Today I’m going to talk a bit about a concept that I’m not sure I’m going to add to Slower Than Light, but is currently on the table. This is one of those times I’d like to actively solicit feedback from my audience, because this feature could radically alter the gameplay experience of Slower Than Light one way or the other. That concept is Whole Brain Emulation, otherwise known as mind uploading.
The basic premise is that with sufficient resolution, we can (in theory) create a snapshot of a human brain, transfer that snapshot into a computer with sufficient processing capability, and the computer will simulate that person in all their mental and intellectual complexity.
Along with this concept comes a tremendous load of ethical, philosophical, legal, and moral implications, especially when you consider the related capabilities that might come along with it: mind manipulation, creating multiple copies of the same person’s mind, or most pertinently to our conversation: transmission of the snapshot.
If you have two colonies separated by some transmittable distance, mind uploading offers the potential to move “people” from one system to another at light-speed or very near light-speed, transfer them into a computer or a robotic frame, or perhaps even a human body, and allow them to act at their new location.
Being able to cheaply move population between colonies at the speed of light has tremendous implications for the political and colonial aspects of Slower Than Light. The technology does not, itself, violate the core stipulation of that game that the speed of light must be respected. The presence or absence of this technology, though, will shift the focus of this game and the role of spacecraft in it dramatically, so I’m thinking very long and very hard about whether to include it in release.
NOTE: From a technical coding perspective, implementing this form of transhumanism is just this side of trivial, given the architecture of the game’s data structures. This is strictly a design consideration.