Immortality--Where Do I Sign?

Jake George

As I was first reading Rudy Rucker's Software , the idea of robots evolving and mutating on their own seemed a little far-fetched. Then, I came across Sta-Hi's cautionary remarks to Cobb about the boppers' Software Extraction Program:

What they want to do, old man, is to cut out our brains and grind them up and squeeze all the information out. They'll store personalities on tapes in some kind of library. And if we're lucky, they might send copies of the tapes down to Earth to help run those two robot-remotes. (p.69)

Well, talk about your exploratory surgeries! Perhaps such a grisly (both medically and morally) operation could have a twisted appeal to a man much closer to death's door, such as Cobb. I mean, extending one's life at the cost of the human soul: how passť. But me? I'm far too young, I figured, still clinging at the moment to the oft-mentioned youthful belief in one's own immortality - at least until wrinkles appear or my hairline begins to recede. No thanks; this was just another weirdo cyberpunk phenomenon. But I kept reading, finally reaching the part about Cobb's painless segue into Mr. Frostee's truck, and the resulting fringe benefits of being a "man of steel." And now I say...

WHERE DO I SIGN?

That's right; human, shnuman, I'll take Cobb's hardware over my own any day! Think about it; all of humanity's greatest fears can be overcome, while simultaneously realizing our greatest dreams. Death? Fuhgetaboutit. Do you hate how you look? Do we hate how you look? No worries; just say "DESTROY" to begin anew, or ask Mr. F. to copy the physical makeup of Sean Connery, Leo DiCaprio, or Baby Spice for you. Yes, it's that easy. Why didn't anyone think of this before?

Have you always wanted to take up skydiving, but been too scared to plunge out of a plane? What better assurance for your own well-being than immortality? You can experience life's greatest adventures at no great personal risk! You don't even have to pull the rip-cord, so to speak. You could die over and over again. It's like reliving Groundhog Day, only without Sonny and Cher. Is there a better working definition of Utopia? The strength of ten men. In Cindy Crawford's body. Drug and alcohol subroutines would be only a snort away; copulating collapses just memories; you would never have to worry about eating the right foods again - but you could, just for fun!

I know, I know: what about human individuality? What about the loss of one's soul? Overrated, I say. Just move to LA and you'll fit right in. Besides, as Mr. F tells Cobb:

You're designed for full autonomy...If you can help us, so much the better. But there's no way we would have edited out your freewill...even if we knew how. You're still entirely your own man. (p.138)

The soul is the software! What more do you need? It's a natural evolutionary step, as the boppers say. I'll just be ahead of the game, that's all. I do understand your concerns, though. What if Mr. Frostee overheats? What if humans are just being used as pawns by the boppers, always to have our circuits overridden when the necessity arises. Well, I might just be locked into my own "DELUSIONAL" subroutine, as they say, but I think these are just technical hiccups on the way towards the ultimate goal: human-bopper fusion. I'm ready to pledge my allegiance to Personetics and help spread the word about the Science of Immortality. Who's got next?


[To other discussions of Rudy Rucker's - Ware trilogy (Software, Wetware, and Freeware) by members of English 111, Cyberspace and Critical Theory, Spring 1998.]


Rucker's -Ware Trilogy Course Website Cyborg