Ok I really like Mozart. At its best, his music is transcendent. At its worst, his music is sublime. But alas he is gone and there will be no more. KV 626 (Requiem Mass in D Minor) is the finale … a sad reality of the worse kind. Or is it? Today I am going to talk about retroactive immortality and while the word oxymoron probably comes to mind for some of you (I see you my pointed eared friends,) I think there are … possibilities … that must be considered.
WHAT IS DEATH AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?
Yes, yes I am willing to admit that the biological genius known as Wolfgang Amadeus was left behind somewhere in the 18th century, but let us ask what immortality might mean after the arrival of the singularity (when machines become as smart as man.) I think the answer might surprise you. Death for those alive today (who will see another 50 years or so) may not have the sting it once had, for you see, there will be four ways to cheat death in the future. I am of course talking about the cloak of invisibility, the undefeatable wand and … wait wrong story.
Rather I am talking about biological immortality, scanned consciousness/instantiation immortality, inferred consciousness/instantiation immortality and a variation of the last with the twist of virtual reality. Let us explore these themes further.
This is the easiest to grasp as it simply involves living longer. Based on animal research, projections of human life spans of 800 years or more seem possible (using telomere tempering and the like.) But would your 500 year old version have the same values as your 21 year old version? It’s hard to say, but probably not. That is what human beings do … they change. If you don’t change, you will consumed by the onslaught of alien (to you) culture.
In the famous book Interview With the Vampire, Lestat was asked why there were not many old vampires and he said they just couldn’t adapt to the times and so they eventually walked into the sunlight (a bad thing for vampires of the Riceian world). Many humans would be like that. Even though the vast majority would say they want to live longer, many would simply bulk at the changes they would have to endure. For a cool, off the radar, movie about the strange world of immortality see the Catherine Deneuve / David Bowie movie called The Hunger. It is artistically presented and it is fairly powerful as a projection of the immortal life. See the final scene below (shown in two formats)
Suffice it to say, a few would adapt well to perpetual change, but I think it would only be a few. Alas since Mozart is … well … dead, he would not be a good candidate for life extension technology, so we must look elsewhere to bring back the great man. The issue of cultural adaptability might very well be a problem however (even if he could be … “revived,”) so we must keep that in mind.
SCANNED CONSCIOUSNESS / INSTANTIATION IMMORTALITY
Ok, here is the great Kurzweilian idea. You scan a human’s brain and make a neural network as identical as possible to the original. Once you are “software,” you can be instantiated into an immortal body and off you go. We assume you would know all the old mind knew, like the name of your Junior High crush or the smell of your grandmother’s cookies. Not a perfect model of you, but it might well make for a darn good substitute if done right. Of course the acid test for this procedure is if you can shoot your old biological version. If not, paths separate and the “new you” just becomes a somewhat similar twin and not actually you.
This also doesn’t work for Mozart as his mind is not really … “scanable.” You know worms and the generally really bad hygiene of the grave don’t really allow preservation on any meaningful level, so we must move on.
INFERRED CONSCIOUSNESS / INSTANTIATION IMMORTALITY
Ok now we are at least getting to our “doable” Mozart. In this one, we set up bots (including human researchers) to assemble everything we know about Mozart … his history, lineage, failures and successes, friends, likes etc. To this we would add a complete analysis of his music, patterns trends, music stolen from, etc. Included also would be a complete assemblage of the world around him. Eventually we would start to be able to compare this version with the scanned consciousness of existing humans. With the correct mapping, we could start to build the mind of Mozart.
Next we would need a DNA team to recreate the body of Mozart so that we could see what he actually looked like. Perhaps we would need to grow an actual clone. Perhaps we could do this with computer modeling. A clone would be ideal as it would allow for a brain scan to be done that could be paired with the research version to get the “best possible” Mozart software.
Then we would be able to create a carbon nano version that looked exactly like Mozart at say 35 (the age he died). This nano Amadeus could be “fully functioning” so he could properly deal with the groupies that would undoubtedly arise.
