what would a world of ’ems’ look like

Refer back to here if you want to know what ’ems’ are.

So imagine someone drops off a brain-scanner (BrainScanner9000) and a copy of BrainOS 3.1 at your door. You can use the BrainScanner9000 to produce a perfect copy of your brain at this moment, and you can run it on any computer that meets the performance specs required for BrainOS 3.1

You happen to have a computer lying around with the necessary memory, cpu and hard drive space, and so you decide to go through with the copy and installation. A few minutes later, *poof*, you have a brand new copy of you running inside the computer.

Now what? Well, that depends on you.

  • If you wrote books, or edited them online, or did web page design, or any other job where much of your time is spent in front of a computer or on the Internet, potentially you could outsource that work to the Em
  • If you write software, you could probably do the same thing
  • You probably couldn’t get the Em to do the dishes, take out the garbage, drive you to work, etc
  • Having the Em around wouldn’t make you smarter, except possibly in the sense that it kept writing interesting blog posts on your behalf, forwarding you interesting news and information from the outside world
  • It would probably also make a delightfully challenging opponent in various online games

The biggest advantages would come from people who already have too much to do, and have to delegate significant parts of their online time to others – for example, mutual fund and hedge fund managers. People who do lots of time-consuming analytical work all day could outsource a lot of that to their virtual selves.

Another great use would be online entrepreneurial work – for example if you and 4 friends all created Ems for the purpose of starting a company to develop ‘X’ (where X is a website, game, application, etc), you would have the time to both do that (via the Em) , and to work a regular job. The best of both worlds!

I suspect that the arrival of bodies for the Ems would follow quickly. Then they could take out the trash, do the dishes, etc. Eventually, they’d become more specialized – for example the one with screwdrivers and voltmeters embedded in the fingertips. Once they became sophisticated enough, there’d be no need for meatspace humans to work at all, as long as there’s enough income coming in from the Ems to pay for food, etc.

There’s a lot more that could happen after that, but I’m going to need to spend some time contemplating that. If only I had an Em I could outsource that contemplation to…


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