5) Depression and the Post Human: Daniel van Schaik

October 25, 2014

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— (Technology + Humans) x Evolution = ? —

Scenario 1:

October 4, 2036
Department of Artificial Intelligence
Center for Clinical Research – Shanghai

Richard deleted my disease, I am finally happy!
When I rose from bed this morning I felt nothing holding me back.
As I ate breakfast I looked out the kitchen window and saw the world in a new light, one where I mattered and my darkness had been erased.
I kissed my gorgeous children goodbye; their glowing smiles broke the creases in my face, I no longer see them as a burden.
I will never let myself down again… The car won’t start… No matter I will order a cab, a conversation on the way to work will do me good anyway!
I can hear my coworkers talk about the incident, but I am only imagining things because they would never say a bad thing about me.
I love my job!
I wonder what I will eat for dinner? Chicken? Pasta? … Soup?!
I love soup!

Scenario 2:

October 4, 2036
Department of Artificial Intelligence
Center for Clinical Research – Shanghai

Richard spoke to me today about the incident.
He told me I have severe depression, a disease that is currently attacking the core of my personality software.
He told me that I can have it removed in less than 5 minutes, but it is painful and a positive outcome is not guaranteed.
The thought of removing a piece of my brain scares me, but I can’t go on living like this.
My alternative seems to be a mixture of psychotherapy and mild doses of electroshock treatment.
Richard informs me that these alternatives will not remove the disease, but they will reduce the severity and help me to live with my new “disease.”
I’m happy that Richard cares, but I’m not sure he understands.
I slept in this morning, so now its 6:30pm and I’m staring into a bowl of soup.
I hear my daughter laugh in the other room, I smile.
Pumpkin soup is my favorite, but now its cold.

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