Thursday, 8 August 2013
In "The Voortrekkers," for slower than light extra-solar exploration:
a complex and dynamic human psychoneural pattern is scanned and recorded, then transferred to a photonic-electronic matrix, thus producing a conscious, motivated, self-programming machine, needing no life support, that "'...can be switched off in transit...'" (p. 159);
on arrival in another planetary system, the neural pattern can be transferred to a molecular-organic matrix, thus producing a human being who can explore a planetary surface and test its habitability.
When the original consents to be scanned and recorded and to give cells for chromosome templates, he knows that he will continue to live on Earth or in the Solar System and will eventually die there. It makes no sense for him to wonder whether he will be the one who wakes up in a spaceship entering another planetary system. Yet when the transferred neural pattern becomes conscious, it will think, "I am the one who has woken in the spaceship..."
Is this, rather than human beings traveling faster than light, the real future for interstellar travel?