.
In fact – what if you could upload your mind into a new, indestructible synthetic body? Or a variety of bodies – like trying on new outfits? My short story MIND OVER MATTER delves into that idea – with a major twist. I think you’ll like it.