So there you have it, a walking talking Mozart, who could stick out his hand and say “Guten Tag. Ich bin Amadeus.” Then KV 627 would be just days away (we hope.)
ASIDE: For an interesting take on how Mozart may have played and conducted, see the video below. It’s pretty cool. Plus its the 20th piano concerto so its NAA.
INFERRED CONSCIOUSNESS / INSTANTIATION IMMORTALITY – VIRTUAL REALITY VERSION
Ok, here is where it gets really great. You have built the mind of Mozart (see above,) but you don’t make him part of this world by giving him a “real” body, you place him in the 18th century world that he came from (Virtual Reality version) and let him write away. Anyone who gets instantiated in the modern world would be VR ready and so could visit the genius in his own time. The beauty here is that he would not get sick and die as he did in 1791. Instead, he would live long enough to get to know Beethoven and others of the era he didn’t quite make it to. This would be an incredible journey to make for all.
ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY AND FRACTALS
“Ok it seems like a lot of work to make a Mozart. How about all those other people in Mozart’s world? Wouldn’t that take many lifetimes?” ask the dark elves.
Alas, my friends, the beauty of VR is that it will be able to create itself. Let’s imagine that we get to the scanning phase of consciousness recreation. At that point you take the Mozart team and scan them and place them in VR. The new team would be assigned the task of creating say Mozart’s father. Then you again copy the team and give them a new assignment. Eventually you would have millions of teams making millions of “people” to live in Mozart’s time.
Similarly, (just like growing fractals,) history, cultural, architectural, botanical, etc. teams could be used to recreate say Salzburg, Austria. If you made millions of copies of these teams, then the botanical diversity and towns of the time could be added to Mozart’s world. With the ability to create millions of “teams” in just seconds, a rich and convincing world could be quickly created. In as little as two days or so, Mozart in all the glory of his time could be brought back to life and you could visit. That’s pretty new and amazing. And it’s all because a VR world can make copies of its VR creators so that the world can become rich in people, flora, fauna, buildings, fields and culture in just hours … erstaunlich (amazing in german).
BUT WAIT, THERES MORE
Why stop at Mozart? Wouldn’t it be nice to bring back Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky–Korsakov, Bach, Straus and others? All could be available in their own times and places and all could be writing “new” music and you could visit and hear these new pieces. Did you know that Beethoven’s 5th and 6th symphonies premiered on the same night at the Theatre An der Wien in Vienna in 1808? Oh to be there for that. Well soon you will be able to be there … thanks to VR. And even better, you can be there for the premier of Beethoven’s new 10th symphony … ecstasy.
THE ULTIMATE SYNTHESIS
Once you could create inferred versions of all the greats, perhaps you could create a synthesis of all of them, giving a single entity the power of the collective minds of all the giants of music history. We could call this new being “Amadeuszade” (an amalgam of Amadeus and Scheherazade … for no reason whatsoever.) Why this new being would create music so beyond anything we can imagine, it would …
“Wait … why does that sound like Mahler’s 5th … on an Accordion? What no … turn it off … it’s bad … real bad.” I scream.
“Sorry wizard, you paid for a thousand years of Amadeuszade and 1000 years you shall get.” I hear someone say.
“OH NO” I hear Mr.Bill say. “Where did he come from?”
“OH NO,” I shout in mimicked panic. “This can’t be real.”
“It sort of real,” I hear Amadeuszade say, as the accordion like instrument starts up again.
“Mozart are you on crack?” I say very loudly.
“I’m not Mozart fool. I am Amadeuszade. And crack? No, I found something even better.”
“Better, what are you talking about?” I ask hoping that something, anything, will get me through the next thousand years.
“Why yes, I used to take crack to relieve the pain of this place … but now I just read newandamazing.com.”
“Newandamazingdotcom,” I whisper with my last rational thought before the accordion begins again with some kind of synthesis between Taylor Swift and Igor Stravinsky. It’s teardrops on my firebird ……
Pain … oh the pain.
Darkness descends as I scramble frantically with my cell phone looking for internet access.