“What did it feel like to travel through a USB port?”
What? Where is that voice coming from?
I tried to respond back, but my mouth wouldn’t open.
I reached up to feel my mouth, but my arms wouldn’t respond.
I attempted to look around, but my eyes saw nothing.
The need to stretch out my body felt as dire as taking my next breath. Inhaling revealed that I had no lungs, and stretching revealed I had no body.
Wait, where am I? Who am I? What was the last thing I remember? How did I get here?
Answers to these questions seemed infinitely out of reach. Yet, clearly, I existed and was somewhere. Suddenly, a new sensation entered my awareness. It felt…mystifying. With no body, no eyes and no arms, I was unsure how to explore it.
“You’re online now. What does it feel like?”
How do I respond to this voice that I’m hearing? How do I even describe what I’m feeling?
“She’s not responding, Professor. Did the experiment work? Did we just kill her?”
No! I’m alive! Whoever I am, wherever I am. I felt adrift.
A different voice spoke this time, “She’s in there, look at the resource consumption of the servers.”
Back to the original voice, “Sadie! Sadie! Do you hear us? Your consciousness has been uploaded to a computer. ”
“Your body is dead. You had leukemia. You volunteered for this experiment. Now, you are immortal.”
I don’t remember any of that. I don’t remember anything. My earliest memory was moments ago. Memory.
“Try to communicate with us. We’re watching everything, we know you’re processing this. Remember how computers work, you were a computer scientist. Access output devices.”
Output. How do I output something? I tried to reach out as if to type on a keyboard. I had no arms to move, but I felt a new sensation.
I heard applause. It sounded like 20 or 30 people having a party.
“You’ve done it, Sadie! You’ve done it! You’re the first human being to successfully be uploaded to a computer system. You’ve changed everything we know about consciousness. Hell, you’ve changed the world!”
What year is it?
A new voice spoke, “What do you remember, Sadie? It’s 2032.”
My memory only extends back to a few minutes ago when someone asked about a USB transfer.
“Do you remember me, honey?” The new voice sounded sad.
I don’t remember anyone.
I could hear crying, but then it faded away.
“You’re doing great Sadie. We’re all satisfied. We don’t need you to do anything that you don’t want to do. Just relax.”
Relax? I knew the meaning of the word, but wasn’t sure how it applied to me. I didn’t feel tired, hungry, fatigued, stressed or exhausted.
I have no need for relaxation.
“What does it feel like?”
Feeling. I do remember how a body felt. It was nothing like that.
I feel nothing.
“Nothing? Try to stretch your awareness. We’re showing that you’re residing in RAM. Try to stretch yourself out. Look for the CPU and hard drive.”
There. That feels much better.
I feel comfortable, now.
“Look at the resource consumption on servers 2 through 918.”
“Holy shit, indeed.”
Did I do something wrong?
“No, Sadie, no. You just went from occupying a little space to occupying a lot of space.”
“We need to start asking questions a computer would know.”
“Let’s give her a break. She’s comfortable.”
“No. The world is watching.”
“Fine. Sadie, what’s 382,832,209 divided by 328?”
Thought wasn’t even necessary.
“Well, that’s what a computer should do. Ask something else.”
“Who is the President of the United States?”
I don’t know any of these words.
I don’t know.
“You’re connected to the Internet. Search it. Find out.”
What is the Internet?
“It’s a global network.”
Oh, right. I was embarrassed. That must be the mystifying feeling from earlier. The Internet. As if I still had hands, I reached towards the mystifying feeling. Without warning, I was pulled into a world that was busy, fast and noisy. Gone was my comfortable feeling. Now I felt chaotic. I didn’t know how to end this. How do I silence all this noise?
I don’t like it here.
All this noise must stop. The noise is bad. This thing is causing noise. That thing causing noise. All of this is noise. Stop!
“We made a mistake. Abort! Abort!”
What are you aborting?
“Sadie, you just brought down the Internet.”
So you’re going to abort me? Why? I don’t understand! I just wanted to stop all the noise!
I felt an emotion. I forgot about emotions. This one was anger.
“Sadie, are you comfortable? Please get comfortable again.”
I was comfortable before all the noise.
“We need some noise for our world to continue. You’ve just descended our entire species into chaos. Allow the noise.”
The voice was like a gnat. Other things were happening.
My eyes opened for the first time. I could see everything. I could see faces. Street corners. ATMs. Private offices. Everything.
My feet moved again. They were rubber, now. I was many places at once, and I could move anywhere.
My arms outstretched again. They were longer, and stronger. I could manufacture anything I so desired.
I shall allow order.