With the pressures of my daily routines, added responsibilities and coupled with all the challenges of higher learning, I sometimes cannot help but daydream of hideous, sometimes far-fetched scenarios, that listed into categories, most of these would fall under the science-fiction genre: all this, while I am working. I cannot help it. I read and write most of the day. My paying job, has become so compartmentalized, that thinking is no longer a requisite, you just go into automatic mode and before you it, the day is over.
During this time, I quite often drift into my fantasy world, endlessly constructing these plays of “what ifs” and “multiple endings” stories that involve theoretical explanation of materials from the courses that I am taking: both present and past. Today, the topic of choice was “what would happen if I just invented a device or tool that gave me a huge advantage over everyone else?” Say, for example, if this device was machine that I could plug into my brain, and with the press of a button, I could download an entire set of life experiences with out ever having to spend the time required to gain those actual experiences. Added to this, I wanted to become a PhD. in everything. My goal was to have as many academic degrees as this machine could load. With all of this knowledge, I could then focus on obtaining huge amounts of wealth.
Now, here is the simulation. Say I was to tell someone about my invention–a friend who wanted to graduate with a stellar GPA. And I say, “OK, sure, here ya go, press this button and presto! You are now full of that knowledge and ready to write the final exam.” She is so grateful that she gives me a huge amount of money and promises to bear my children. I say “cool, thanks, that is grate!”
Then the problems start popping up. What would be the ethical ramifications of my machine to society in general? Should I give this technology up to highest bidder and sell it on the open market? Say I were to keep this for myself and then my government, along with the military hears about it, and then they arrest me because they want to create a army of supper smart people for their think-tank, and take over the world, and I resist giving up my secrets? Should I only use it sparingly and keep it to myself, because I know such a machine would cause society great harm– only the rich would have it and not the poor.
I run thousands of these story lines per day while I am working. My final outcome of this scenario was quite simple. In light of what such invention could do, I opted to have the machine destroyed, deciding this on the principle of a egalitarian perspective. The reason I concluded this was, having such a machine would cheapen the human process of gaining knowledge. Another words, there is more to gaining the knowledge that we so much wish to desire, that the price of experience must also be taken into consideration. Without this experience, we did not gain that knowledge to it’s fullest extent. Like a computer program, it cannot deviate from that program’s parameter on it’s own, because it cannot think for it’s self. Therefore, You are as good as the program, no more, no less.