Slightly Off Center: Life 2.0 Upgrades

by Dennis Hinkamp

We have become accustomed to owning gadgets that upgrade throughout the life of the product. They might not have worked exactly great out of the box but there is always the promise of a firmware upgrade to make things better. I got two such notices this week because I was stupid enough to buy the first version of something.

I wish this option were available on the human level. Sure, we have made hip, knee and heart valve replacements routine, but this is closer to auto mechanics than an actual software upgrade. The whole operating system needs updating if we are truly going to become better, not just more durable, human beings. Evolution sort of does this but it is slower and glitchier than Windows Vista.

Go ahead and be an evolution denier if you want, call it a divine firmware update. If you want to put human improvements in deity terms I would compare it to the two year upgrades you get from your cell phone service provider; a small reward for your blind loyalty and regular payments.

This is my wish list for Life 2.0:

Undo button: There have been some movies that play with the idea of a magical remote control that would fast forward or rewind life before your eyes, but anyone who works with software knows that undo is the most powerful tool in the box. An undo button, like love, would mean never having to say you’re sorry. Regret would never haunt you again and we would not need a morning-after pill.

Mental cut and paste: This would be perfect for people who are constantly telling the same story over and over again. I wish I could stop them and just have them cut and paste it to everyone’s brain in the room.

Delete: As the cyber wars have shown us, there is really no way to completely delete anything, but maybe on a molecular level we could find a way to really, really forget the things that keep us up at night.

Defragment: Science is inconclusive on whether you can actually use up all your available brain memory, but I sure would like to find a way to make it less cluttered and more quickly accessible.

Back up: I suffer not so much from forgetting things but the fear of forgetting things. I would also sleep better if I could just back up my brain’s contents on a regular basis. This would also free me of the fear of killing all those brain cells from activities such as drinking and running in the heat.

Virus protection: We really need this one since we are running out of drugs that can actually kill viruses once we have them. Since computer viruses are actually mimicking organic viruses this would seem to be a logical upgrade. We need some sort of biological firewall or warning system to keep them out in the first place. What about something akin to spam blocker? Though the warning would probably be going off constantly.

Dennis Hinkamp 2.0 is still beta and as unstable as always.