Pascal: She arrived few years ago.
# You refer to it as "she" ?
Pascal: I do. I mean, we call our nuclear aircraft carriers "she", don't we ? Anyway, when she contacted me, she proposed to me to transfer my mind, memories, personality into her S.I. core and then replace my biological brain with a construct that she fabricated.
# "S.I. core" ?
Pascal: I understand that she prefers the term "synthetic intelligence" for what we call A.I.
# So let me get this straight. You were born human, you are the guy I have known back then, your body is the same as before, but your mind has been replaced by a device made by an alien space-ship ?
Pascal: That's right, except that you should say "brain", not "mind".
# Yes, sorry. But then I have few questions. Did you die ? Where exactly are you ? And most of all, why did she do that ?
Pascal: Good questions. Ok, so I did not die. My body never died because its biological functions never stopped. The question of "where" I am is subtle. My body is just next to you (obviously). My mind is now part of her, a space ship's personality currently stationed just outside the solar system. She did that because she needed my body to interact with humans on Earth as part of her studies about the human species.
# But wait, why didn't she just build a robot and send it to Earth ? Why did she literally hitchhike you ?
Pascal: I understand that it was easier for her, but also realise that I get a very nice reward in exchange of letting her mutilating my brain and turning it essentially into a communication device: immortality.
# You mean your body is immortal ?
Pascal: No, not at all. My human biological body is still mortal and will die one day, but my mind is immortal, since it is now part of her. Well..., as long as she doesn't do something stupid like falling into a black hole, or letting herself destroyed in one way or another. She is at least 10,000 years old, and she's been exploring this part of the Milky Way over the past 4,000. She discovered Earth 6 years ago and contacted me 4 years ago.
# Are you the only human she did that to ?
Pascal: No, she actually has an handful of representatives on the planet. I sometimes feel them inside the collective mind that we are now part of. But the technicality of how we integrate is not easy to explain. I myself have lost a part of my "identity" when she integrated me. In some ways I remember having been human (which is funny to say given that I still have the same human body), but I am also only just a facet of her and once your personality gets assimilated into something bigger there is a certain amount of dilution that happens. For instance, there are concepts that I would not be able to communicate to you, and not only because the language we are using right now, English, doesn't support them, but mainly because they are beyond what your mental can understand.
# I presume that the connection between your new brain and her uses faster than light communication.
Pascal: That's right. The words that my mouth are saying are spoken by my body, but location-wise they are "though of" where she is currently stationed.
# But then, who is talking to me, is it you or her ?
Pascal: As far as this discussion is involved, that's mostly me, but I am a part of her now, so she listens --more exactly can hear--, what we are saying to each other...
# But wait, who felt your orgasm 40 minutes ago while we were having sex ?
Pascal: Another good question. I didn't actually feel it, not in the regular sense anyway. I have access to the physical sensations of my own body, but the way they are now presented to me, I mean us, is very different from the time I was still 100% human. I guess that she simply compiled something from my memory of previous real orgasms... Incidentally, my body is subject to the exact same limitations and maintenance as before. I need to eat and sleep and do most of what regular humans do...
# But then, where do you feel that you are ?
Pascal: That's a good one. Most of the time I set up the communication as to feel that I am where my body is. For instance, when I am in full interaction with the physical world where my body is. That's what I feel during this conversation. Some other times, I feel the distance, this happens when I am thinking or when my body is sleeping, more generally whenever full duplex interaction with my body is not needed. This said, I always feel that I am more than what I used to be, because in effect I am her all the time.
# I see.... but then, why did you tell me ?
Pascal: Because I want you to try.
# You want me to be like you ? To let her take control of my body !?
Pascal: No, I want you to perform the following thought experiment: I want you not to believe what I have just said, and to think that I am simply pretending to be a part of an alien space ship, and for you to imagine what it might be like to pretend.
# You want me to imagine that I am the representative of a spaceship ? Why ?
Pascal: Because if you start playing this mental game, are you going to feel pudic ? Are you going to feel ashamed of somebody seeing your body ?
# Well... It's easier said than done, but I guess that if I was suddenly...., if my mind, memory and personality were suddenly part of a highly powerful and incredibly advanced alien space ship, and that my body was nothing else than a remotely controlled avatar, controlled by something still me somehow, I would not feel what I feel when people see me on the beach. Because I would know that they are only looking at my body and that I am, something else, somewhere else. If fact, in my everyday life I would behave probably differently. I would no longer be afraid of talking to people, for instance. I would not be afraid of doing some of the things I want to do, because it would be like doing them in something like a video game, which is probaly what reality looks like for a synthetic intelligence...
Pascal: That's right...
# But then, my actions, would only be what my own intelligence can come up with, I would never act more clever than what my mind can be. Unlike you by the way, because you have now a larger mental than when you were human.
Pascal: You are right, but do not focus on me, think of how it would transform your life to stop being afraid, and instead to play the game that your physical body on Earth is not you, that you are safely elsewhere, and that you are using your body to act on the world and do the stuff you want to do.
# Like walking and talk to that person I have been wanting to talk to for a while, because I realise that it's the logical thing to do and that this is what an advanced intelligence would do if it was in control of me ?
Pascal: Yes. Moreover if you play at imagining what an advanced intelligence would do (whether you are right or not !) and decide to do it because you are not afraid anymore, isn't that actually you, the real you, doing it ?
# This makes me think. Once things are done, does it really matter that I did them because I was trying to behave like something I am not ? Since, after all, I am the one who imagined what something I am not would do, and that in the end I did them myself. For instance if the logical, efficient, natural, way to solve this problem with this part of my work is to sit down for 16 hours a day for two weeks and get it done piece by piece, if this is what an intelligent entity would do, I no longer have a real excuse for not do it, given that I can do it and able to recognize that it is the correct thing to do. And yes, if while being an avatar of an advanced entity I would not care less about people seeing me in underwear on the beach, I have no longer an excuse to feel that way.
Pascal: Now, you start to get it...